Hands on with World in War for iPhone and iPad

World in motion

Hands on with World in War for iPhone and iPad
| World in War

The very first mission of World in War sets the tone for this WWII turn-based strategy game, in that it asks the player, quite simply, to ‘Invade Poland’.

This isn’t a game that believes the largest global conflict the world has ever seen started in 1944, then, but instead follows all four of the major sides of the war as new theatres open up across the world.

We went hands on with the iPad version of the game to see whether it’s shaping up to be a Churchill or a Chamberlain.

Fight them at the bus stop

Each mission in the campaigns for the four sides – America (available as an in-app purchase), Britain, the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany – takes place over a particular theatre, with multiple objectives and sub-objectives that need to be met before progressing to the next.

The first mission for the Nazis is the aforementioned blitzkrieg into Poland – with a map solely taking in the countries of Eastern Europe, while the USSR begins its campaign on the back foot just outside the borders of Russia, with a map that stretches hundreds of miles inside the Motherland.

Initially, play feels a lot like a traditional boardgame, in that the sides takes turns to move their pieces (armies, essentially) into other areas on the board, and use funds to construct new units.

These units conform to a rock-paper-scissors-style combat system, so while Tanks are expensive and brutal against infantry, they end up as scrap metal when faced with Artillery.

War is messy

Combat resolution, however, isn’t quite so traditional. Instead of each player politely shooting in turn, every move is processed simultaneously.

This often leads to situations where it’s possible to move around another player's armies, or walk into battles you weren’t quite expecting.

Taking a manufacturing centre (the only areas where you can construct new units) with a solitary infantry unit because your opponent took off to attack what he thought was going to be the main attacking force is just as rewarding as it sounds.

Sunk my battleship

Adding to this layer of second-guessing your opponents are Strategies. Effectively special attacks, a random Strategy can be bought for a high price during your turn and used to level the playing field. For instance, Air Raid damages a selected army, while Bunkers can shelter troops from damage.

In fact, your entire airforce is billeted inside Strategies, which is a little disappointing given how important air combat is in modern warfare, but at least the game offers direct control over naval and ground troops.

World in War is shaping up to be an interesting strategy game that attempts something a little different from its peers. While the AI seems to put up a fairly good fight from what we’ve played, we’re expecting the online multiplayer via OpenFeint to provide a extra dimension to the tactical skulduggery on release.

World in War for iPhone and iPad has been submitted to Apple, so it should be arriving on the App Store in the next week or so.
Will Wilson
Will Wilson
Will's obsession with gaming started off with sketching Laser Squad levels on pads of paper, but recently grew into violently shouting "Tango Down!" at random strangers on the street. He now directs that positive energy into his writing (due in no small part to a binding court order).