Price: FREE ($2.99 to unlock the full game)
Version Reviewed: 1.7
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini 2
Replay Value Rating:
Imagine the unimaginable: what if Germany had made it to US shores during WWII? This scary thought is encapsulated in the theoretical Timelines: Assault On America.
The gameplay offers two options: Campaign and Multiplayer. Multiplayer is just that, and requires Gamecenter access to facilitate player-versus-AI or player-versus-player. Campaign shows the game's military leanings adequately; it starts out with several missions, and the player's Gamecenter account registers rank and other sundries. Of course one starts out as a Private, and a general synopsis of the current mission is presented.
Most of the initial level is a comprehensive tutorial in that it walks the player through basic gameplay and pretty much outlines goals and such. The basic premise can be likened to dual tower offense and defense, with military units being the main pieces. The walkthrough shows one how to use resources to build units and war machines that are needed to capture territories and to defend occupied areas. The units are diverse; soldiers can be specialized, with snipers to medics and specialists in between - each with different attributes. The same goes for weaponry and vehicles. There are tons of different period tanks, for instance, with different attributes and costs. The developer tosses in repair vehicles and transport trucks too, giving the game a realistic bent.
A key aspect is the ability to move pieces to attack, make land progress, and/or thwart enemy incursions. Doing so can be handled in a few ways, but the enemy rarely sits back and the constant back-and-forth is what makes the game compelling. The elements blend well together, like the need for a command unit to call in an air strike. Brute force isn't always the answer, and strategy is a huge element here. The game actually portends to be "smart" in the way it adjusts difficulty, and that is pretty phenomenal.
Ah... Timelines is complex. It does take a bit for it to all sink in. There are so many subtle aspects, like the need to unhitch artillery from trucks or the ability to put tanks into aggressive mode. There are a lot of gameplay pieces to put together, but that inherent challenge isn't necessarily off-putting. When the excellent sound and graphics are tossed in, it is quite the potent experience.
I'd be remiss if I pretended to not be infuriated by the crashes, though. The game sucked me in a few times, only to break my heart. Hopefully this gets fixed soon; one can save frequently, but trust me, Timelines' engagement factor might preclude that. There are a few touch-related bugs as well, and I wasn't too happy about the touch controls due to the perspective.
In the end, Timelines: Assault On America is a fun game with plenty of play therein, and definitely worth a look.