reviews and playing tips: Palm OS and Pocket PC games
Price: $29.99 Reviewed September 2003
It’s hard to call a game like Warfare
Inc. an epic game against the backdrop of big screen RTS
games such as Command and Conquer. But Warfare Inc. developers
should get plenty of credit for coming up with a story line
with twists and humor, 20 well designed levels (14 storyline
levels and 6 mission levels) that are grueling at times,
beautifully rendered graphics and a solid game in general.
Developed by Spiffcode and published by
Handmark, Warfare Inc. is an RTS game for both Palm and Pocket
PCs. It has all the ingredients of a great RTS game including
building a home base to generate money, and building well-armed
commandos and various types of deadly artillery that both
defend and take over enemy bases. Warfare Inc. is set in
the future where money comes from mining operations on an
alien planet and your enemies are your business competitor,
rogue corporate officers and a radical group.
With a different map in each level, Warfare
Inc. offers heaps of action yet cleverly avoids repeating
the same fighting routine. You will get plenty of exercise
in the familiar “build, search and destroy” RTS
gameplay, but you will find some pleasant variety in each
level’s missions. In addition to destroying and conquering
enemy bases, you’ll defend access points, chase run-away
enemies and rescue your own people as your mission objectives.
You will need to build large home bases in some levels; in
others you will need to be a super commando and single-handedly
complete your missions. Such level design shows some ingenuity
and understanding of RTS games and their fans.
The AI works surprising well. Too often,
even in games like Age of Empires or even Warcraft, you get
path-finding problems where your units get stuck behind the
trees or stand on a cliff and can’t figure out how
to get to the frontline. You will not experience this problem
in Warfare Inc., which seems amazing to me. The enemy AI
is on target, though some levels are bit too easy with a
pre-sequenced path. After you play a couple of times, you
will know where the enemy units are coming from and when.
The graphics in Warfare Inc. are some of
the best I’ve seen on a handheld platform. The terrain,
structures and war units all look very sharp. You will enjoy
special effects like explosions and smoke, and you’ll
watch your units moving smoothly to their posts. The interface
makes the game very easy to play with almost no learning
curve. After the first couple of missions, you will be well
on your way to building your own mining operation and waging
a war on your own. On the Sony hi-res Clies, Warfare Inc.
runs in the full screen (320 x 480 on the NX and NZ models,
and 480 x 320 landscape on the UX50), which is a very nice
touch. However, there are some bugs that kept freezing the
game on the NX80V, though it ran flawlessly on the SJ30 and
UX50. Warfare Inc. can run in both landscape and portrait
modes on the Pocket PC.
There aren’t any music background
tracks in Warfare Inc., though you will find an extensive
amount of sound FX. Some of the well designed sound FX include
building structures, and units responding to your commands.
While the collection of the sound FX is fairly impressive,
the code itself needs a little adjusting. The volume on the
SJ30 version is extremely low to the point it’s hard
to hear. But on the NX80V and UX50, the sound is very loud
and a little choppy. Warfare Inc. runs on both Palm OS devices
including gray scale, low res and high res, and Pocket PCs
including 2002 and 2003 devices. It takes about 2.5MB storage
There is no question that Warfare
Inc. is a stunning achievement in the RTS genre on PDAs.
The level of game design and the intelligence of the AI
accompanied by beautiful graphics show an incredible maturity
in this 1.0 version of the game. Hopefully the bugs will
be fixed and some new features will be added in future
releases. A level editor will generate more fans and maybe
even help the game to come up with sequels or expansion
packs. After all the dust settles and the fog of war clears,
you will see a game with a great core design and huge potential
to be one of the first “epic” games on the
Playing Hints and Tips
Don’t be afraid of replaying the
levels. It gives you can opportunity to try different strategies.
Always establish your base and mining operations first before
building fighting units. Always make sure you have a few Bullpups
because if you run out mining vehicles and money, you are dead
in the water.
Above, Pocket PC version. Below: Palm OS
high-res 320 x 320 version.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Excellent! Very sharp images and polished
Great sound FX wonderfully capture the action.
No music might be a turn off for some gamers.
Different levels with various types of missions
are never boring. Some missions are easy while others are grueling.
The pace of the game seems right on target. RTS fan will find
joy in their familiar territory.
20 well-designed levels in three difficulty
settings will last you for a long while.