App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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I'll admit that, despite living, eating and breathing video games for over 25 years, I don't know everything about everything game-related. But I have played quite a few in that time. And to my knowledge, there's no bigger collection of "tap the button to create soldiers/units that run along a straight path to overwhelm the enemy" than there is on the App Store. It seems like this particular genre has seen something of a mini Renaissance on the platform. Super Wars adds another log on the fire, as it were, but it does things a little differently this time around by incorporating ideas from other genres into the familiar formula.
Make no mistake, the bulk of a player's time with Super Wars will be spent watching an "energy" count of sorts rise while tapping on icons at the bottom of the screen to generate soldiers and vehicles. Then watch them run to the opposite side of the field in a do-or-die attempt to reach the enemy's encampment and make it not there no more. Things diverge from the expected norm in-between bouts, when players are allowed to spend various resources earned through combat to construct and upgrade buildings in their base which can both unlock new units and make an army more effective.
The "action" phases look good. It's got a hybridized art style that sits somewhere between gritty and cartoony, and animates quite nicely (although a bit simply). However there's really nothing here that's going to knock the socks off of someone familiar with this kind of game. The "planning" phases (in the base) are what really set the game apart from the rest and will make genre veterans take a second look. Having these constructions and upgrades tied to resources earned through victory makes deciding what to build or improve a very tough choice at times. "Should I save up to boost my army's overall attack power, or start cranking out tanks?" Hmmm...
The problem with base construction, no matter how refreshing it might be in this particular over-populated market, is that it's a little too close to freemium. Special crystals can be used in lieu of resources, but they're hard to come by unless they're purchased with real money. But progress can be excruciatingly slow when doing it the frugal way. Especially considering the importance of victory and the lack of adequate opponents in the beginning. I mean, seriously, why can I only decide between a computer opponent that takes a while to beat, or the Top 50 (Top 50) players on the leaderboard who slaughter me in seconds?
Despite the occasionally glacial pace in the early stages, Super Wars makes for a pretty cool combination of ideas. It's a game that I'd definitely recommend to strategy buffs, so long as they aren't already burned out on horde-based defense games.