Game Reviews

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land

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Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land

H.P. Lovecraft's eerie tales of supernatural beings from other dimensions may not enjoy the same mainstream appeal as the misadventures of Freddy Kruger or Jason Voorhees, but they're arguably just as scary.

Thankfully, the esteemed author's work has been better served in the realm of interactive entertainment, with a raft of role-playing boardgames spawning an equally successful line of video game interpretations.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is the latest to grace our small screens, and it takes the shape of a turn-based RPG along the lines of Julian Gollop's seminal X-Com series.

Set in the grim trenches of The First World War, The Wasted Land initially puts you in the shoes of British soldiers fighting the German Empire, before quickly shifting the focus to the sinister machinations of a tentacle-loving cult.

Trench warfare

No matter what foe you happen to be fighting, the general gameplay remains the same. All activities on the battlefield consume Action Points, and the only way to replenish these is to finish your turn.

Moving and engaging the enemy take different numbers of Action Points, and you can choose to sacrifice more points in order to increase your chances of making a successful attack.

A wide range of weapons are available, including long-range rifles and close-quarters bayonets. The longer your characters use these weapons the more adept they become.

Cover me

As well as dealing with the enemy, you'll also have to consider environmental hazards, such as harmful gas and structures that obscure your line of sight - the latter can be both a blessing and a curse, as they provide your units with cover as well as blocking your aim.

The gameplay in The Wasted Land is really quite engaging and enjoyable, offering a staggering degree of depth. There's also a considerable level of challenge here, even on the most basic difficulty setting.

Fingers and thumbs

The game's biggest stumbling point is its controls - this type of game is more suited to a mouse-driven interface, and on a touchscreen it's often hard to select units or execute attacks. Also, playing on a phone with a screen any smaller than four inches isn't recommended, as it's frustratingly hard to make accurate selections.

While its control problems do impact on your enjoyment to a certain extent, The Wasted Land remains a solid choice for fans of turn-based RPG titles. The setting is wonderfully original, the presentation is impeccable, and the combat is gripping - just be prepared to mutter curses under your breath as you attempt to get the better of the occasionally irksome controls.

Android version reviewed.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land

Supernatural role-playing action abounds in this handheld adaptation of Lovecraft's famous legend, but its impact is dulled ever so slightly by bothersome interface problems. Play it on a device with as large a display as possible
Damien  McFerran
Damien McFerran
Damien's mum hoped he would grow out of playing silly video games and gain respectable employment. Perhaps become a teacher or a scientist, that kind of thing. Needless to say she now weeps openly whenever anyone asks how her son's getting on these days.