Game Review by Matt Bird
Game Rating = 3.5/5 Balls
Wu Hing: The Five Elements is a game that most computer users will probably enjoy – so long, that is, as they can figure out what they’re doing. There’s a fair amount of complexity and not quite enough explanation in this title.
The Five Elements is a competitive puzzle game. Two players square off on a grid of hexagons, looking to dominate one another in points by either creating or destroying elements. Borrowing from the traditional Chinese elements – fire, water, wood, earth and metal – Wu Hing turns each one into a series of tiles that the player may deploy on the board, lining up against the opponent’s tiles and scoring points by deploying the problem number of elements in the proper combinations. Placing two wood tiles beside a fire tile, for example, will create fire and score you some points. Two water tiles against fire will destroy fire, and further generate points.
It’s not THAT complex, really, though getting used to the various combinations at first will likely take a while. This is especially true given that the tutorial, despite being detailed, goes by too fast to adequately describe everything you need to do. You won’t get enough practice before being thrown into a match, and from there it’s more a trial-by-fire experience that may drive some players away. (It doesn’t help, either, that there are other specialized tiles to muck up the works. Helpful once you know how to use them, but confusing if you don’t – especially since their explanations don’t work into the tutorial.)
Overall Wu Hing is reminiscent of any strategic board game you’ve ever played, and would probably translate to the physical realm quite easily. Those who know how to use their brains will love this title. Gamers looking for a less brain-intensive game won’t enjoy Wu Hing that much, however, so it’s best if strategy gluttons remain Wu Hing’s major benefactors.
Graphically Wu Hing is average. It looks pretty sleek, sure, but the game never changes: the board is consistent and the tiles are, well, tiles. The Asiatic aesthetic is appreciated overall, though don’t expect it to wow you. The same goes for the music, which is nice at first but gets a bit repetitious since it doesn’t change. All is just a vehicle for the game play, which delivers nicely on most fronts.
Wu Hing is methodical fun. It requires a lot of patience, true, but the satisfaction of trouncing the computer in a scrap of the minds is quite enthralling. Well worth the $20.
You should buy this game if:
– You like strategy games
– You grew up loving chess
– You have patience
You should not buy this game if:
– You LACK patience
– You want a high octane experience
– You’re easily confused
Kudos Games created Wu Hing.