Thursday, June 10, 2010
2009/06/15 [iphone/CEL]  UniWar
Version Reviewed: 1.06
UniWar is a wargame-lite style TBS game like Advance Wars, with a heavy emphasis on base capturing and unit building. There are 3 playable races (Sapiens, Titans, Khraleans) with 8 fairly similar units per race - not a whole lot of strategic depth. Apparently the multiplayer is popular although from my single player experiences I can't see it being very balanced. First of all, each race has a specialized unit that can take control of an infantry unit from one of the opposing races, but not the other. This means certain race matchups clearly favor one race, presumably because the game is balanced around a 3 player free for all with each race, which seems like an odd choice. A quick browse of the official forums confirmed my suspicions that the game is far from balanced and the ladder is full of cheaters.
The 21 mission campaign is a mixed bag. On Hard mode the developers make up for the AIs weaknesses by giving it far more funds per turn than you, which means you'll often be swarmed by a large and aggressive enemy force. The difficulty is inconsistent, with a few missions like 4 and 19 being nastier than the rest, and a few of them being 5 minute easy. The 1.06 patch makes the campaign far more difficult than it was at launch, probably as an unintended side effect of multiplayer balancing or AI improvements.
Most of the mission strategies are fairly simple, involving massing one or two unit types or rushing to capture neutral factories, but you still need to have strong general tactics on top of that to get the upper hand. Almost every mission is completed by capturing all bases on the map, which can lead to some boring clean up duty when the doomed CPU refuses to give up. Also a minor annoyance is that you can't auto-skip the 5 second wait countdown after ending your turn (there is a button to skip it, but you have to press it every time). However I did like the UI's efficiency - touching a unit or hex is usually context sensitive, and the game auto-rests your units if you leave them unused. This means less endless menu touching and faster gaming.
The graphics are well done with good animations. The game looks clean and easy to read even with dozens of units on the screen at once. The music is forgettable and the sound effects are average. As for plot and characters? There literally isn't any besides endless hostility between the Terran, Protoss, and Zerg.. er.. you know what I mean.
If you want a quick portable tactics experience $3 is not a bad price for the 21 campaign maps.
Strategic Depth: Low. It's even an even simpler wargame-lite than Advance Wars.
Strategic Difficulty: Low to moderate. The 3 difficulty modes should appeal to most players.
Overall Score: 6/10. Above average.