Developer: Joseph Neuman
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

They say that war is hell, but at least in Watercolor War hell will be brightly colored with gentle hues that make you forget about all the gunshots and explosions going on all around you. The turret shooter doesn’t provide any particularly memorable or addictive gameplay, but it’s pretty enough that those looking for a top-down adventure may be willing to give it a try.

The basics of the game are as straightforward as they come; enemies at the top of the screen drop towards the bottom, and the player must blast them out of the sky to prevent the baddies from reaching their base. There are two basic types of foes: helicopters and supply planes, with the supply planes dropping paratroopers and tanks to further clutter up the screen. In later levels, players will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of foes, but that’s okay because the game isn’t over if an enemy reaches the bottom of the screen. Rather, foes who survive the first wave will be bumped into a second combat screen (played horizontally), where players will have one last chance to defend their base from the onslaught.

Aside from the campaign, Watercolor War also features a survival mode as well as a couple of unlockable minigames. No single component of the title will likely hold your attention for long, but together they make up a nice little package that can easily keep you entertained for a week or so. Furthermore, Open Feint support provides reason to replay challenges and to try and achieve high scores.

Controlling the game is as simple as touching the screen where you want to shoot and moving your finger around to direct your volley. Bullets will continue erupting from your turret so long as you hold your finger to the screen, so lazy gamers can just swipe back and forth until everything is left in a fiery wreck. Unfortunately for those folks, the game does take accuracy into account when scoring and grading each stage, so the spray n’ pray method may not be the best approach. The controls work pretty well but there can be a touch of lag as the turret follows your finger around the screen. This is likely done by design so the game feels a bit more challenging, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying when you need to redirect your fire in a hurry but can’t whip the turret around in time.

As mentioned before, the real draw to Watercolor War is the art style and the colorful visuals. Each stage truly looks like a watercolor drawing, lending the title a unique aesthetic and a lot of charm. The art isn’t so intricate that it will win any awards, but it still looks very nice and stands as a nice departure from the browns and grays that normally inhabit war games.

If you don’t mind the somewhat generic gameplay, then Watercolor War is a pretty solid little title. This isn’t a killer app, but it’s not half bad either.

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