Great Little War Game is well, just that. A relatively new title for Android, it blends the immersive strategic gameplay of Command & Conquer with the abject humour and silliness of Worms. It contains beautifully rich 3D graphics, superb sound, at least 30 different missions and three gameplay modes. What more could you want? If you like games slick with humour and explosions, you will want to read on!
As in Worms, you take it in turns to blow the smithereens out of your enemy. To do this you select one of your units (of which there is tasty array of choice), move them into position, select an enemy and blast away. Okay, it’s perhaps not as instinctive as, say, a first person shooter, but it’s just as rewarding and will be familiar to fans of similar games. On each turn you collect money which can be turned into various units as the game progresses. You can then use these units to fight the baddies.
The environment comes into play too, as there are different levels of terrain. Get a sniper high up on a hill and he becomes a hugely powerful weapon indeed. This also affects your strategy; the terrain means you have to traverse the hills and dips in order to advance your troops, sometimes creating challenging bottle necks – you really have to think your way through this to your advantage.
Turn-based military strategy with a twist of humour
You have about 30 missions to complete in the main campaign, although there also other modes to get stuck into. Pass and Play lets you compete with a friend, and Skirmish mode lets you take on the AI enemy on a variety of different maps. ‘Variety’ is actually one of the better ways of describing Great Little War Game: it never becomes repetitive. Each mission is very different; from securing oil platforms to protecting a General for a set number of days, each mission will differ greatly from the last. Therefore the strategic element is vital here. Players are required to carefully think about their mission objectives and how best to achieve them.
Additionally there are four different difficult levels, so even if you breeze through the game like a Napoleonic Master-General, you can always up the ante and play at a more challenging level. The game has OpenFeint scoring with a tough 13 achievements to unlock, so there’s quite a challenge to be had in completing them all.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics are smooth, well-animated and incredibly polished, and look brilliant even on a smaller screen. The 3D environments span across land, sea and air, yet are all pixel-perfect and lush in detail. Your individual units each look superb, and even intimate skirmishes are deliciously animated.
The sound compliments this very well indeed. The soundtrack is a pomp militarised anthem, which reminded me slightly of another popular Android title, Fieldrunners. The music is supplemented by the kind of ridiculously gung-ho one-liners you get with games like Worms. There are explosions, grunts, splashes and plenty of dramatic last words, all creating a rich and thoroughly enjoyable gameplay environment.
Lush 3D environments
Great Little War Game is one of those hugely addictive titles that people can become obsessed with. So immersive is the gameplay, I found a ‘quick’ game frequently turned into hours of playing; great for gamers, bad for people with responsibilities! I think the turn-based element of the game might diminish this for some people, however, as there are the sections where you must wait around for the enemy to take their turn.
It’s not really a casual game either; while you can save a game at any time, missions can take a while and lots of turns to complete. Very similar then to the likes of Command & Conquer and other titles of yester-year which took quite a bit of playing to complete, and very many hours to finish the game. On that basis, some might be put off by the delay and time it takes, but the game rewards determination and patience so I definitely think it’s worthwhile.
Mission Winner! screen
There aren’t really any other titles in the Android Market that are overly similar to Great Little War Game. Rather, it simply seems there have been a number of subtle influences from all kinds of games from both inside and outside the Android ecology. For example, I note that a number of comments in the Market refer to the similarity the game has with Nintendo’s Advance War.
As mentioned, the 3D landscape/seascape and strategic elements are reminicient of the multi-platformed Command & Conquer, while the turn-based gameplay and humour is similar to that of Worms. Graphically, Great Little War Game is a similar, if not richer, experience to Fieldrunners, of which the sound also shares a common thematic. For the close-up explosions, it reminded me a little of iSink U, which is a kind of cool 3D ‘battleships’ port.
Gameplay zooms in for intimate conflicts
Arguably the game borrows many elements of all the titles listed above, yet by clearly upping the ante concerning strategy, missions and incredibly rich graphics, it is very much its own game. Great Little War Game could perhaps be seen to be standing on the shoulders of these giants, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The game really works, is highly playable and is buckets of gun-toting fun.
With all the missions and modes, it has huge longevity potential, definitely a game you could be playing for months to come. Perhaps it could be improved by including online play – playing against other people online would be incredible – but this is a minor quibble against a game that is by far one of the best available on the Android platform.