Publisher: / Developer: / Platform:

Publisher: Retro Army / Developer: Retro Army / Platform: PC

Something about top-down games has always grabbed my interest. Some of my most fondly-remembered games from my childhood are games like Grand Theft Auto (and its sequel), Alien Breed, Chaos Engine, and some sci-fi shooter I remember my dad playing but can’t seem to find anywhere. Medal Wars: Keiser’s Revenge attempts to bring back some of the more classic aspects of a top-down shooter and add in some more contemporary features. While the end result isn’t a perfect game, it is still something I ended up enjoying.

Medal Wars is a top-down (isometric, technically) RPG/shooter set in some time resembling World War II, in which you fight soldiers that somewhat resemble Nazis. The main character is controlled by the keyboard, and you shoot with the mouse. The controls for Medal Wars are the source of much of my frustration with the game. W, A, S and D control your movement, however I use the word “control” lightly. Pressing W on the keyboard moves the character towards the mouse cursor – which makes sense – but the mouse cursor acts as a waypoint. Pressing W will make the character move to wherever you’re pointing the mouse, and not stop until that spot is reached. This makes things a little difficult when trying to move forward while using the mouse to scout ahead. What if I want to only move forward a little bit, while still keeping my mouse pointed ahead? I suppose this makes sense for games like Diablo, but in a shooter it just comes off as awkward. Alternatively, you can set it to mouse-only controls, but this is just as counter-intuitive when introduced to a shooter.

While the movement controls are a bit awkward, shooting works almost too well. You shoot wherever you click – introduced by a  silly tutorial telling you to click a head to headshot, and click a foot to footshot – and when I say “wherever”, I mean wherever. If an enemy is on screen, even if you’re positioned behind a wall, clicking on them will still shoot them. It can be a little silly standing behind a closed door or around a corner and clicking enemy heads until they splatter, but it gets the job done.


Medal Wars‘ RPG elements come in to play through a Resident Evil 4/5-style weapon upgrade system. It works pretty well, and upgrading your weapons has a noticeable effect on how they operate. As you progress through the game new weapons will appear in the shop, however I found myself sticking to pistols for the majority of the game, since just about every other ammo type is pretty scarce.

Despite the imprecise controls, I found myself having fun with Medal Wars. While the humor can come off as immature most of the time, I did find myself laughing at a few moments. The Time Crisis style shooting gallery missions do a decent job at breaking up the action, and some of the boss fights were pretty fun. Medal Wars has a sort of amateur look about the art style (especially evident in the slightly creepy pinup girl cards you can find), but I found it to be endearing. Medal Wars has some rough edges, but I certainly found it to be a fun diversion.