Developer: Republic of Fun
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_0442Slug wars is a super-simple real time strategy game that “reveals” the true nature of the slugs in your backyard. It’s entertaining, but only for so long—the lack of a mid-level save and the ease of winning take away from an otherwise amusing game.

Slug Wars is an RTS in the simplest sense. On the left is your opponent’s “base,” while yours is one the right. If three enemy slugs make it to either base, that player loses. There are three lanes of travel, so you’ll need to defend them all to keep safe. Also, your slugs can’t leapfrog over each other (well, except for the airborne unit), so the game boils down to queuing up slugs in three different lines.

As for the slugs themselves, there’s more to them than just a bunch of slimy creatures. As you progress through the main mode, more and more types are unlocked. In addition to your standard soldier, you have long-ranged, slow moving slugs; suicidal slugs that leave deadly piles of salt on the path; speedy slugs; and even an airborne unit that can be lifted to the front of your line, to name a few. Each unit type costs a set number of credits, which are earned by gathering flowers that sprout from your enemies’ corpses. Yeah…I don’t know about that, either, but suffice to say that there’s a decent array of slug types.

While I can’t knock Slug Wars for its humor (great!) or the variety of slugs, it quickly becomes apparent that this is a very shallow game. Each battle plays out mostly the same, with little strategy necessary. I’m not sure if it’s because the enemy AI is lacking or something else, but victory seems inevitable if you’re willing to watch the slugs trudge across the screen for long enough. It doesn’t make much sense, especially since your opponent always has the same resources as you do. As long as you keep the enemy occupied on two lines, you can pour all your resources onto one path and simply overwhelm a single point in order to win. Without the need for a complex strategy, Slug Wars doesn’t really work as an RTS. Once you beat a few levels, it becomes clear that you’ve seen all there is to see.

As for the graphics and sound effects, Slug Wars does a decent job. The graphics look great in still images, though the animations seem a bit choppy. The sound effects are fine—listening to slugs yell “Yargh!” is entertaining—but it gets old, and I want the ability to play my own music. The build quality is also good; I experience no crashes and no errors. The inclusion of local multiplayer is also a huge plus. But there’s no ability to save mid-level—I expect auto-save in all of my games, and its absence is extremely disappointing.

Slug Wars is a simple, casual RTS with a lot of promise, but ultimately the cute and silly slugs recede and you’re looking at a repetitive, shallow experience. If you want an easy introduction to the genre, well, this might be a good choice. Otherwise, I have to advise you to look elsewhere. Slug Wars just isn’t complex enough to hold my attention for more than a few play-throughs.

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