Conquering another man’s land is Fun
In Territory War, a game developed by Afro-Ninja, players take control of stickmen troopers who are out to invade another man’s – in this case CPU’s, land. While the idea of conquering another man’s native soil is a touchy subject in real life, it has always been a mainstream objective in games. As the commander of this operation, you are entrusted with making strategic decisions and direct actions, to ensure that the territory is secured.
The Scarred Battle Front
Territory War’s visuals remind us of those graphics found in Stick Bang and Worms, but a bit more outdated. The outdated look seems to be intentional though since the game uses stick men for the player’s army - putting in a highly detailed stage in the game would look awkward. Still, the game looks vibrant and colorful – which feels a bit weird sometimes, especially since the theme of the game is war.
The animations in Territory War are minimal, with only a handful of animations given to the soldier’s weaponry – despite only having three attacks. While the stickmen soldiers move convincingly for men made entirely of sticks, they pale in comparison to other games in the strategy game genre. Some body physics were applied to the stickmen whenever they get kicked or blown up by explosives, which were kind of fun to watch for a few times, but gets rather old later on.
The stages themselves do not show any damages from the explosions caused by grenades, which is disappointing since most strategy games offer destructible environments, not just as eye candy but for gameplay purposes also – we are guessing that the developers wanted the player to learn to navigate the stages rather than blowing a hole through them. Territory War does have a lot of variety when it comes to stages; traversing these levels requires some strategy especially when your using grenades to attack your opponents since obstacles cannot be destroyed and can most likely have your grenade ricochet back towards you. Sadly, the decision of the developers to stick to a simplistic visual style has made the game underwhelming.
The Resounding Anthem of Conquest
The game’s sound track seems to have fared rather well, despite the game’s visual shortcoming. While the game’s music is not something to write home about, it did provide a decent audio accompaniment to the game. Each stage has its own theme and pretty much all the music in the game was composed by independent music artists – we really loved the graveyard theme Spook by Denvish and Polar 240 from the void stage. These independently composed tracks reminded us of such game tracks from some of our beloved childhood games such as Megaman and Castlevania – which we are guessing inspired these composers in creating the game’s music. Seldom do we see or in this case hear such great music in these simple flash games, so when something this good comes along, we can hardly express our appreciation to the people who made them. We would have loved to get our hands on these tracks but sadly the game did not give us the option to download them
Sound effects in Territory War are also minimal, mainly thanks to the small arsenal of weapons our soldiers of conquest have. With only a grenade, a rifle and a melee attack – represented by a boot icon, we were not surprised by the number of audio effects available. The sound effects do sound clear and authentic, with the rifle shots sounding like real shots being fired. Sadly, these sound effects tend to get overwhelmed by the sound track - especially the heavy metal themed music playing on certain stages.
The Strategies of War
Afro-Ninja’s Territory War is a strategy game where you must clear each level by strategically eliminating all of your opponent’s troops. The game is turn-based, so the player and their rival takes turn in moving and attacking. On each turn, you get to decide whether you want to move, attack, hide or just stay still in hope that the enemy will think you are a lamp post so will not attack you. If the player decides to move, a distance traveled bar will fill up - once filled up, the player’s movement will end and the player will need to decide whether they want to attack or just end their turn.
Attacking in Territory War is presented in the same manner as other strategy games. The player will need to either aim or adjust the trajectory of their weapons in order to hit the enemy. The grenade for example needs the player’s input on the angle and strength of the throw, using the directional keys to control the direction and angle of the throw, while the space bar manages the power of the throw. Mastering the art of throwing a grenade will definitely make your life easier in this game since the grenade is the most damaging weapon in your whole small arsenal. A rifle is also available and can be used quite efficiently since it is easy to use, just aim with the directional keys then shoot – it is that simple. And last but not the least, the last attack option our stick trooper utilizes is the boot or as we call it, the Spartan kick since it reminded us of the movie 300. It might not be the most useful attack in terms of damage but it can definitely eliminate an opposing soldier especially if they are near a ravine or a cliff - we love kicking soldiers off crevices while shouting Leonidas’ memorable line from movie 300.
Territory War also provides additional modes of play to keep players happy once they have finished playing the main campaign. The Challenge Mode requires players to accomplish certain objectives in order to clear each level. Additional game modes such as the Grenade Tossing Mode - where the player needs to throw a grenade through a golden ring and the classic Shooting Mode are provided to keep Territory War alive for just a few more hours. One additional mode we totally enjoyed was the Custom Battle, where you can fight with another player, not the same old CPU. While playing against a friend is fun, the fact that both of you must share the same keyboard and must constantly swap places in order to take turns can get annoying and tiresome. Still, these bonus modes accomplished what they needed to do and that was to add replay value to the game.
Territory War might not be a powerhouse in terms of visuals but it certainly is a contender when it comes to game music. With a tried and tested gameplay formula and additional content to keep people playing, Afro Ninja's Territory War is a game worth recommending to strategy game enthusiasts and to new players looking for game to keep them occupied during their free time. While improvements were needed in some areas of the game, the game’s shortcomings were easily overlooked thanks to the game’s other merits. Territory War won the battle but unfortunately did not win the war; we give it an 85/100.