iPad Game Review: Iron Wars
Reviewed by JadeDragon
Iron Wars is a unique arena shooter game developed by a Canadian company Tap Mobile. The game features fighting balls armed with deadly weapons trying to frag each other in different arena style locations. The game has 3D environment with dual stick shooter controls and it's a universal game that works on the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad as well as Mac and PC. Iron Wars offers single and multi-player modes, and it's a very addictive game.
We've seen many dual stick 3D shooters on iOS devices, Iron Wars has an interesting set up for gameplay. It's truly based on the arena shooter tradition where you win or lose according to the condition of the fight, as opposed to survival style dual stick shooter games like Minigore. Three game modes (Death match, Team death match and Domination) ensure that you experience all aspects of the gameplay and you can play these games in a quick game setting, campaign setting or multiplayer setting. We like these choices as they attract both casual gamers and hardcore veterans alike. For a quick match, you can dictate how the game is played by setting winning/losing conditions, number of opponents and more; it?s a great option for those who want to hone their skills or only have a few minutes to kill.
Campaign levels are the meat of the gameplay. It comes in four chapters (including a tutor chapter) in 32 levels, and levels get unlocked as you beat previous levels. One very nice thing about the gameplay in Campaign fights is that the game modes or winning conditions vary from level to level, so you don?t feel like you are playing the levels over and over again. Iron Wars offers 9 different maps and as you advance in chapters in Campaign levels you unlock new locations on which the new levels take place. The maps aren?t huge, just big enough for you to run around while remembering where the weapons and base locations. It?s also very important that you read the winning conditions before the start of each level so that you know what to do in order to win it.
Multiplayer mode is fun if you have a few buddies to experience the gameplay together. You can host or join in the game via either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and since the game is universal you can play together on different platforms. The game allows up to 6 additional players via Wi-Fi, and your opponents and teammates glow in different colors. There isn?t yet a global multiplayer mode. Without real life playmates, the AI controls both teammates and opponents, and it?s quite smart about basic squad rules in the fast paced gameplay. As with most arena style games, Iron Wars offers different weapons including pistol, shotgun, plasma, rocket launch, body blades and more, and they are scattered throughout a map along with shields, health and ammo. You can pick up multiple weapons and ammo, and switch between them on the fly (swipe the bottom right corner).
Iron Wars looks different from other dual stick 3D shooters because, well the fighters are balls in different colors. Though some might have menacing looks, the game doesn?t make you feel like you are in a Quake or Doom fight. Each ball can move at a very high speed, and the game handles it very well with smooth movement and accurate and responsive controls. This is good news because there is no auto-firing option and this means you have to keep tapping on the ?fire? button. The arena might have some blood spattered floors or walls, but when a ball ?dies? it only leaves a mark in the color of the ball, which looks like a paintball hit.
The arenas have varied looks that add to the game?s lure. Some maps open up in the beginning like the old mine, temple ruin and riverbed; others you have to unlock more levels in Campaign games to experience like space ship, satellite, deep forest and more. The maps have simple layout and you can easily explore the entire map at a running speed. Weapon, ammo and other power-up drops are usually at the same spots throughout a level, so you can memorize the locations for pick up. Nine maps are a big collection, but they look very different from each other, which helps avoid feeling repetitive.
Iron Wars has suitable music tracks and appropriate sound effects. The music tracks are hard rock with a heavy metal flare. The strong beats make fragging your enemies more enjoyable and fill you with energy. Each weapon has its own sound FX that?s realistic and stands out from the background music. The game could use more tracks though.
Iron Wars is a fun and addictive game for both casual players and veteran shooters. It?s easy to pick up yet has the depth to offer hours of gameplay. The maps have a Quake feel to it, albeit on a much smaller scale, and the 3D actions are smooth and fast paced. Though you are controlling a flying ball, the game doesn?t skimp on weapons or power-ups. Both campaign mode and multiplayer mode are well done. We wish the game had a global multiplayer mode and hopefully more maps will be added to the current collection. The game also offers IAP for weapons, shields and more.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - 3D actions are smooth, controls are responsive, maps are great looking.
Sound: - 4 - BGM is very fitting and each weapon has its own sound FX. Could use more tracks.
Controls: - 5 - Excellent dual stick controls. No auto-fire option.
Gameplay: - 5 - Lots of meat in Campaign gameplay, multiplayer support and quick game mode are also well done.
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Remember where all the weapon drop points are, and shield power-up is essential to your survival.
-Make sure you read the conditions of winning in Campaign mode before starting a level.
-Keep moving! You enemies use auto-aiming, but they can?t get you if you keep moving out of their crosshair.
Developer: Tap Mobile
Release Date: Sep, 21 2011
Price: Free with IAP
Buy App: Iron Wars
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