First Wood War is a strategic tower defense game from United Apps Limited, typical of interchangeable 3D and 2D graphics, atmospheric soundtrack and a great variety of battlefields, but falling short of battle intensity and weapon flexibility.
Pros: great visuals; situational sound effects; a wealth of unlockable soldiers and more
Cons: insensitive skill response; slow leveling up
There is no bloodshed in First Wood War, but a lot of “wood” shedding happens here. Wood is the lifeblood in the game’s world, as the soldiers are made out of it, and virtually all structures like lumber mills and castles are built out of it too. Disappearance of bloody scenes strips way the horror of wars (the game does not seem to intend to create horror, anyway), but blasting enemies into wooden pieces can be strangely fun too.
There is no long-winded tutorial to bore you at the outset like that in GemCraft. Instead, several short expository sentences on the part of a wooden old man inform you of the basics of this game, from the aim of missions and creation of soldiers to structure updates and so on. From here on, you have to be on your own most of the time, though occasionally a mission may equip you of some necessary information in the beginning.
Your mission is to destroy your enemy’s castle. As long as you have enough soldiers and available weapons and skills at hand, triumph is a cakewalk. However, the real case is usually not so promising. You may often find yourself run out of wood to create soldiers when legions of wood-headed enemies are approaching at an unsettling speed; or the missiles are just cooling down when you are in dire need of them. So a strategic mind to allocate the woods is of crucial importance.
When a mission begins, your units begin to march forward to the enemies’ castle on themselves, aiming to ax or bludgeon down everything in their way. So is the same case with your enemies. You will find it wise to build as many units as possible, which you can especially identify with when you see a group of your soldiers are besieging one enemy and soon bring him to annihilation. Building units dwindles your wood reserve, but it is soon replenished as the lumber mill churns out wood without stop. There are times, however, when one of your soldiers confronts a hoard of foes. Missiles can turn out very useful at such critical moments, but you need to use them to the best, as they undergo cooldowns after being fired. The game even goes further to place a meter on top of the screen which indicates two sides with different colors so that you may know how you stand against enemies.
The completion of missions brings you leveling up, experience points, skill points and some nuts which are in-game currencies. At the same time, your dummies can get updated in terms of health, speed and damage dealing ability. With your leveling up, units from altogether 6 classes with distinctive strengths–Warriors, Shooters, Assassins, Mages, Hunters and Titans–will be unlocked for you. Warriors with strong defensive abilities are always on the front, Shooters make great ranged attackers, while Mages can summon help and heal friendly units etc. Besides, the skill points you have earned enables you to improve the performance of your units and enhance the power of trebuchet etc.
Each level with a cap of experience points features one mission that can be played in easy, normal and difficult modes, so apart from getting more rewards, replaying the same level for several times can be fun too. The 3D graphics and situational music also help to deliver a unique fighting experience.
Nevertheless, that is not to say the game is perfect in every way. First and foremost, the skills are frustratingly irresponsive and often prove to be nothing but a waste. When your units are disadvantageously outnumbered, it is only natural for you to make use of the missiles. But they are generally so despairingly slow that when they finally reach the place you have selected, the enemies may have torn down your gate already. On top of that, the fighting effects need to be improved too. Nothing happens to the look of the gate even when an avalanche of missiles hit it, which is far from being believable. Additionally, the battles are short of intensity in spite of their variety. Many unintelligent enemies, such as the immobilized giants, steal away the tension the game is supposed to offer.