CNET Editors' note: The Download Now link will take you to the DigiPen Web site, where you must enter your age to download the game.
Bontago is an intense single-player or multiplayer, 3D, real-time strategy game. Players begin with flags spaced evenly around the edge of a large disk, called the field, balanced on a fulcrum in the center. The goal of the game is to encompass all of the world flags in the controlled area. To expand the controlled area, the player must build upwards and outwards with blocks. The higher you build, the more area you will control and the closer to the flags you will become. However, you must take care, as special blocks also can be obtained for creating earthquakes, volcanoes, and a wide variety of world-changing abilities that may help or hinder your efforts. Towers will fall, blocks will be blown away, and only the craftiest builders will survive. The first player to possess a continuous area containing the world flags wins.
CNET Editors' review
Bontago takes the art of block stacking to a new level with a strategy game based on spheres of influence. Using a series of random blocks, you build towers that mark your area of control. Taller towers capture a larger area on the map, and the winner is the player who can command the area surrounding one to four flags. Up to eight players can compete in LAN- or Web-based games, or single players can face off against up to seven bots. Though quick and simple block-stacking dominates the gameplay, power-ups create an enjoyable multiplayer experience.
Controls are mouse-based: The left button places blocks, the right button positions the camera, and the third button/scroll rotates the blocks. You can remap all the controls to keys, but camera control suffers. Good stackers will dominate low-skilled games. Once players have mastered stacking, however, random "gift boxes" with power-ups such as rockets, volcanoes, and bombs that tilt the map can decide well-balanced matches. The rules are easy to learn, yet the game leaves room for several styles of play. You can easily replace the soothing classical soundtrack with an MP3 of your choice, and the backgrounds are full of natural and astronomical wonders. Bontago should entertain strategy gamers.
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