WarFriends review
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WarFriends review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on January 20th, 2017
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: JUST MISSED THE MARK
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This free-to-play multiplayer shooter is really fun, but it has a few dumb design choices that keep it from being truly amazing.

Developer: Chillingo Ltd

Price: Free
Version: 1.1.1
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Multiplayer shooters on mobile are hard to pull off, mainly because the complicated control schemes needed for them. WarFriends ditches the idea of making a typical shooter and instead creates a multiplayer game that's a hybrid between a cover-based shooter and Clash Royale. The result is a really fun set of mechanics and strategy that are unfortunately tainted by a frustrating free-to-play design.

Take cover

In WarFriends, two players face off on a battlefield with two sets of four cover points on either side. Players swipe to move their character between cover points and tap to shoot and try to kill their opponent.

While this is happening, players can also deploy other troops to help them out. These units can range from general infantry to tanks. The key to every battle is through careful battlefield management, both in terms of your abilities as a gunner and as a tactician.

Shooting strategy

The mix of real-time strategy and third-person shooting makes the battles in WarFriends feel really intense and satisfying. There's always something to consider in combat, even if you're reloading or waiting to deploy your next set of troops.

WarFriends layers on additional strategic components to its gameplay by having a wide variety of units and weapon types that players can purchase and upgrade using the currency they've earned in battle. This really allows players to create custom loadouts of weapons and troops to fit their play style and counter the strategies of others.

Arms race

I really like the level of strategy that WarFriends offers, but it's really hard to enjoy it for what it is because the amount of free-to-play mechanics layered on top of it. The game features dog tags that limit your ability to play the game, upgrades that take increasingly long amounts of time to apply to your weapons and troops, and powerful one-time use items that can really turn the tide of a battle.

Moreover, all in-game upgrades and items are available for purchase, and can make it so you can buy your way to easy wins. This ends up making WarFriends feel a lot more like a pay-to-win experience than particularly strategic.

The bottom line

The base mechanics of cover-shooting and troop deployment in WarFriends are super fun and satisfying, but they fall apart since the game allows players to purchase significant advantages over others. The design of WarFriends's free-to-play trappings may not be particularly new, or even egregious, but these concepts still do a lot to keep the game from feeling like the amazing game it could have been.

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