Warfare Incorporated

  • By lesp on Dec 14,2008

The ReplicatorFor 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.

Base Fight

Graphics: 6.5/10
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.

Sound: 3/10
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: 6/10
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.

Overall: 6/10
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.

Pros:
-The closest thing to a PC RTS currently out for the iPhone
-Lots of missions

Cons:
-Poor Sound/Graphics
-Poor controls
-Dumb AI

5 Responses for "Warfare Incorporated"

  1. BillyC December 14th, 2008 at 7:55 am

    Very nice review. I’m not really a RTS fan, but it looks like this game has a lot to offer…

  2. Phillip McCollam December 14th, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Some problems with your review:

    You said:
    “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.”

    The graphics could use an update, true – but if you’re comparing it to some of the adventure games available it’s apples and oranges. If you actually compare it to other strategy games, then I think the point needs to be made that they are certainly comparable, at the very least. Come on – you’re going to argue that GalCon’s little blue triangles are better graphics than this? Please.

    You said:
    “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.”

    Gee, I kinda thought that the whole point of gaming on the iPod was so that you could listen to music from – you know – your iPod while you played. And the point about units repeating themselves? Arguably the greatest RTS of all times is Starcraft, and I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a marine in that game say “Gimme somethin’ to shoot!” Also, the point needs to be made that increasing the number of things they say also increases the size of the game on the iPod. When you’ve got movies, music, and other high-storage items on your iPod, a game with a very small footprint isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    You said:
    “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.”

    While it’s true that there is no attack+move command, and the Miners don’t necessarily flee, the rest was patently untrue, and you apparently needed to spend more time actually playing the game before you reviewed it. The units DO attack when an enemy is in sight if the mission writer programmed them to do so – and the difficulty setting also has an effect on this, if I’m not mistaken. In fact, on of the problems people have had is that their armies sometimes are too aggressive. And units not attacking buildings without being told? Where do you get that nonsense? They most certainly do! Did you play on easy, or something, and ignore the other settings? And while the miners don’t run, you might have mentioned that they are the most heavily armored unit in the game – I’m glad they don’t run! I often like to build extras and send them as the spearpoint of my base attacks – all the defending units will target them first – I’ve always thought this was deliberate on the designer’s part.

    You said:
    “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.”

    Did you actually download and play any of those extra missions? Because if you had, you might have realized that the AI is scripted by the mission writer – Download Hell’s Pass, Armageddon, Chiron’s HQ, or Paradise Island and come back and say the AI is weak! Oh, and you might try playing on something besides easy.
    AND while multiplayer isn’t available yet – you might have mentioned that it is currently in beta and will be released soon – says so right there in the features list! Not doing so was irresponsible IMO.

    Overall, this came off as a fair and honest review, but quite frankly it stumbled in too many places to not come off as a hastily banged out effort to get an early review in. I’d give this review the same score you gave the game 6/10. (Not mentioning the features list – you know, the one that mentioned the multiplayer update – knocked two points off the score)

  3. lesp December 14th, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Well, you are obviously a hardcore fan, which is your every right. Everyone has an opinion, and yours doesn’t have to agree with mine. But, allow me to admit a few areas where you could be correct, as well as defend my assessments of the game in a few areas I disagree with you.

    “The graphics could use an update, true – but if you’re comparing it to some of the adventure games available it’s apples and oranges. If you actually compare it to other strategy games, then I think the point needs to be made that they are certainly comparable, at the very least. Come on – you’re going to argue that GalCon’s little blue triangles are better graphics than this? Please.”

    First off, I gave the graphics a 6.5. For a game that you admitted needs an update to the graphics I wouldn’t say that is very harsh.

    As you said, you need to compare the graphics to other strategy games, but, you then compared “apples to oranges.” Galcon aims for a simplistic graphical approach, which it does well. This is not WI’s objective. WI is a game that was designed to have “superb graphics,” but it doesn’t. Look at Reign of Swords, which I also reviewed, and is also a strategy game, all be it a TBS. Set up both reviews, and then tab back and forth between the two game’s images. RoS aims for a simpler old-school look, but also does it very well. It is not large and pixely (which is egregiously obvious about WI when comparing the 2 games), the effects are detailed and well done (the explosion in WI looks like I dropped a piece of cheese popcorn on the screen), and the units are bright and well distinguished (I have trouble sometimes telling the difference between guards and troopers in WI without a careful look). WI strives for a higher overall graphical experience than RoS, yet the final product is much worse. I only gave RoS an 8/10 in graphics, because while they accomplish their goal the graphics still don’t blow you away. Do you really think WI deserves more than that game when comparing them side by side?

    And really, when you zoom in on a unit are you going to argue that they don’t look like total crap? It looks like something I would make in MS Paint.

    ——————

    “Gee, I kinda thought that the whole point of gaming on the iPod was so that you could listen to music from – you know – your iPod while you played.”

