Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad Mini Retina
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Vietnam…’65 isn’t like a lot of other strategy games out there. It’s more like a board game if anything, with its turn-based movement being much more than just a way of slowing down combat. Channeling its PC roots, it’s a pretty lengthy game to play on the iPad, which could be a deciding factor on whether it suits your needs or not.
There’s no campaign mode to speak of which is a significant misfire. Instead, you dive into a randomly designed level each time, working towards unlocks and new ranks, rather than seeing a story unfold. Levels start to look quite similar after a time, with each stage easily taking over an hour to complete. Vietnam…’65 isn’t for those wanting a quick fix.
Vietnam…’65 isn’t just about combat either. Much like the actual war, there’s a big focus on the importance of your Hearts & Minds score, as well as keeping political points high. The latter enables you to buy new units and repair existing ones. It’s boosted by progress in a level otherwise, somewhat understandably, those back in Washington aren’t keen on what’s happening and want to restrict what you can buy.
The Hearts & Minds score is even more interesting, requiring you to keep the locals happy and on your side. This typically involves a lot of patrolling and back and forth between villages, all to keep people happy while you’re fighting the enemy. It turns into a lot of busywork but it does suggest a more true picture of what this war would have been like. Much like the real thing, there’s not much ‘glory’ to experience. Similarly, regular supply drops are vital for your troops, with transport helicopters as important as gunships here.
Is it fun? Kind of, but not in a way that you’d expect of a war game. It’s fairly easy to learn but the length of time you need to commit to it might prove a little off-putting for those more used to mobile experiences. Plus, the lack of a campaign mode means you'll always feel like you're dipping into just one detached level. With more of a focus on the less explosive side of war, Vietnam…’65 is certainly fairly different from the rest. For that it should be applauded, even if your sense of victory will be fleeting.