The Mean Greens – Gears of Plastic Warfare
The Mean Greens: Plastic Warfare is a multiplayer only third-person-shooter. You play as plastic army men pissed off at each other because they are. Maybe Andy stopped playing with them? Who knows. Point is, you’re an army man and your goal is to shoot, blow up, or light on fire the other army men. That pretty much sums up everything you’re going to get out of the game, but as dry as that sounds, there is more to this game than run around and shoot some dudes.
If you’ve been gaming for a few years you’re probably aware these aren’t the first plastic army men to grace the screen. Sure, aesthetically Army Men and The Mean Greens: Plastic Warfare have the same thing going for them, but that comparison is lazy at best. The early Army Men games were more tactical and squad based games, and while the later titles were third-person-shooters, The Mean Greens has a lot more heart.
One big difference between The Mean Greens and other shooters you’ve played is full access to the game’s arsenal at all times. There are five different weapon types, from an automatic rifle, rocket launcher, flamethrower, shotgun, and sniper rifle. Whatever suits your needs you’ll have it but every weapon feels a little different and it takes practice to get anything done. You get a grenade, too, but just a single one to chuck that replenishes after you die. Nothing around the map to pick up, no ammo to be found, just you and your pile of weapons to try and take out the other toys.
The shooting gets a little wonky, however. Initially, there wasn’t much in way of knowing you were getting shot or how you were killed. This looks like it’s been fixed, however, but I’m always having to look at the kill chart in the corner to figure out how exactly I died. This can be really frustrating, but admittedly, I’m awful at multiplayer shooters and I accept that every kill is a blessing.
It isn’t just a barrage of deathmatches, however. The game has a variety of maps and modes and each map is specific to what you’ll be doing to win. In one level my goal was to light candles on a birthday cake while the opposing team defended, in another it was to melt a toy dinosaur out of an ice cube to eat the other team. Another favorite of mine involved running end to end on a toy train to capture the other team’s Christmas cookies. This is the charm behind The Mean Greens. The shooter genre has enough tired space marine brown drab shooters and The Mean Greens has color and life others in the genre don’t.
Each level brings the objectives to life. Bathtubs, kitchen counters, train sets, etc. There’s a child-like charm that is hard to resist. It reminded me of Micro Machines V3 for PSone. I can’t say I love racing games, but the fact that it was toys racing around kitchen tables and jumping off books is what made that game last in my memory. You can play any military shooter these days but the one you remember is the one with the silly theme. It doesn’t sound like much to go off, but even if I never play The Mean Greens after writing this review I’ll remember it, and that’s something special other games neglect.
The trouble with The Mean Greens isn’t the gameplay, though. The trouble stems from the limited life it seems to have. There needs to be a strong audience that supports a title with no single player functionality whatsoever. Not only that, but while it’s nice there isn’t a ranking system that unlocks weapons and makes it harder to enjoy as a novice player, there is also no reward system to keep people interested. I’m not saying this is a good thing, the fun of the fight should be all the reward you need in a game like this. With a few friends you can make the experience great, but in its current state it seems very limited in how long you’ll play it.
It’s hard for me to recommend the game completely, but part of me really wants to. The graphics, levels, and music are all great. The charm is off the charts and it feels like a lot of work went into this one. I had fun playing the game and despite its flaws I think it deserves recognition. The developers have been releasing constant patches to work out bugs and improve gameplay so there’s a lot of It may not last long, but other game devs could learn a thing or two about bringing fun back into their shooters. I continue to suck at shooters, but at least I had fun watching myself melted to goo.
Final Verdict: 3.5 / 5
Available on: PC (Reviewed); Publisher: Virtual Basement LLC, Code Headquarters LLC; Developer: Virtual Basement LLC; Release Date: December 8, 2015; MSRP: $14.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a review code for The Mean Greens: Plastiic Warfare provided by Virtual Basement LLC