Monday, October 19, 2020

Gnome More War Switch Preview: The World

Gnome More War takes place in the fantasy continent of Skyra. It features 6 maps scattered across the central part of the continent. After Freija and co. had successfully driven away the gnomes from the farm, the group would soon learn that the gnome plague is actually happening all over the continent. Even a supposedly relaxing weekend at the beach would turn into a battle because the gnomes would attack the fishing village. At Scarlet's behest, it would then become Freija's mission to rid these towns of the gnome nuisance. If you remember I've pointed out in my previous article that it was Scarlet's mission to get revenge on these gnomes for destroying her hometown of Hymnia, and with Freija and her friend's help her determination just grew stronger.

Continent of Skyra

Part of the game description for Gnome More War on the Nintendo e-shop will read like this:

It was a fine day in the farm, and Freija was just chatting with her friend Filipo about the upcoming harvest when out of nowhere, a gnome passed by and stole from their barn! Will they let it slide? Not on their watch.

The quote above perfectly described the opening scene of the game. The scene will then end with Freija and Filipo chasing the red gnome who was running away with the stolen chicken. What follows is the gameplay itself, with the player shooting down gnomes in a place that can be only be assumed as part of Freija's family farm.

Freija's Farm is the first map the player can visit. This is also the easiest map and is meant to introduce the play to the mechanics of the game. It has a maximum of 10 waves, with a boss battle on the 10th wave. After beating wave 10 the player will be taken back to wave 1 with the difficulty ramped up. If you had played the mobile version, you would know that maps in Gnome More War are designed to be played infinitely in order to register the highest score, but each loop increases the difficulty of the game. I kept this for the Switch version, but this is entirely optional-- a cutscene will play upon beating the last wave, giving the player a feeling of completion and encourages moving on to the next map.

The enemies that the player will encounter in this map includes the basic Green gnome, the projectile throwing Blue gnome, and the Engineer gnome, among others.

Freija's Farm

Map progression requires map badges. Each map rewards the player a number of map badges when beaten. Conversely each map requires a certain number of map badges, plus some coins, to be unlocked. Since Freija's Farm is the default map, the player gets to play it at no cost, while it rewards the player with one map badge.

Map badges are awarded only once per map, making farming impossible. Once players have acquired badges from finishing a map they are encouraged to move on and unlock any map that cost as much or below the player's map badge count.

After completing Freija's Farm and earning a badge, the only logical progression for the player is to unlock Irolan Village, which costs 1 badge to be unlocked.

Irolan is a village situated at the western side of the continent. It's quite famous for its ale, and serves a central hub for adventurers as the village is surrounded by various dungeons that are said to contain hidden treasure.

Irolan expands upon the mechanics introduced in Freija's Farm. It has a maximum of 20 waves with 2 boss battles. The obstacles in this map are harder to destroy, but some can have strategic advantages depending on how the player use them. The map also introduces the player to multiple defend points as there are now two barns to defend. Overall I still consider this to be an easy map.

Irolan Village

Irolan Village map shares boss encounters with Freija's Farm, but the boss becomes increasingly stronger in each encounter. The boss can finally be beaten for real on the 20th wave of the map, which will in turn reward the player with a special cart skin. The map also rewards players with 2 map badges upon completion.

The next map that can be unlocked is the fishing village of So'leil, which costs 2 badges.

After battling wave after wave of gnomes the gang was looking forward to a weekend of relaxation along the beaches of So'leil. Little do they know that they'd once again be called upon to help the people defend their homes from yet another horde of gnomes.

So'leil is located on the eastern shores of the continent, and as you may have guessed, is famous as a fishing village and as a vacation place. There was once a rumor of strange sightings of beautiful mermaids along the local caves.

So'leil is kind of a unique map, as it's the only map with interactive background elements. The mechanics introduced in the first two maps involve interaction with either enemies or pre-placed boxes meant to block the player's line of fire. In So'leil there are these mermaids that pop in and out at random and will blow medium sized bubbles that can deflect the player's projectiles. This map also introduces players to the poisoned status ailment. Watch out for those mantiray spits!

So'leil Village

The map also upped the ante on the defend mechanic, as it features 4 barns to defend. Players will have to be on their toes at all times and be agile as they scroll up and down the screen frantically. The map has 30 waves in total and has its own boss encounter.

Beating the So'leil map in addition to the previous ones will net players a total of 5 map badges. They now have the option to pick which map to unlock next. The options include two locations on the desert region of Eggo.

The Desert Hideout map is a desert oasis used by travelers as a pit stop before they venture the vast deserts of Eggo. Aside from sand and scavenger gnomes this region is also home to territorial insects called Waspis. The map more or less built upon the mechanics already introduced in the previous maps. What it focused on is increasing the difficulty by introducing new enemy types that has new ways to hurt the player. This map has 30 waves in total.

Eggo City is also located in the same region and shares a lot of features as Desert Hideout. This is actually meant to be played after Desert Hideout due to the fact that the ending cutscene of the previous map points to Eggo City. This map has 20 waves, and shares the same boss encounter as the previously mentioned Desert Hideout map. After finally beating the boss on the 20th wave a new cart skin will be rewarded to the player.

The two maps will introduce players to the blindess status ailment. It is quite a nasty handicap as it halves the player's rate of fire. Make sure to equip a Cure power up!

Desert Hideout Boss Encounter

Eggo City

And finally we have arrived at Skyra Port. As of the game's Switch release, this is the last map, and the toughest one! I designed Gnome More War to be progressively difficult and unforgiving, so best prepare yourself. If at this point you have racked up on revive gems then you have nothing to worry about.

Skyra Port is a city port located on the eastern side of the continent, a few ways north of So'leil. Being a rich city it's no stranger to pirates and looters, but the people of Skyra have never seen pirates riding on flying machines before. Nothing could prepare them for the relentlessness of the gnome pirates from the eastern seas. By now our heroes have become famous for their accomplishments in beating gnomes across the continent and this time they have been summoned by the mayor of Skyra Port to help drive away the invaders.

The map has a total of 50 waves, an dis currently the longest of all maps. Expect to die here especially on the later waves, so stack up on revive gems early on. This map has the difficulty curve at the peak with more enemies on the screen, exacerbated by the low spawn rate of power ups. You'd be hard pressed to play this map without equipping a full range of upgrades and the right set of power ups.

Skyra Port

This map also features its own boss battles, which players will be encountering 5 times. Just as with other bosses, once defeated the player will be rewarded with a special cart skin.

Finishing the map will reward players with 3 map badges. What are these badges for if this is the last map, you ask? Who knows...

Gnome More War will release on the Nintendo Switch on October 26. Discounted pre-orders are available on October 19!

-- LJ

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Gnome More War Switch Preview: The World

Gnome More War takes place in the fantasy continent of Skyra. It features 6 maps scattered across the central part of the continent. After F...