Version Reviewed: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
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Due to hardware limitations that eventually gave way to time limitations, I was never able to dip more than a toe into This War of Mine’s murky waters. Just enough to know it’s not the sort of thing you play if you want to feel happy. That’s changed now that I can play it on the iPad.
I was right: it’s not happy. But it is impressive.
Unlike most other war-themed games out there (on any platform), This War of Mine covers the horrors of mass conflict from the perspective of the civilians who spend their days cowering in abandoned houses - or get caught in the crossfire. It’s about as pleasant as “Grave of the Fireflies.” But that’s what makes it so compelling.
At first you’re given control over a trio of survivors who have holed up in a large, ruined estate that provides a tiny bit of shelter. You’ll have to scavenge the place for materials and supplies and start crafting things like crude stoves, beds, and heaters. But daylight is limited, and once the sun goes down someone will need to go out and scavenge for more supplies in the nearby buildings.
Scavenging is no walk in the park either, and with equally desperate survivors (and well-armed soldiers) on the prowl you might have to resort to doing things you’d rather not resort to doing. What’s more, your own group of survivors won’t take the news of such exploits very well and may have trouble facing up to what they were a part of. And this is to say nothing of how badly they react if you end up killing anyone. It’s things like this, being able to have one survivor console another when they get upset, and learning that someone was up all night sobbing because they killed someone in order to survive that have really stuck with me.
Describing the controls will break the mood a bit, but I honestly can’t think of a way to do it that won’t so please bear with me. Moving around and interacting with things via the touch screen works very well, and in my opinion it even trumps the mouse and keyboard controls of the PC/Mac version. It’s a little bothersome that the camera won’t snap to a survivor once they’ve completed a task like unblocking rubble or building something (especially when trying to multitask and make the most of the waning light), but you can always tap on their portrait for a similar effect.
If you’ve already played This War of Mine on PC there isn’t much reason for you to do so again on the iPad, but the portability is nice. If you haven’t played it at all, you should really consider doing so. I won’t promise that you’ll enjoy yourself, but it will definitely stick with you long after you turn it off.