Version Reviewed: 1.1
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
There are a ton of genres that have been extremely successful on the iPhone, but there hasn't really been a breakthrough RTS yet. The PC, the only platform that the RTS really has thrived, has a bunch of things going for it that make the genre successful, including a larger screen, a full keyboard for all the hotkeys, and an easy to use mouse. Without these components, it's just not clear to me that the genre can thrive.
Battle of WWII is Simubotic's latest (and first) attempt to make the RTS genre work. As expected, there had to be a bit of a compromise to get the game working properly. With the screen being as small as it is, and with no keyboard, there just had to be things that were dialed down.
Dialed down though, in this case, would be an understatement. For one, there are no buildings to build in Battle of WWII. With no buildings, there is no tech tree, and with no tech tree, there are no weapon upgrades to perform. Each level, after an intro that lasts a few paragraphs, boils down to you having an outpost with a mission to take over all the enemy outposts. Each outpost that you take gives you money, and money allows you to build more troops out of the outposts. In what seems to be a move to eliminate Total Annihilation style gaming, there is a troop limit given at the beginning of each level that can never be raised.
The units are all fairly unique, with an assortment of infantry, tanks, vehicles, and a long ranged guns. Once your small army (usually consisting of 8 units) is built, you can use the pointer button to select them all, or select only certain ones. There is a nice system for grouping troops together in the game, but the whole process would be simplified if there was a way to have your units march together. Sending everyone at once created problems because you would have different units going different speeds, often running into the enemy base without backup. The movement system worked, however, and didn't prove to be much of a hindrance to the game.
The real problem is that there is simply not enough to do. Every level is just a slightly harder version of the last, and all have the same objective. Getting new units to build is sort of fun, but I want to build a base, I want a story -- I want an RTS! To be honest, I would've been more happy if I was given a single Mechwarrior style unit that I could upgrade to my own specifications. The average RTS gamer loves variety and the ability to put a stamp on the way the game is played, but Battle of WWII doesn't quite give you enough variety to work with.