World in War Review

If there is one war we gamers seem to like to re-visit on a regular basis, it’s World War II. From a game design perspective, it’s hard to make up a more compelling backdrop for a game. On the narrative side, there is a huge worldwide conflict with clearly defined good guys and bad guys in addition to the freedom and lives of millions of people hanging in the balance. From a game play perspective, you have quantifiable military assets with just enough technology to move battles across the globe, yet rudimentary enough to allow for the staging and planning of large scale attacks on a simple map. “Word in War”, the aptly titled game from Pan Vision and Fabrication Games encapsulates these concepts into a nicely polished package that fits in your front shirt pocket.

The single player game is divided into three distinct campaigns that put you in charge of the military fronts of Germany, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. A United States campaign is also available for purchase to round out the war. I hope to visit that campaign in a follow-up article in the near future.

Missions often require that you defend a city from an overwhelming attack while others will have you conquering strategic cities. The maps are divided up into the cities/states of their respective countries. Each unit can be moved once per round but can only move to an adjoining area. Units are comprised of Soldiers, Artillery, Tanks and Battle Ships. During a turn these units can be divided up in any fashion. So if you want to send half of your infantry north while sending your tanks south, it can be done effortlessly. The same applies to joining military units as well.

Money is earned from each of the territories your army holds with varying values based on the importance of the territory. As the coffers fill, more units can be built in factories located in specific regions. In addition to the buying more units, there is an option to buy a randomized “Strategy Card” that will grant your unit or a region, a specific ability that will be revealed and usable on the following turn. These include air raids, paratroopers, bunkers, and mass production. Allocating some of your funds here can be a gamble, but will generally be essential to the success of the mission.

WiW is a turn based strategy game, meaning both players move at the same time but neither player can see the others move until both have finalized their strategy. Battles play out with clearly illustrated units, axis on one side, allies on the other. It often feels like a battle of attrition but sometimes it’s surprising to see a smaller squad overtake their stronger adversary. Figuring out how to equip your unit in a particular area is a large part of the fun. Tanks are powerful, but other units are needed. Assessing the other team is a must when developing your units.

Animated scenes of dialog give a face and perspective to commander’s shoes that you fill throughout the campaigns. Beautifully painted loading screens of military scenes and locations set the stage for the ensuing battles and the rhythmic march of the sound track with its clank of metal embodies the World War II era and war machine that you command. So I might be gushing a bit here but the logo is epic. It’s so sharp on the Retina display. (I’d love a poster of that in my office.)

Moving and dividing units is a snap, so is panning and zooming the overall map. My only real complaint is that I would have liked to have had a difficulty selection for the single player campaign. That said, this genre is not my bread and butter and it still in no way has kept me from going back for more after taking a thrashing. (Note: A new patch was just released that looks as though they might have even addressed this by adjusting some values of the units.)

A game like this thrives on multiplayer and thankfully they delivered on this as well. You and a friend can play with one iOS device by simply passing it back and forth or you can play with a friend online using OpenFeint. I would prefer that more developers would use Apple’s Game Center simply to keep from fragmenting the gaming populous, but otherwise, the feature set is just fine.

Rated 12+ for the following:

  • Frequent/Intense Realistic Violence
  • Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes

* The rating seems a bit strong but the theme is war. I would say it’s a very soft 12+ rating
Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch (Reviewed), and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later

Purchase ‘World in War’ here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/world-in-war/id377183171?mt=8

About Michael "Tebroc" Corbett

According to Mike's memory banks, his first experience with video games happened in 1981 on his brother Jim's Atari VCS - CX2600. (Mike is unsure of whether or not it was a Sunnyvale Edition.) Asteroids and Defender were his favorite games. Fast-forward 20 some years and he has gone on to save the princess but not any money. He never learned to read but now writes articles using speech-to-text technology. Awesome.