Developer: Ristom Network Ltd
Price: $3.99
Version: 2.1.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

minibattle05MiniBattle Deluxe makes a decent attempt to recreate the fun and inherent chaos found in the turn-based projectile-launching darling, Worms. “Decent” being the key word here. Its heart is in the right place but unfortunately everything else falls short. Like, incredibly short.

I honestly couldn’t tell anyone what MiniBattle is really about, plot-wise. Not because I wasn’t paying attention but because the localization is so incredibly difficult to parse, I couldn’t actually figure out half of what they were trying to explain. Suffice it to say everything boils down to arena-style combat between players (and sometimes NPC monsters). Each takes a turn to adjust their position on the field, set their trajectories, activate special power-ups if they desire, then chuck their weapon of choice in an attempt to bean their opponent and reduce their health to zero. Various cosmetic gear and special items can be earned and purchased along the way to customize the experience.

MiniBattle might be rough, but it looks good and offers up plenty of choices for its players. There are a ton of vanity items to acquire that allow players to represent themselves pretty much any way they want. The characters themselves also have a pleasant Maple Story feel to them. On the technical side of things the multiplayer matchmaking also works quite well and I never found myself waiting very long for a game to start.

minibattle02Once the game does start, however, things get a lot less pleasant. This may be a turn-based projectile-launching game, but it fails to capture anything that has made other examples of the genre fun. Except for the whole “dialing in a shot” thing. All of the enjoyable visuals turn into a tragic joke once they actually start to animate. Characters literally crawl along the bottom of the screen for no discernable reasons other than to obscure a player’s hand-picked outfit and slow their movement. The timer for each player’s turn is far too short and makes repositioning almost pointless. No clear reason is given for players occasionally taking two consecutive turns rather than simply going “one, two, one, two, etc.” The terrain is also problematic as characters stick to its surfaces like glue, including all the little ridges and bumps. I’ve had to waste precious seconds on several occasions reorienting my character because he was clinging to the barest hint of a vertical surface and drastically throwing off his trajectory. Lastly, and worst of all, thanks to all the clunkiness in virtually every single aspect of the game it just isn’t any fun to play.

A Worms-like anime-inspired game such as MiniBattle is a cute idea. It has the potential to be fun and accessible, as well as draw a decent crowd. But when the underlying mechanics and game engine are as rough as this it’s definitely not worth it. Even for free.

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