Hands on with Wolfenstein RPG

Less shooting, more role-playing

Hands on with Wolfenstein RPG
| Wolfenstein RPG

You can shoot them, fry them, fire them, blast them, and even chop them up, but they still keep coming back for more. Digital Nazis have a way of surviving the ages, like cockroaches following a nuclear blast. You hate them because they're icky, but you can't help but enjoy killing a few to pass the time. Wolfenstein RPG taps into that feeling, offering the chance to obliterate Nazis on your mobile.

The game sends B.J. Blazkowicz to the infamous Nazi hideout Castle Wolfenstein in an effort to thwart Hilter's paranormal ambitions. Deep within the castle walls, Nazi scientists have been conducting experiments to harness supernatural powers. Over nine stages, you lead B.J. through a mission to put an end to these bizarre experiments and their deadly by-products.

Wolfenstein RPG deviates little from the formula established by id Software's other mobile offshoot, Doom RPG. You play as B.J. in the first-person, exploring the dank halls of Castle Wolfenstein via taps of the directional pad. Pressing left or right moves the camera in the respective direction, while hitting up on the pad allows you to move forward. It's a simple system that enables first-person gameplay to work on the platform, even if it means the action runs at a slower tempo.

Turn-based battles also contribute to the slower pace of Wolfenstein RPG when compared to its frenzied predecessors. As you delve into the depths of the castle, you encounter various enemies via turn-based combat. Whatever weapon you have equipped is used to automatically attack, so loading up your best weapon and making sure you have plenty of ammunition is key to survival. For tougher enemies, you might consider dual-wielding a pair of guns for a bit more punch.

We'd honestly like to see the battle system ditch automation and allow you the freedom to select B.J.'s actions. Combat is at the core of any role-playing game and Wolfenstein RPG looks to take that element away from the player's control in an effort to make the game accessible. Unfortunately, that leaves it more or less an exercise in moving B.J. around a few levels and not a bona fide role-playing experience.

At least the game is succeeding with accessibility, if not depth. The controls are remarkably simple, with most of your time spent jamming on the centre key to interact with various objects and tapping on the directional pad to move through each environment. An overall map of the area pinpoints important locations through the course of the campaign, which you can revisit at any time. There are even individual maps for each locale to help identify your progress, such as the catacombs we explored.

You won't need these maps, really, since the game's design is so utterly straightforward. That's generally a good thing, as Wolfenstein RPG promises to be extremely easy to play which in turn means it will be a breeze to play on the go. More complexity in the combat mechanics would do much to bulk up the experience, but we'll know exactly how it fares when it fires off onto US handsets later this year.

Tracy Erickson
Tracy Erickson
Manning our editorial outpost in America, Tracy comes with years of expertise at mashing a keyboard. When he's not out painting the town red, he jets across the home of the brave, covering press events under the Pocket Gamer banner.