App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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I’d never want to be a marine in the future. They always have to fight off unspeakable alien horrors and face impossible odds. They usually die pretty horribly, too. That said, I don’t mind pretending to be one in a virtual environment. And I especially don’t mind playing military tactician in games like Boom Brigade 2.
Much like Robert Heinlein’s thinly veiled commentary on fascism with interstellar exterminators (read: Starship Troopers. I mean actually read it), Boom Brigade 2 involves squaring off against swarms of hostile alien bugs with a scant selection of soldiers and some fairly impressive ordinance. Each level requires players to survive a set number of waves with the units supplied, however it’s possible to change their loadouts before the stage begins. Specifically this includes things like using machineguns that don’t require reloading but don’t do much damage or rockets with a huge range and damage but an incredibly slow rate of fire. The action itself plays lout much like a hybrid of a unit-centric RTS and line-drawing game, with players able to pause the action to issue movement commands or designate priority targets as well as issue commands on-the-fly if they need to. Simply completing a given level isn’t too difficult with a well-planned arsenal, but getting the maximum rating requires zero casualties and zero base damage. In other words, it ain’t so easy.
I have to say I’m impressed with Boom Bridage 2’s controls. Sometimes line drawing can be bothersome but there’s some pretty impressive path finding here that will automatically guide soldiers around barriers and the like. Being able to pause everything to issue orders is also a huge help as things can get pretty hectic pretty fast. And the inclusion of un-lockable upgrades for all the different units, many of which are more of a trade-off than an outright improvement, act as both a reason to keep playing and an extra layer of strategy.
Although the path finding I mentioned can be irritating at times since accidentally dragging a finger past the intended spot will sometimes result in tracing a path that circumvents a barricade that I’d intended on using for cover. Redirecting is simple enough, but having to make multiple attempts to direct a soldier in the think of it can be irritating. I’ve also run into trouble when trying to select a specific grunt when they’re all grouped closely together, but it’s nothing a brief bit of character shuffling can’t fix.
Boom Brigade 2 is an interesting mash-up of defense and line-drawing, but it pulls it off with gusto. It’s fun, easy to play, and has plenty of incentive to keep doing so thanks to all the bonus stages and un-lockable upgrades. Locking and loading is most certainly recommended.