There are a multitude of war games available with most having a similar idea of throwing you right into the battle. This War of Mine goes in a different direction to show the other side of war in the fight for survival as just a citizen of a war torn city. It’s a survival adventure game in which you guide a group of civilians trying to live in an abandoned building during the day while scavenging for any goods they can find at night. This War of Mine revolves around a consistent day/night cycle to deliver two unique gameplay types to play through with a crafting system at day, and a stealth adventure at night.
The emphasis on This War of Mine is the theme and setting which puts the player in the shoes of the survivors. Everything is designed around creating an immersive experience, and the developers have succeeded. This truly is a fight for survival, and situations unfold to really play on your psyche to bring you down as this isn’t a “fun” game. This War of Mine is an experience that greatly depicts such trying circumstances in which each meal is a struggle and making it through the night is an achievement all while set in real world circumstances. The game doesn’t need to rely on fantasy elements to make it a challenge to survive, and there are numerous avenues to explore to help your survivors.
The night cycle is the most intense part of the game with new locations appearing every night to explore. You can aim for easy abandoned places, or aim for sniper regions, heavily armed hideouts, or a mix that requires a different strategy to scavenge for goods. Finding basic stuff is easy enough, but truly going into these places shrouded in darkness with potential enemies abounding can be intense. During the day, resources are limited so you have to decide which items to craft while gaining knowledge of your inventory to give you a focus on what to collect at night. You also need to oversee the well being of your survivors to make sure they eat and sleep even with the active day/night cycle so one member is always out to scavenge or guard the hideout.
The core game builds upon itself giving you greater items to craft during the day and more varied areas to search through at night. This War of Mine goes beyond gameplay as many survival decisions include moral ramifications. The psyche of the survivors is impacted based on what you have them do, from stealing from an elderly couple for much needed resources, or determining if a survivor lives. All of the action is depicted with a charcoal sketch style that fits the theme nicely, and further establishes the dour tone to everything. You will never excel, or feel in a good position and it can start to drag day to day while barely getting by. This is by design to fit the narrative that living through war is hell even when not being in the direct line of fire.
This War of Mine ($9.99, iPad) creates an immersive survival journey that is a must have experience on the iPad.