Iron Wars: iPhone’s Battle of the Balls

Price: $.99     Score: 8/10     By M. SchustermanIron Wars - AppMania

Two things make or break a good old-fashioned blowing-stuff-up game for me; controls and an actual understanding of the purpose of the game. In the case of Iron Wars, the latter is great while the former is a bit lacking.

Designed by AppMania, this game is “an exciting battle between fabulous iron balls,” a description which I could not love much more. After a bout of immature giggling, I opened Iron Wars. It’s definitely got the futuristic look, cool graphics and “ready to rumble” music thing going, which I appreciate. I tapped “Campaign” and then “Tutor,” reading through all of the instructions carefully.

Joystick on the bottom left, tap bottom right to shoot. Easy enough. The “Mission” window informed me that this was a “DeathMatch,” that I had two enemies, and that the “Victory Conditions” mandated five frags.

First off, the levels look fantastic. You’ve got an overhead view, but there’s dimension – I fell down into a pit and thought I was trapped until noticing the stairs. The sort of 3D feel makes it more interesting, particularly when you’ve got to shoot stuff.

The joystick works great; rolling your ball around is easy. (Yup, I’m milking that joke for all it’s worth.) But I initially had an issue with shooting. There’s ammunition to pick up and other weapons to use, but since I started off armed with a gun I naturally tried it out first. There’s a laser coming from the ball so you can see where you’re aiming, but it’s so skinny it gets lost in all the other graphics. Same goes for the bullets; tiny and white (I’m not kidding), they blended in with the background so much that I thought I was shooting blanks. But when you get a hold of the other weapons it’s easier to see, although the laser is still super thin.

There are multi-player options, 32 levels and three different game types, so you get a lot of bang for your buck with this one. While I do wish it was a little easier to see where the ball is aiming, the game is overall well-designed, in particular the depth of the levels.

Iron Wars [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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