Version Reviewed: 1.0
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Pocket World At War really isn’t an easy game to categorize. On one hand, the game uses conventional RTS gameplay and could easily get bunched in with the masses of RTS games, but on the other hand the game feels like a game of RISK, just without the dice.
The basic concept of the game is that you are the allied commander in a collection of famous/semi-famous WW2 battles. Instead of using some kind of complicated 3D interface, the game uses what looks like the satellite image of a location, showing you the entire battlefield in a fairly small space. You are given a handful of units, all of which resemble RISK pieces but move like they are in Command and Conquer. Like RISK, the units represent a grouping of units (i.e. 600 tanks, 750 infantrymen) and are much stronger in numbers.
Movement in the game is all controlled by line drawing, meaning that you can easily flank enemy units by grabbing two or more units and drawing lines to either side. The line between RTS and board game really gets crossed in the battle sequences. Winning a battle (or the war for that matter) comes down to either killing all the units within or by demoralizing them. Troop morale is affected by all sorts of factors, including base fortifications (if you put infantry on a base, represented by a square, it gets a morale and defensive bonus), how many units you have backing it up, and how long it has been fighting. Once a unit is demoralized, it cannot fight any longer and must retreat so that it can regain some morale.
Because of the morale points, huge troop blocks can sometimes be defeated by much smaller units that are flanking. To make sure you win each battle, you have to make sure that you don’t get flanked and are not besieging a city. You also have to have clear retreat lines in case your unit is demoralized and can’t continue the fight. A demoralized unit in the thick of battle is the absolute worst thing that can happen because those troops are really just walking dead.
Winning each level requires you to either demoralize all the enemy troops, kill all the enemy troops, or a combination of both. Most of the levels provide a fairly tough challenge due to you being outnumbered, but by using smart troop movement and tactical flanking, all the levels are winnable.
As far as game length goes, Pocket World At War is fairly shallow with only 15 levels, but it does get hard enough at the end, so you probably won’t beat the game in a flash. There is no multiplayer added and only a handful of Game Center achievements, so once the game is over, it’s really over. For a dollar, though, the whole of Pocket World At War is certainly entertaining enough to be worthy of your time. It could use a few more levels and maybe some more varied unit types, but it is certainly worth buying if you are a fan of the genre (or genres). There is definitely a ton of strategy glory to be had here.
Tagged with: Pocket World At War, Prolific Games, RTS, strategy