Stalin vs. Martians is a zany in your face real time strategy (RTS) that leaves players wondering what the intentions of this game are about. Developers BWF, Dreamlore and N-Game have combined their efforts in an attempt to bring the fast-paced and over the top antics of the arcade to the sophistication and in depth play of the RTS genre. Although this game is wacky and very over-the-top, many players will be left with a sense of confusion and loss.
Stalin vs. Martians mirrors the communist regime; it sounds good on paper, but does it fall just as short in reality?
The player acts as commanding general of the Stalin army whose goal it is to defend Earth from a Martian invasion. While Stalin is busy attending “important matters,” it is your duty to buy and operate a combative force. Your objective is to collect money and power ups from the various enemies you destroy on the battlefield. With each successful mission you gain access to new units and new buffs. Stalin vs. Martians is far from the standard harvest, build and conquer regime of the RTS genre, instead it takes away many of those elements and replaces it with a straightforward and light-hearted arcade style game.
Although this game has a few redeeming qualities, you will be amazed at how awful this game plays out, with the biggest problem being unit control. Aside from ‘alt’ and ‘control’ there are no other hot keys. Everything in the game is point and click, and even that fails to work half the time. Initially, I would try to double click to select a group of units, but I found it very unresponsive. Generally, I would have to attempt the double click three or four times before it would select. The alt key provides relief, but it is still fairly unresponsive.
Similarly, players will often find their units wandering off into uncharted territory for no apparent reason, which usually results in their death. If that wasn’t bad enough, there are no indicators or highlighted map pointers to indicate if your command went through. When you direct your army to attack a specific enemy, there is no way of knowing if the command you just issued was an attack order or a movement order. This is important because you don’t want your units marching straight up to the enemy when they should be attacking. The result is often times met with utter destruction.
There is no way to gauge the range, strengths and weaknesses of your units and enemies. Often times it is purely through trial and error that you’ll learn of these differences. In a game littered with many negative attributes, I did find the mission objectives vast and different, which was refreshing. In one of the missions the player has to take control of four different altars on the map. Once the objective is completed, the player is rewarded with new units that are able to take out a phallic looking worm. This is the only aspect that will keep the player interested.
There are few positive qualities to the game, but often times those are coupled with a negative aspect. When ordering tanks to strategic locations, I like how they bulldoze through trees and towns. There is a sense of satisfaction seeing a fleet of military weapons destroy an area. On the other hand, the graphics are in dire need of improvement. The water is grainy and filtered with an over abundance of black spots; the Martian foot soldiers are colorful dots moving at high speeds and all the landscape is rigged and blurry.
At first glance, the music soundtrack is engaging and energetic, but after hearing the same songs multiple times you’ll quickly become annoyed of the fast paced techno beats and the in your face screaming metal rock.
This game would bode well as a 15 minute spoof on Adult Swim (Evening Cartoon Network program), but as a video game for $20.00, I would highly suggest saving your money. Everything energetic and funny about Stalin vs. Martians can be captured on youtube for free. As a result, the graphics are no where on par with today’s standards and the game play, or the lack of quality game play, is not enough to keep gamers coming back for more.
Martians placed in photoshoped WWII photos are neat, but the graphics, lack of control in the options, unit depth, etc. is terrible.
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The missions are uniquely different, but the lack of controls and horrible unit functionality makes the game awful.
The music is probably the best part of the game, but even that gets tiresome real fast.
To be quite honest, I wanted to turn this game off after about 10 minutes of playtime.
Music is about the only thing that keeps this game from deserving a one, and that is mediocre at best.