Some game titles attempt to be snappy catchphrases that will be easy to remember. Others are awkwardly spelled to catch onto a terrible marketing craze (I’m looking at you, Petz). Still others merely want to spell out what players should expect during the hours to come. The new mobile release Great Big War Game does just that, and thankfully, its developer Rubicon has indeed made a great offering.
GBWG is a strategy title in the vein of Advance Wars, but this game adopts a much more cartoonish style. Players command Officer Jenkins and his army as he combats the unnamed enemy – but they must be bad with their red hue while your team fights in blue – through 50 scenarios. Each stage will offer a different objective, such as capturing or destroying an enemy base, surviving for a specified number of days/turns or decimating all of the enemy units.
The campaign is a fantastic wealth of content, and some of the missions can last for quite a while, so don’t expect to blow through the game in the few minutes before a film. Players command land, sea and air units, as well as bases to produce more of each type. It’s a standard practice but there’s a varied set of units that allow for players to adapt to their strengths and discover how best to complete each mission.
The multitude of unit types comes into play at different points throughout the campaign, and are gradually introduced to layer on the complexity. Though a certain amount of units are provided at the onset of each mission, it really is up to the player to choose how to adapt to each landscape. Every once in a while a mission comes along where there appears to be little wiggle room in terms of options. On these occasions I felt more like I was finding what the game wanted me to do instead of discovering my own plan of action.
To add to the need for forward thinking, oil platforms are scattered throughout levels that supply the player with money to buy more units. Engineers can be the most important units in a player’s stable – they can turn a neutral or enemy oil derrick into a player’s possession for a little extra coin. They can also do the same for buildings from which units spawn, but without an attack option, engineers can be gone in a flash.
When players can attack, however, units can be directed in a hexagonal pattern, but moving around every level takes a little more finesse. Navigating the fog of war without scouts to clear the path can be tricky, but the difficulty curve never feels overwhelming. GBWG does a fantastic job of introducing players to the genre while also servicing those with plenty of experience.
Part of the appealing manner is the game’s sense of humor. All of the characters in GBWG are big-headed combatants with hats covering their eyes, and the extremely basic story is told during cutscenes between each match. From the General yelling at Jenkins for interrupting him during “pants hour” to the general being named the “Generalissimo” on the battlefield, GBWG carries a sense of humor that entertains in the midst of absorbing gameplay.
Unfortunately, what is less engrossing is the game’s aesthetics. The characters’ disproportional heads are amusing enough, but the worlds of each level begin to blend together, and they are not that thrilling to look at as it is. The forests and snow-covered plains can only allow for so much diversity. Luckily the gameplay moves quickly enough that players will likely be more focused on their units than the battlefield.
Great Big War Game may not revolutionize the genre or push the limits of iOS gaming, but it does offer a ton of refined and enjoyable content. In addition to the 50 missions, players can take on AI combatants in an all out battle to the death. GBWG includes a pass and play mode as well as an online multiplayer offering if players want to prove their worth against actual opponents.
Here’s the Rundown:
+ Enough content to keep you busy for hours and hours
+ Varied unit set to work with
+ Great sense of humor
- Some levels don’t offer total freedom in strategy
- Mundane battlefields become tired after many levels
- Solid game, but don’t expect a radical addition to the genre
8 and 8.5 represent a game that is a good experience overall. While there may be some issues that prevent it from being fantastic, these scores are for games that you feel would easily be worth a purchase.
Great Big War Game was developed by Rubicon Mobile. It was released on July 18, 2012 for $2.99. A copy was provided to RipTen for the purposes of review.