Battle For Wesnoth 1.1.11

Playing Battle for Wesnoth, an open-source, tactical, role-playing game, took us back to a time before Macs. The two-dimensional playing area, the turn-based action, the battle between orcs and elves... This is Dungeons and Dragons on your Mac, for free.

With its primitive music and cute but crude sprites, Wesnoth is worlds away from modern games like the Final Fantasy series. Still, with role-playing titles it’s the gameplay that counts and Wesnoth’s addictive qualities make it crack for your Mac.

Strictly speaking, Battle for Wesnoth is a turn-based tactics game. You begin each game or ‘campaign’ as the leader of a rag-tag army of elves, magi or other mythic creatures who must battle against evil factions seeking to take over the land of Wesnoth. You can recruit forces with gold to fortify your defences in battle. To acquire it you take over nearby villages, which handily heal your battle-scarred troops as you play.

The turn-based playing style is similar to role-playing games of old. Names like Master of Magic rise through the mists of memory, last seen on DOS-based PCs. There’s something of the early Warcraft in there too. The authors claim the Sega Genesis game Warsong as a major influence.

Whatever else it reminds you of, Wesnoth will certainly remind you that gaming is supposed to fun. For an open-source project that’s still in development, Wesnoth is remarkably stable and fully formed. It comes with a series of campaigns developed by an appreciative community too. A Battle for Wesnoth Editor is packaged in the download, so you can create and distribute your own scenarios. And, if you tire of that, you can battle other players online.

OUR VERDICT

Highly recommended for weekend warriors and casual gamers alike. Though, beware, Battle for Wesnoth may damage your productivity...

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