Developer: Infinidy Corp.
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

US Warfare: First Encounter is the follow-up to the well received 2012 Zombies vs. Aliens. Like its predecessor it sports two modes, the US Army campaign and the alien campaign. Both sides play out very similarly, as each unit has its counterpart in the other side in terms of skill and cost; but there are some small differences. The Army can call upon a nurse unit that protects other soldiers around her, whilst the alien force have a unit that can turn human corpses into undead drones, for example.

The gameplay is mostly unchanged, with the exception of some minor alterations. Trenches have been replaced with “sandboxes” (sandbags) which provide some cover to two units, additional forces simply bypass them. Players can choose to unlock sandboxes which allows friendly units to pass over them, the idea being to gain ground quickly by sending out a wave of units. In addition, there are construction pads which allow both sides to build gun turrets or factories to produce more powerful units. The pads can be captured when a unit moves over them, so the trick is to keep units at the front line so that the enemy doesn’t take the pads back.

Successful strategies often involve rushing the opponent with low-cost gunners. Simply traversing the terrain and unlocking all of the sandboxes can help in winning most of the terrain over, while captured construction pads further up the field create a good offensive position, if the right turret is constructed. In later levels players will need to make use of construction pads away from the front line, in order to build airplane or tank factories. On the whole it is more complex than its predecessor, but still perfect for portable gaming sessions.

The game isn’t without its problems. Replay value is still fairly low as each individual mission is basically a variant of the last, whilst selecting individual units for a retreat can’t be done. Indeed, fortifying a sandbox with more than two units isn’t possible, which can lead to some unwanted deaths. Graphics are good, but it’s a shame that the over-the-top visuals of the previous game have been replaced with characters that look more realistic, but quite tame. Plus, spelling mistakes are everywhere which does cheapen the experience.

What US Warfare is great for is providing a light strategy experience that’s simple, clever and above all, fun. It’s not as fresh as the first time around and essentially it’s the same game as 2012 Zombies vs. Aliens with a different theme and some new moves. But it isn’t bad, either.

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