Using a mix of side-scrolling conquest and tower defense gameplay, Age of War 2 attempts to take the player back to being a teenager and playing games on Kongregate, whiling away the hours, hoping your teacher doesn’t catch you playing a game instead of learning Excel spreadsheets.
The very beginning of the game is confusing; it briefly tells you the meaning of various buttons around the UI, as well as the fact that you will need to upgrade your time period to get better units. Then, without any kind of real instruction… it begins.
The enemy will begin to send hordes of enemies against you, trying to beat down your home structure (which, presumably, is meant to be your city, or your nation?). It is particularly confusing and unclear that there is even an enemy home base that needs to be attacked. Enemies just seem to appear and beat you down. It is however extremely satisfying to kill them with your defenses.
You have the ability to build and upgrade a series of turrets which become progressively more powerful the later you advance. At the start, a rock thrower and some kind of automatic chicken egg turret will be your only defense. Then, later on you’ll have crossbows and automatic machine guns. The game doesn’t tell you that you need to sell and remove the old turret designs to make way for the new ones however, so you find yourself with the very interesting situation of having an automatic machine gun paired with a primitive rock thrower fighting off WW2-era tanks.
so you find yourself with the very interesting situation of having an automatic machine gun paired with a primitive rock thrower fighting off WW2-era tanks.
The music is jaunty and expressive, urging you onwards to obliterate your enemies and throw your troops against the enemy base. The sound design is especially visceral when you use the meteorite ability, which both sides have access to in order to clear the entire playing field and restore balance. Explosions and fiery death for every enemy on the field is very satisfying, if a bit depressing when the enemy uses it against you as well.
The entire purpose of the gameplay seems to be consistently fighting against one another, advancing through the ages and hopefully, occasionally, getting hits on the home base. The system of defensive turrets and the presence of map-wiping meteorite means that you will not really ever actually destroy your enemy, as the balance is simply too great.
Alongside this, the AI quite clearly cheats. They advance far too quickly through the ages, always ensuring that you aren’t directly ahead of them.
The reason for this is quite obvious however; the game is trying to recreate history. No one nation managed to overpower the world and conquer everyone by the Bronze Age (even Alexander took a tumble before he finished conquering Persia), so the game keeps both sides fighting until the very end when, finally, after literally millennia of conflict, you can hopefully overpower your enemy and destroy their base and win.
fighting until the very end when, finally, after literally millennia of conflict, you can hopefully overpower your enemy and destroy their base and win.
Despite the presence of a tiny bit of AI trickery, the sense of progression and overall enjoyment of Age of War 2, coupled with its rather depressing commentary on the warlike nature of mankind, makes for a really enjoyable game. It is incredibly easy to lose hours working your way through the time periods, hoping against hope you can finally achieve dominance.
However, like the rest of mankind, you will be doomed to struggle to the last.