For an avid real-time and turn-based strategist such as myself (I own over 10 different games in the genre if you combine board, PC (without counting expansion packs), and iPhone games, just in case you doubt), seeing Warfare Incorporated (Spiffcode Inc.) in the App Store Wednesday night was a dream come true. I didn’t hesitate to download it and promptly began my midnight gaming.
WI is set in a futuristic world, where you are a beginning mining specialist for ACME Corp. (I know, not very original, but bear with me). As your Mining Leader, Gordon Fox, is AWOL you experience a series of rapid promotions following your successfully completed missions. The planet you are in charge of was supposedly a secret and free of any OMNI Corp., a rival mining company, presence. As you progress however you will find that this is not necessarily the case.
Warfare Inc. covers most of the bases when it comes to the RTS formula. There are a number of various unit types each with their own advantages and disadvantages. There are buildings for defense, as well as unit production buildings which can be upgraded in later levels to yield access to more powerful units. Expansion must be balanced with power production (similar to food or population limit in other RTSs) because all buildings require power. Without the proper amount of juice flowing through your camp unit production will slow and defense buildings will shut down altogether.
WI is not without flaws however. First, the graphics aren’t really up to snuff with what the iPhone can do. This game was ported from Windows Mobile, and it shows. The units and terrains look more like a Game Boy Advance title than an iPhone one. Also, as with a lot of mobile/internet games, the AI could use some work. They will send almost endless groups of small raiding parties which can easily be mopped up by light based defense buildings instead of saving a few waves and crushing your defenses. Also, the AI is set up well to make a base, defend it, and form attacks, but once its balance has been thrown off it doesn’t recover well. I had destroyed its miners used to gather resources, and it didn’t have enough to make a new miner. Instead of selling a building, or canceling a unit being produced, to have the resources to make a new miner it sat in a state of not being able to do anything. Finally, some of the missions are actually easier to complete if you ignore the mission objectives for a while. One of the missions I was finding impossibly hard no matter how well I played it. Then, I found by ignoring the mission objectives the computer would indefinitely hold of the large attacks that were supposedly “imminent” but were actually triggered by completing the event, not by a certain amount of time passing.
The controls also lack a bit. There is no deselect, so you will find yourself accidentally moving units when you were trying to select another one. There is also no “attack+move” command, so your units will not engage the enemy until you select an enemy for them to attack or they reach their destination. This can lead to your units getting pummeled by the enemy without fighting back if you aren’t watching them. Also, units never attack enemy buildings without specific instructions, so they will sit in the enemy base doing nothing. Miners do not flee if being attacked either, even without any way to defend themselves.
As I said, the graphics are not what they should be. Many critics’ reviews mention the “superb graphics,” but remember that most of these reviews were written about WI on a Windows Mobile device. As these graphics were directly ported to the much higher resolution iPhone without any enhancements they do not look great, especially when you hold a unit and it is zoomed in on.
First off, there is no music during missions. Most units have a few catchphrases they say when they move, but these are recycled for multiple units, so you will get sick of them very soon. I find myself playing with the iPhone in silent mode to mute the units while listening to my own music.
Gameplay is good, but stupid mistakes kill the score here, these being the AI and poor controls. If they fixed these, depending on the extent of the AI fix, this would immediately jump to an 8-10.
Replay Value: 7/10
With over 200+ player created scenarios and counting there is plenty to keep you coming back. . . if you still want to come back that is. Lack of multiplayer knocks 2 off this score, and another point for the fact that if you can’t stand the flawed AI you won’t make it to the add-on missions in the first place.
Warfare Incorporated offers something to hold RTS fans over. . . not satisfy them, but at least keep them content until something better comes along. While it has the potential to become THE definitive RTS on iPhone it currently stumbles in too many areas to claim the title. With a few small fixes this game has the opportunity to jump from an average 6 to a solid 8+, so I’d watch for updates if you are on the fence about buying it, especially considering multiplayer has been announced to be included in a future update. Overall I would recommend this game to hardcore strategy fans that are looking for a fix on their iPhone. For a casual gamer or someone moderately interested I would say your $5 is probably better spent elsewhere.
-The closest thing to a PC RTS currently out for the iPhone
-Lots of missions