Assault Wave is a fun WWII themed lane defense game. It features two single-player campaigns and both local and online multiplayer. Unfortunately, it lacks depth and replayability.
Assault Wave is billed as chess with machine guns, but has been described as rock/paper/scissors with machine guns. The former is overly generous, but the latter is overly critical. Once you choose your side (Axis or Allies) the game begins and you are confronted with a game board consisting of a variety of terrain. This terrain greatly affects gameplay in that it provides cover for units, offers movement bonuses/penalties, and provides choke points. Unlike other strategy games, however, you deploy all of your units at the bottom of the screen and send them upward like so many wind-up toys. Once in motion, they cannot be directly manipulated (although they can be influenced by power-ups and artillery). The trick is to deploy your units in such a way as to counter the enemy's deployments, while preventing him from doing the same. As I previously noted, there is a rock/paper/scissors feel to Assault Wave in that each unit type has a particular unit type that it is more effective against, as well as a particular unit type that it is less effective against. However, these strengths/weaknesses can be mitigated somewhat by clever use of combined arms, and good unit placement. This makes the game feel quite a bit more strategic than most lane defense games. Additionally, units have fields of fire, which allow them to attack units in other lanes that are nearby, adding yet another layer of strategy. As fun as this sounds, though, Assault Wave doesn't quite live up to its description in that unlike chess pieces, units in play cannot be redirected or repurposed. Further, there just isn't enough variation between levels to keep the game feeling fresh. On a positive note, most of these criticisms are leveled at the single-player campaigns, not the multiplayer experience. Assault Wave offers both same-device multiplayer and online play. The former pits two players on either side of a single iPad while the online gameplay format mirrors the campaigns. Both of these features work quite well, and will likely be the only reason this game remains on my iPad after I've completed the campaigns.
Assault Wave's menu interface is nicely polished and looks like it was hammered out of a box of WWII era comic books and an old jeep and the game screen is colorful and animated with lots of effects and eye candy. This is a graphically demanding game so if you want to run it on a 1st generation iPad, it's going to struggle.
Great sound effects! The music is decent, but thankfully, it fades out when a match begins so you can hear all the nicely sampled weapons and vehicles.
In-App Purchases (IAPs)
Assault Wave currently contains no IAPs.
Assault Wave is either a light strategy game, or a deep lane defense game. Either way, its single-player campaigns will offer enough of a diversion to keep you interested for a while. However its multiplayer component truly shines. Play this game with a friend and watch it come alive.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4.5 - Beautiful game screens filled with high resolution and historically accurate units trying to blow each other up. Sound: - 5 - Great sound effects! Controls: - 5 - The interface is responsive and intuitive. Gameplay: - 3.5 - You'll get weary of the single-player campaign pretty quickly, but the multiplayer component is great fun.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Take time to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each unit before you play. Knowing what to use and when is at the heart of Assault Wave. Only one campaign can be active at a time so don't start the Axis levels if you are only halfway done with the Allied levels because your progress will vaporize.