<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/darkwindlogo.jpg”>If there’s one thing that I don’t like about real-time massively multi-player online games is that some players live their entire lives on some of those games. If you’re a newbie and just testing the waters, you’re lucky to survive for five seconds. Unless I’ve had a lot of time to practice the game offline, I tend to shy away from MMOGs.
Still, sometimes it’s fun to take a break from work and enter into some kind of online competition with a bunch of other players online. One type of game that I enjoy a lot are turn-based strategy games, because they require more careful thought than just quick fingers. This also makes turn-based games a little bit boring at times, because they’ll move a lot slower than real-time war games or shooters.
Recently, I discovered an awesome turn-based strategy game called Darkwind that combines many of the elements of turn-based strategy with real-time action. The game’s logo is War on Wheels, and for good reason. Essentially, you strap yourself to a high-powered vehicle that has machine guns and rocket launchers mounted on the front, and you take part in insane races against other drivers, literally going to war against the competition.
Choose Your Wheels & Go To War!
Learning how to play this game will take you no longer than thirty minutes to an hour. After you sign up for an account, just install the game and when you launch it, you’ll see all of the information you need on the main screen. This includes a chat room and server information.
At the lower part of the main screen you’ll see all active users, as well as all upcoming events. You can also watch any ongoing live events if you want to sit back and be a spectator. There are constantly events going on that you can jump into – at least every ten to thirty minutes.
Before you dive into playing with other players, take the thirty minutes or so to run through the tutorial. You’ll quickly learn how to choose the direction and speed for your car to travel during each turn, as well as how to use your weapons, and also how to change the view so that you can see what’s going on from all angles.
Depending on what the event is, you may face obstacles or a track to navigate through. The tutorial has you manage a couple of jumps and also shows you how to approach and fire upon a truck. Driving your car isn’t a whole lot unlike other racing games you might have played, but it requires a little bit of careful planning. Depending on how you place your car, and what speed you choose, you could send the car sliding right off the road, or slam it directly into a concrete wall.
The game makes you think about the physics of how a car behaves at a certain speed and direction. When you get good, you can cut corners on a race track by sliding through it rather than trying to cut to the inside like everyone else is trying to do. Or carefully plan how you land after a jump so that you get the speed and direction advantage over other drivers.
Your car also comes with a weapon system that you can arm and target at any time during a race or an arena combat event. The tutorial shows you how to select, arm, target and fire the weapon while you’re driving the car turn-after-turn.
Firing on other vehicles is a matter of keeping them within the “firing zone” and having your weapon repeat-fire. If you incorrectly plan your speed and direction, the other driver may escape your firing zone and then spin around to place you inside theirs.
So, once I got the hang of handing the car in the tutorial, I decided to try the real thing. Looking through the upcoming events I saw a deathrace coming up. This is basically a race a few times around the track while shooting at others and dodging missiles. So, I registered and waited the 5 minutes until the match started.
I have to say, game play might be turn-based, but it’s still fast paced and very fun to play. The list of players names go green whenever they’re done planning their next move.
Once all players are ready, all cars move through their current turn. The clock has a limit per turn, so no one can hold up the race. Another cool thing about Darkwind is that anyone can create a match. From the main screen, just click on “custom event” and you can create a race or combat arena using whatever parameters you like.
Overall, I’d say that it’s probably one of the more fast-paced turn based games I’ve ever played. Obviously, not as heart-pounding as Big City Racer, but with the combination of turn-based strategy and a fast-enough pace to get you sitting on the edge of your seat, it’s a game that can easily keep you up into the early hours of the morning trying to win your war on wheels.
Give the game a shot and let us know what you think. Do you prefer this turn-based game over other real-time racing games? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!