    1) I have an iPhone that I play on, which is not my primary mp3 player. My phone just has whatever happens to be downloaded to my iTunes, but I use my Dell mp3 for most of my songs. So, I like it when a game has music, because most of the time I am NOT listening to my songs on the phone.

    2) Let me make this very clear. A game CANNOT expect to get a high score in the SOUND category if THERE IS NO SOUND.

    “Arguably the greatest RTS of all times is Starcraft, and I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a marine in that game say “Gimme somethin’ to shoot!”

    I know (StarCraft: BW is my favorite game ever). But, SC also has different sound effects for each unit. “Fire ‘em up!” “Does something hurt?” “You called the thunder, now reap the whirlwind!” My problem isn’t the fact that there’s only 3-5 phrases for each unit, but the fact that I said “these are recycled for multiple units.” Every mechanical unit I’ve used says the same things, and same for infantry. When I already can’t tell the difference between a guard and a trooper it doesn’t help when they both say the EXACT same thing.

    “Also, the point needs to be made that increasing the number of things they say also increases the size of the game on the iPod. When you’ve got movies, music, and other high-storage items on your iPod, a game with a very small footprint isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”

    No, it’s not a bad thing. If this was the “Small Footprint” category I would give it a 10 out of 10. But, seeing how this is the SOUND category, and the SOUNDS are either NON-EXISTENT (music) or REPETITIVE (sound effects) I didn’t.

    ——————

    “You apparently needed to spend more time actually playing the game before you reviewed it. The units DO attack when an enemy is in sight”

    I never said they don’t. I said they don’t engage enemies while they are moving. . . WHICH THEY DON’T. You apparently need to spend more time actually reading my review before you criticize it.

    “And units not attacking buildings without being told? Where do you get that nonsense?”

    I got that “nonsense” from playing the game. After sending my units into an enemy base I wondered why nothing except the first building I told them to attack was disappearing on the mini-map. I looked, and they were all sitting next to enemy buildings. . . doing nothing.

    “Did you play on easy, or something, and ignore the other settings?”

    and then later

    “Oh, and you might try playing on something besides easy.”

    I actually played on normal (the default) and hard. So, don’t say stupid things to “get me” that are actually just going to make you look foolish later.

    “I’m glad they don’t run! I often like to build extras and send them as the spearpoint of my base attacks – all the defending units will target them first – I’ve always thought this was deliberate on the designer’s part.”

    Well, that’s great, and if I order them to charge into an enemy base I would want them to charge like their little lives depended on it. But, when they are set to mine minerals, and they start getting killed, I would like them to run to the safety of my base until I tell them to go back out. It’s the same way in SC. If you order Drones or SCVs to go somewhere, they will go, but if they are set to mine and start getting attacked they will try to run to safety.

    “Did you actually download and play any of those extra missions? Because if you had, you might have realized that the AI is scripted by the mission writer – Download Hell’s Pass, Armageddon, Chiron’s HQ, or Paradise Island and come back and say the AI is weak!”

    I had not played those extra missions, no. But you also can’t expect me to pick out the hardest missions with the best programmed AI and grade the game based on that. My review was written mostly about the missions that come standard with the game, in which the AI was not really that good.

    ——————

    “AND while multiplayer isn’t available yet – you might have mentioned that it is currently in beta and will be released soon – says so right there in the features list! Not doing so was irresponsible IMO.”

    I did miss that, and you are correct. The part about coming out soon, well you really can’t say how long it is going to take, but I should have included that it is planned for a future update, and I have edited the review so that it does now. I did tell people to check for updates if they think they might be interested, so that accomplished much the same goal. But, as it stands, it is still not out, so whether it is planned or not it doesn’t effect the score yet.

    ——————

    “Overall, this came off as a fair and honest review, but quite frankly it stumbled in too many places to not come off as a hastily banged out effort to get an early review in. I’d give this review the same score you gave the game 6/10. (Not mentioning the features list – you know, the one that mentioned the multiplayer update – knocked two points off the score)”

    This review is honest. Too brutally honest than I even wanted it to be. Trust me, I would love to write about how great this game is, and I will play it all day long, and it’s StarCraft on the iPhone, and this is the greatest RTS that will ever be released, but it isn’t, so I can’t. I would much rather have paid $5 for an app that I love and think is perfect and can review that way than have paid $5 for an app that I’m disappointed with. I hope this game adds a few things so that I can edit my review and give it a higher score, but until then I stand by what I wrote.

    BTW, you owe me an 8/10 now since I added something about the multiplayer update xD

  4. RabenaTeRa December 18th, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    pwnd.

  5. Denis Alpízar April 30th, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Sorry for my bad english, i am from Costa Rica.

    I understood you are disagree with the quality of this game. But it is the best game of all time por mobile gadgets !!! Palm, Pocket Pc, and now for Iphone.
    It never die !!!

    Excuse me my too bad english…


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