I saw a lot of games at E3 about war, but none were anywhere near as adorable as ToyLogic's multiplayer XBLA game, Happy Wars. It's an online multiplayer (15 versus 15) action game about capturing territory and defeating everyone in sight, but with a distinctly rounded, cutesy look that makes it stand apart from its peers. Finding myself put off by all the gore and elephant monster brains that featured in this year's games, I welcome a more family-friendly take on fighting.
You control one of three classes to storm the enemy's part of a map. I was a warrior, who could use sword attacks and a variety of special attacks, like rock throws and spin moves, that rely on a refilling meter. You capture territory by destroying enemy statues and working together to rebuild new ones – which become spawn points for your team. The match ends when, using a giant battering ram weapon, you break into the enemy fortress. Before that, there's a lot of rushing into crowds and mashing on buttons to attempt to survive the pandemonium.
The combination of cute characters and chaotic fighting seemed incongruous, until Toylogic CEO Yoichi Take told me his influences: "We played the Battlefield series and Castle Crashers." Take believes that Japanese gamers will find a cute war game more palatable than other realistic, brutal and bloody war games.
Why, then, is it on Xbox – the least popular console in Japan – if it's hoping to capture a Japanese audience? "I would like to play Happy Wars with people worldwide," Take said, and the Xbox is more popular worldwide. "Happy Wars is a multiplayer game, and Xbox multiplayer is most played."