Game-bending StarCraft II mods and custom maps

Andy Salisbury at

Tetris

StarCraft has become synonymous with the hardcore, competitive gamers that populate a majority of the game’s coverage. And while this aspect of the game steals the limelight, what people often neglect are the droves of fun, free custom maps available.

Thanks to the extremely flexible Galaxy Map Editor, map modders have already put together not only some impressive custom maps, but also some mods that completely change the way that StarCraft II plays. Terran Tetris, anyone?

So, just how does one go about getting their hands on a custom map and playing it? Well, firstly, you'll have to log into Battle.net. Once you're online, head on over to the multiplayer section of StarCraft II's UI, and click "Join Game." Once you're here you'll see a comprehensive list of all the maps being played, whether they're standard or custom. Choose the map you want to play, Battle.net's servers will then feed you the file, and depending on which player has the strongest connection a host will be appointed. That's it!

With that in mind let's take a look at some of the very best maps and mods, shall we?

PCG's Top Custom Maps
Battlecraft

The idea behind Battlecraft is simple: I buy units to throw at you. The more units I kill, the more money I make. If the units I send counter yours, if even by a little bit, I'll win that battle. The game is won by the player that manages to destroy his opponent's base (can be played 1v1 or 2v2). Now, take that formula and add a plethora of custom made units, and you've got endless amounts of fun in convenient, five minute intervals.

Nexus Wars

The wars of yesteryear were won by the bigger, more destructive army -- and Nexus Wars recaptures that magical explodey feeling in a wonderfully simple format. The rules are simple: much like Battlecraft you'll get money for killing your opponent's units, and you can add to your periodic income by creating different types of buildings. The buildings that add to your income also pop out units after a set amount of time. The first team to destroy the other's base wins!

Red TD

Tower defense has long been a personal favorite, and I'm extremely happy to see a classic like Red TD appear in StarCraft II. While this map has gone under different names, the fundamentals remain the same: build towers to kill waves of enemies, if too many enemies populate the surrounding path, everyone loses. So, throw as much damage as you can at the bad guys, and don't forget anti-air!

PCG's Top Mods
Tetris

So you're using the greatest gaming platform known to man, you're harnessing power your grandfather can't even comprehend, and what do you do with it? Why you recreate a game from more than 20 years ago, of course! Go forth, and drop supply depots.

Final Fantasy

Whether you like it or not, it's difficult to deny that Final Fantasy is one of the greatest RPG experiences you can get on any platform. And, thanks to some reworking of the camera angles and the addition of a custom UI, you can get an extremely authentic Final Fantasy experience without having to leave StarCraft II. While this video is currently all that exists of this particular mod, it’s absolutely worth taking note of.

Kart racer!

Turning a real-time strategy game that's generally meant to be seen from an isometric view and making it work as a racer can't be easy, but someone made it happen. After adding some wacky music and swapping up the controls, the StarCraft II kart racer was born. Track it down, and give it a try.