App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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It took me a while to remember why MetalWars3 felt so familiar but I eventually figured it out: I’d played the original back when I still had my old 3GS and was new to the whole iOS thing. I wasn’t impressed. However, that was two games and four years ago. A lot can change over that much time.
The story in MetalWars3 is about as important as the letter spacing in its title but the gist is this: It’s the future, the nations of the world banded together only to end up fighting again, and all these skirmishes involve mechs. The gameplay, on the other hand, is an interesting combination of the customization and fairly streamlined weapon-management systems found in games like Armored Core and the more methodical sim-like combat from titles similar to Mechwarrior. Players steadily enhance their walking tank with better parts and weapons, go on tougher missions to earn the resources needed to research and create better gear, and so on. The missions themselves are varied enough, at least in setting, and usually involve making sure there are no more red dots on the radar.
Granted it’s been a while since I’ve played the first game, but as far as I’m concerned MetalWars3 outshines it in every way. The visuals are pretty slick despite some of the simplistic effects and the controls are responsive, which is pretty much all I wanted in the first place. On top of that there are more parts and weapons to make use of, both for the playable mech and for the one piloted by the AI-controlled wingman.
I’m not too crazy about MetalWars3’s new Research Lab, though. The idea of including a tech tree filled with unlockable parts is neat but having to spend XP to research a part, then gold to actually construct it feels excessive. It also makes progression feel a lot slower than it really is. I also feel that, despite being better than the original in just about every way, the game is still kind of “blah.” I mean it’s not bad, but it’s not particularly exciting, either. Most fights quickly devolve into an awkward series of slow strafes and rocket-assisted jumps while one mech tries to outlast the other rather than employing any real strategy.
MetalWars3 is a big step up from the 2009 original, however it still doesn’t quite manage to stand out very well. It’s pretty, plays well, and offers up some nice options but ultimately feels rather dull and moves along at a glacial pace. I wouldn’t call it a bad iOS mech game; just not the iOS mech game I’ve been hoping for.