Developer: Pangea
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

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

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

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_0410I never thought that missiles could look so pretty! Warheads is the latest release from Pangea, makers of Enigmo and Cro-Mag Rally, and it somehow manages to turn a Missile Command clone into an awesome display of fireworks. It’s a fun game, but sadly, lag and the lack of online leaderboards pull Warheads down.

Warheads is more or less a Missile Command clone. The screen is divided into four sectors, each of which has three rocket launchers and six buildings. You manage one sector at a time, switching between sectors for each wave. The enemy missiles (as well as occasional powerups) fall from the sky, and your job is to keep them from destroying all of the buildings in the sector. To do so, you simply tap anywhere on the screen, and the nearest rocket launcher will fire a rocket to that area. Watching your rockets blow up missiles and powerups is undoubtedly the best part: the resulting explosions have a distinct fireworks-like quality.

The missiles come in waves, and each wave brings increasing intensity. Though powerups like extra ammo will help, defeat is still inevitable, and towards the end things escalate into a fast-paced maelstrom of missiles. The challenge lies in seeing how long you can survive for. Unfortunately, there are no online leaderboards, only local ones, so you’ll be competing…with yourself. No achievements or global high score boards really take away from the replay value. Warheads is practically begging for online leaderboards, and it’s a real shame that they aren’t present.

IMG_0405However, before we see leaderboards, I’d like to get some of the technical issues fixed. All too often, I feel like I died because of the game’s flaws rather than my own lack of skill. For example, if you get a pop-up notification (a text message, battery drain warning, or any other push notification), the gameplay doesn’t pause. That leaves you with missiles raining down on your buildings while a push notification stands between you and the game. Also, as time goes on, the lag increases exponentially. By the twentieth wave, my second-generation iPod Touch was struggling to respond to my taps as well as display the brilliant explosions in a timely manner, and the result was a lag-tastic experience…and this was with “Reduce Effects” on. Even 3GS users have reported having problems. I appreciate the explosive graphics, but if the iPhone/iPod can’t handle them, Pangea should have left them out.

Oh, and did I mention? There’s no auto-resume feature, so if you close the app…well, that’s too bad, isn’t it? Auto-resume really ought to be a standard, regardless of the app, and I can’t believe that Pangea left it out. Additionally, when I hit “pause,” I’ve found that resuming often gives me a frozen screen. When I hit “pause,” I don’t want to be paused forever! It’s not a one-time bug, either; it happens about 50% of the time. Additional bug testing would have gone a long way towards making Warheads a better game. As I’m running a second-gen iPod Touch with the latest firmware, my device isn’t an unusual one.

These issues are a shame, because Warheads shines everywhere else. The quaking camera and explosive graphics make it a real treat for the eyes, and the chaotic gameplay is very fun, as well. Even the audio is great—subtle, dramatic music coupled with good sound effects. Sadly, though, the technical issues along with the lack of replay value keep Warheads from its full potential. While it’s a fun game even with these issues, I still recommend waiting for an update.

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