We’ll sing this in our loudest and proudest voice: this turn-based game gets an Editor’s Choice.
Great Big War Game Review
by on October 11, 2012
We hate those sneaky red army guys. We just spent 15 minutes building up our armed forces on two fronts, picking away at our enemies, but our dog distracted us, and a crucial gap was left, enabling a sniper to nip in and shoot our Generalissimo. Sorry, Generalissimo — you will be remembered, and also resurrected as we repeat one of the 50 single-player missions in Great Big War Game, this time ensuring the dog is first suitably distracted by a squeaky bone.
To be fair, the dog may have a point. We’ve been playing Great Big War Game for days now, and it’s not letting up. He’s practically doing handstands to get attention while we continue to tackle an excellent turn-based strategy title that’s perfectly suited for mobile, but that also has enough depth and longevity that you look at the tiny price-point, think of people who moan about iOS games being too expensive, briefly consider how crazy said people are on the evidence of this very game, before getting back to said game and ensuring this time that your little blue guys are victorious.
In the context of recent iOS titles, Great Big War Game is a little like a military themed Hero Academy, but with larger, richer maps. Mostly, though, it reminds us of Game Boy Advanced classic Advance Wars, or perhaps a ‘cutified’ turn-based take on Command & Conquer. Each turn, you get some money (through captured oil derricks) and set about creating units, conquering enemy buildings, eradicating enemy soldiers and vehicles, and trying very hard indeed not to get shot or blown up.
In contrast to turn-based titles like Civilisation, Great Big War Game prefers a kind of cartoon logic regarding strengths and weaknesses, and this impacts heavily on strategy. In Civilization Revolution on iOS, it often pays to rapidly get yourself some tanks and mow down any poor saps still flinging spears about. In Great Big War Game, rockets from a missile battery comically barely scratch soldiers, because they’re designed for damaging vehicles and buildings; conversely, a single shot from a sniper can be enough to assassinate the Generalissimo, ending the game. Along with dealing with such complexities, the game charges you with figuring out resupply routes, and having science guys capture enemy buildings and create defensive structures. Furthermore, proper strategic thinking reaps rewards, such as shooting from higher ground and manoeuvring enemies into choke points. It might look like a cartoon, but Great Big War Game is in reality a hard-nosed — albeit accessible — slice of iOS strategy.
Like its predecessor, Great Little War Game, this title has an extensive, varied campaign mode, which gradually unveils new units. This is designed to ease you in, but we got a serious hiding before long. We therefore suspect the campaign should last most gamers many hours, but once you’re done there’s also a skirmish mode on a diverse range of maps; additionally, there’s pass-and-play, and — new to the series — online asynchronous multiplayer. Due to its cross-platform nature, the game sadly eschews Game Center, but that at least means you can go nuts on Android users should you be so inclined.
There’s very little not to like here. The 3D zoom during combat and initially amusing but eventually tiresome quips from the troopers (‘Well, safety’s off,’ says one completely deadpan, after coolly shooting a foe through the head) can be disabled, and the interface even works well on the iPhone. The lack of cross-device sync is a pity and if pushed we’d admit to a moment of exasperation on noting extra maps available through IAP reward those who buy them with unique units and extra battle points for upgrades, which can unbalance things a smidgen; but really, we’re too busy playing the game to care.
Download this app: Great Big War Game for iPad
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Review courtesy of Tap!