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In memory of Rush Wars, a game most of us never got to play

Tanks for the memories.

For the last few months, the game I've been looking forward to the most has been Rush Wars. It's Supercell, a developer that has mastered smartphone tactics games, and it looks a bit like Advance Wars - it's a game of chunky units and brisk match-ups, all delivered with a lovely candified coating.

The idea, I think, is that you place fortifications and troops around your own gold mines and then go off to raid other people's gold mines, facing off against their fortifications and troops. Meanwhile, of course, people are attacking your gold mines back home. Classic Supercell stuff, really: unlock new units, level up, find new strategies, fall in love with a unit that does the business for you and then fall out of love with it when that stops working.

There's a problem, of course. After a soft launch in a few territories, Supercell cancelled Rush Wars last week.

I'm a bit broken-hearted. But I should have been prepared for this. Cancelling games has always been part of the Supercell thing - as has extended soft launches, the gaming equivalent of Varnishing Day, in which balances are piled on balances and I imagine the heart of a game can change considerably.

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What to take away from all this? I suppose I should say it's a sign of strength that a developer is so willing to stop when something isn't working the way they want it to. I suppose it's also a sign of how terrifying the smartphone marketplace can be, when a game that I suspect could comfortably make thousands and thousands weekly doesn't cut it in amongst games that make millions.

More than anything, though, I just feel sorry for the team behind Rush Wars. When you look at the art and the sheer energy to the unit designs it's clear that this is a project some people were pouring everything into. It must be really awful to have put that much time and thought into something and not have people around the world get to play it. So long, Rush Wars, gone but not forgotten - certainly not in my house, anyway.

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