ParaWorld - hands-on

Despite these gargantuan, prehistoric war machines, all of the units had a rock/paper/scissors simplicity that wouldn't surprise veteran RTS players. Ordering a few of everything was a great way to both learn what everything did and build a balanced army at the same time, making ParaWorld inviting for real-time newbies. Dinosaur units naturally follow and enhanced our human infantry: tough, armored melee attackers, fleet-footed missile launchers and combination units that were a bit of both. Heroes and found artifacts pumped up certain aspects of our army's abilities, and upgrade chits called "skulls" were taken from fallen foes, upping our tactical prowess on the fly.

Adding walls, gates and defenses layered on city-building to our resource gathering challenges, made simpler by the army management panel which provided easy access to everything at once via little icons. Perhaps none of that gameplay sounds particularly ground-breaking, but ParaWorld rolls a ton of fantastic game elements into a lush, water-colored landscape that is simply impossible to dismiss.

If the promised improvements in unit animations and pathfinding come to life before the game ships at the end of September, this may be one trip back (and sideways) in time that you won't want to miss. If you are like us and can't wait to start whipping Brontosauruses, hit up the ParaWorld site for an extremely extensive demo.