Hands on with Wolfenstein RPG on mobile

Role-playing revolution?

Hands on with Wolfenstein RPG on mobile
| Wolfenstein RPG

It might sound like a strange thing to say, but Wolfenstein RPG has the look and feel of a classic 1970s rock supergroup.

If gaming's glitterati ever attempted to pool its resources in the same way as those massive musical collaborations did, then you might expect to see Sonic The Hedgehog playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the latest FIFA, or Pac-Man taking on hordes of SS fighters with nothing but a bowl of fruit and a pack of ghosts at his disposal.

Or, you might end up with Wolfenstein RPG, the result of id Software's original 3D shooter venturing into the forests of RPG. Mobile games buffs will be aware that the developer gave Doom the same treatment a few years back.

On first inspection, it would be very easy mistake this for a plain old shooter, transposed for posterity onto mobile. It wasn't long into our hands-on that Wolfenstein's new subtle RPG stylings came into view, however, and they help transform what could have been ordinary and routine into something of a gem.

For anyone new to the exploits of Castle Wolfenstein, this new chapter promises to retain most of what makes the franchise so special.

With the allied forces closing in on Nazi Germany, your job is to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein to investigate and put a stop to Hitler's paranormal and medical experiments.

In practice, this involves roaming around lots of corridors, shooting Nazis, and picking up both items and information as you go. Exploration actually makes up the bulk of Wolfenstein's early levels, which contributes to its RPG flavour.

As well as the health packs dotted around (collated in your inventory, and available – along with everything else – for consumption whenever you wish), you'll also find books and syringes, amongst other things, littered about the place that up your abilities in respective areas for a set number of turns, letting you kill more Nazis.

Nazi guards flood Wolfenstein's early chambers, but it's possible to employ a variety of tactics to see them off, taking advantage of the fact that the combat is turn-based.

Action fans needn't be put off by the turn-based combat, incidentally. Moves are made and countered within split-seconds of each other, whether you're taking a step or attacking one of your adversaries - either with your gun or, more frequently, with your feet.

Guns were often a last resort during our quick play through. It's possible to lure some of your rivals into gated-off areas, trapping them and removing them from the equation. Ammunition is also in fairly short supply, so giving your rivals a lethal kicking rather than shooting at them is often the best solution.

And it's quandaries such as these that look set to make Wolfenstein RPG more of a puzzler than it is a shooter, adding elements of decision making and risk to the original Wolfenstein recipe.

If the quality remains as high as it did during our hands-on session, Wolfenstein RPG won't only look and feel like a classic: it'll be a classic.

Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.