The sequel to Darwinia, Multiwinia is a 3-D real-time strategy (RTS) game unlike any other. You play in a computer mainframe against your fellow 2-D digital life forms (Darwinians) in a pixilated war for supremacy. Cheeky, oddly adorable, and very fun to play, Multiwinia is a strong (if flat) RTS game recently ported to the Mac.
The world of Multiwinia is strange. Each mission reveals a bit more about the infection that plagued the Darwinians and the subsequent wars that followed, but the plot doesn’t unspool conventionally-nor do any of the other elements, really. Your units are brightly colored 2-D figures that resemble paper dolls.
Holding down the left click button will gather a number of them to command, and right clicking on a single one will promote the single Multiwinian to an officer. You can personally command your troops to attack or delegate to your officers. In addition to Multiwinians, you’ll gain command of turrets, troop transports, radar dishes, and spawning points.
Unlike many RTS games, Multiwinia doesn’t have resource gathering, tech trees, or base construction. Instead, there are six different mission types: domination, king of the hill, capture the statue, assault, rocket riot, and blitzkrieg. Each map has multiplayer support up to four players, unlike Darwinia.
In each mission, you gain reinforcements every few minutes or by capturing spawn points, flags, or enemy territory. The winner is often determined by who has the most points at the end of the time limit (calculated by how much of the mission objective you’ve accomplished) or if you’ve successfully eliminated all of the opposing forces. Each mission takes between 10 and 15 minutes to complete.
I recommend the domination scenario maps and competing against three other computer players. The artificial intelligence can be challenging and there are a number of creative solutions to cross over land and conquer your opponents. It’s a real thrill to throw a couple transports on your enemy’s unprotected flank or drop a monster on their spawn point. The chaotic pace ensures you’ll always be watching for enemy movements, air strikes, or sneak attacks.