Forts is as simple in its concept as it is in its name – and it’s incredibly addictive as well.
When browsing Steam’s incredible library of games, you’ll see a big range of obscure ones – and also more than a few copycats. Forts echoes Worms in its gameplay and visuals, but calling it a copycat would be selling it way short – Forts innovates on the genre and delivers an experience of its own with the inclusion of real time strategy and base building aspects.
By ‘base’, I of course mean forts – as you’re constantly adding on to your fort to strengthen its offensive and defensive capabilities. The premise is simple: take down the other guy’s Fort before he takes down yours. To do this, you’ll be using a wide array of weapons and (later on) superweapons, which you unlock through a tech tree over the course of the game.
That’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but the real twist in Forts lies with the way you build up and defend your fort – which happens in real time. This is where you make the choices that really matter, and where you can make or break your chances of success. You can position offensive measures at the top of your structure to increase their firing range – but it may also make your fort a little too top-heavy. One bad hit at the bottom of your fort might make you regret that choice… but not making that choice can also make you ineffective on the offense.
There is a campaign mode which is of a decent enough length, but of course the real (long term) fun lies in skirmish and multiplayer modes. It’s here that Forts also introduces another feature: commanders. These are characters that are often based on historical stereotypes that will boost your skills for that particular round in various ways. It’s a subtle touch that can add diversity and strategic elements to your gameplay – you might make different choices based on the commander you’re facing.
Commanders aren’t available in the story campaign, so you’ll be exploring different gameplay styles once you transition to skirmish/multiplayer. You can emphasize building perks or focus on combat perks – either defensive or offensive. Time will tell how balanced these commanders are, as some seemed more powerful than others during our playing sessions – although this could just be a case of not having the right counter-tactic yet.
Forts is a great take on the Worms formula, and well worth playing if you enjoy the title that inspired it. That’s not just Worms, but also games like World of Goo and the many different bridge builder games out there. It won’t hold your attention for too long in single player, but multiplayer is where it’s at.