Developer: PAN Vision
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Armchair military commanders have spent generations staging their own mock invasions via board games like Risk and Axis & Allies. World War II has always been a favorite target of recreation, as the massive land battles, tricky sea skirmishes and daring air raids have been ample fodder for the would-be general. Now the experience makes its way to iOS via World In War, and the results are decidedly mixed. While hardcore strategy fans will likely attach to the title quickly, its fairly rudimentary combat and steep difficulty curve will turn off many other players.

World In War allows players to relive WWII from a number of positions, starting with Germany’s invasion of Poland and ending with the US campaign that winds down the war. The game operates under the most basic of rules in most missions, capture your enemy’s cities while defending your own base. It’s a simple idea, but incredibly difficult to execute, just as a game like this should be.

Combat in World In War is based on a rock, paper, scissors relationship between infantry, tanks and artillery. I won’t break down the intricacies here, but the general rule of thumb is he with the biggest army and most varied units normally wins. The basic combat is well-executed but also very dull, as most battles involve little more than an algorithm running in the background to determine a winner based on unit size and strength. The game’s presentation doesn’t do anything to spice up the experience, as battles are represented by a static screen with units being removed until one side or another wins. Even simple battle animations would have added quite a bit to the proceedings.

The game also offers a bit of naval warfare as well as strategies which can be used to turn the tide of battle, but both concepts are somewhat half-baked and don’t add that much to the game. Sea battles are the worst offenders, as there’s no way to pick what sort of naval unit you want to build so it really is just a matter of who has the most boats in the water.

The difficulty of World In War also ramps up extremely quickly, leaving all but the best strategists befuddled and overwhelmed early on. Oftentimes you’ll think you have the battle nearly one, only to be suddenly repelled by a massive enemy counterattack that leaves your forces decimated. And with no adjustable difficulty level some players may grow frustrated and quit.

World In War is a game with potential, but in its current iteration its appeal is largely limited. If future updates add some mission and unit variety, as well as adjustable difficulty then this will stand as a great app, but as is it still has a lot of ground to cover.

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