Game Reviews

Battle for Mars

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Battle for Mars

Despite the best efforts of pacifists the world over, man continues to take delight in fighting fellow man. In Larva Labs’ Battle for Mars, this perpetual state of conflict has gotten to the point where the planet Earth isn’t big enough to contain mankind’s destructive influence, so new pastures have been selected to stage the prolonged carnage.

As the commander of the Earth forces, it’s your task to beat back the native Martians and take the Red Planet as your own. In order to do this you must contest for control of the many buildings that are dotted around the map, as well as using your robotic army to inflict as much damage as possible on the enemy.

The ultimate goal of each map is to infiltrate the command HQ of your foe, thus ending their war effort in that particular region. Naturally, your opponent has a similar objective, so it’s vital that you maintain a balance between your offensive and defensive considerations.

Naturally none of this is possible without a dependable army to command, and you can only obtain this by constructing units in your factory. Available forces range from human soldiers (these chaps are weak but they’re the only unit capable of capturing buildings) to massive robotic gunships.

Combat in Battle for Mars is simple: you merely position your unit next to an opposing one and select the ‘combat’ option. A brief animated sequence shows the result of the attack, but these slow down the pace of the game so you’ll probably want to switch them off.

While the majority of units need to be adjacent to their enemy in order to initiate an attack, some have ranged weaponry which means they can hit their foe without giving them the chance to retaliate. The trade-off is that when an unfriendly assailant does eventually get within punching distance, these units are horribly exposed.

Unit construction requires cash and this trickles through at the end of each turn. The more buildings you possess, the more money you’ll get. This encourages you to seek out as many cities as possible and bring them under your command.

If this is all sounding a little familiar that’s probably because you’ve previously played Nintendo’s Advance Wars. Battle for Mars is essentially identical, save for the ‘50s B-movie-style intergalactic setting.

This kind of blatant cloning is certainly no bad thing, especially when the game in question is as polished as Battle for Mars. The visuals are highly detailed with plenty of character and incidental animations – such as newly constructed units appearing from inside wooden crates – add to the appeal even further.

On the audio front it’s more of a mixed bag. There’s no music to speak of, but the futuristic sound effects are fantastic. To be honest, the lack of music is probably a blessing as we’ve experienced far too many looping soundtracks in games of this type. The amount of time you spend on one map means that you’re likely to get sick of any tune that might have been playing in the background.

With 12 maps to play through, six different building types and 17 flavours of units to experiment with, Battle for Mars offers an amazing amount of entertainment for the measly $2.99 (just shy of two quid) that the developer is asking for.

That’s not to say there’s no room for improvement should a sequel come along – we’d love to see wi-fi multiplayer and a more substantial storyline next time around – but for the time being this is an excellent turn-based diversion for your Android phone. If you’ve checked out Hudson’s excellent Military Madness and have a craving for more of the same, give this a whirl.

Battle for Mars

It may be a shameless Advance Wars clone but that doesn’t stop Battle for Mars from being a thoroughly enjoyable turn-based experience