The uphill battle of 'Happy Wars'

Happy Wars is so lighthearted and simple that anyone should be able to jump in and give the game a go, but we're not sure who's going to stick around.

Happy Wars, the upcoming action arena battler from ToyLogic, faces problems a number of Xbox Live Arcade titles have faced over the last few years.

I think I get what ToyLogic is going for. The characters are cute, and mutter meme-y taunts and laments as they fight and win – or not – and the clear influence of tower defense titles and battle arena games like DOTA is present. The difference being a matter of approachability: Happy Wars is so lighthearted and simple that anyone should be able to jump in and give the game a go.

But I'm not sure who's going to stick around. Combat is simple to the point of tedium. There's a clever system of special moves which require recharging action points to use, but there's not much benefit to doing so, save that, say, some targets can only be killed with a ranged attack. Otherwise, the default melee attack works just fine to take out AI opponents, and shy of a weird situation where I had to sit and grind through a predetermined number of waves before I was allowed to advance, strong opposition doesn't seem to be what Happy Wars is going for.

But more problematic than the simple mechanics is the general lack of oomph or identity that games in the sort of "chibi" vein need to be more than a forgettable exercise in super deformity. As it stands now, Happy Wars seems lost, for lack of a better word. ToyLogic has yet to announce a release date, so there's still a chance that Happy Wars can come together – and maybe the promised multiplayer mode offers more depth than the singleplayer scenarios suggest.

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