Published on May 25th, 2012 | by Peter Vandberg1
Great Big War Game Review
A surprisingly big little game.
The aptly titled Great Big War Game proves that deep strategy and engaging gameplay can fit into a few dozen megabytes and less than five inches of display.
A turn-based strategy created by UK-based Rubicon Development, GBWG puts you in command of an army of diverse land, air, and sea units, each with its unique strengths and abilities. Rubicon made good use of the old paper-rock-scissors principle, and came up with a deep, refined gameplay, without making the game too complicated. This is a mobile title after all.
Like its 2011 predecessor, Great Little War Game, GBWG doesn’t take itself too seriously. The graphics are lighthearted, the characters cartoonish, with oversized heads and ridiculous personas. The central character of the story is the generalissimo, a hapless commander that tries to impress Candy, an equally hapless junior officer. The simple, yet hilarious story is mostly conveyed through cut-scenes between campaign missions. While the storyline is anything but deep, it does tie the game together, and it’ll make you laugh from time to time.
The campaign mode in Great Big War Game offers no less than 50 missions, enough to keep you busy for more than forty hours. That’s an amazing proposition for any game, and especially for a mobile title that costs $2.99.
In most missions, you will have to destroy the enemy command center, but you will also be tasked with protecting your general, securing an objective, assassinating an enemy officer, or acquiring resources. Overall, there’s enough variety to keep you glued to your device.
For instance, in one of the early missions, you will have to protect your general against an enemy hit squad. Unless you lay down landmines with your Technicians and capture a rocket launcher with an Engineer, you will fail the mission, time and again. In another one, you will have to land on a fortified beach, D-Day style, which requires quite a bit of planning. If you just rush ahead with a few units, you’ll fall victim to enemy snipers and artillery. To succeed, you’ll need to stage a coordinated landing, using Ferries and a combination of infantry and tanks.
Great Big War Game is never boring, thanks to clever elements such as the fog of war (Scouts are a must), limited fuel and ammo (keep those supply trucks close) and structure capturing. In fact, one of the most important units in the game is the Engineer, that lets you steal enemy buildings, including the crucial money-making Oil Rigs.
In addition to the campaign, GBWG offers a Skirmish mode, a Pass and Play mode (two players on the same device), and online multiplayer. The multiplayer is asynchronous, meaning that you and your opponent will take turns to make your moves. You will be notified when it’s your turn, so you won’t have to wait endlessly staring at a loading screen. The skirmish and multiplayer modes pack even more value in an already excellent game.
In terms of looks, GBWG is adequate, although not impressive. The cartoonish graphics are a bit repetitive, but they suit the game’s humorous vibe in a charming way. I had a few problems with the rendering on my Galaxy S II – from time to time, some black stripes appeared over the landscape, which was annoying but not a deal breaker. I also experienced freezes and crashes quite frequently, especially when loading games. Another nit that I have to pick is about the connection to the game servers, which was spotty for me, for some reason. The sound effects and music are OK, but, like the graphics, repetitive, and after a while, you might find the soundtrack a bit tiring.
To wrap up, I would say that Rubicon didn’t exaggerate when they named their latest creation Great Big War Game. GBWG is an excellent strategy game, that even rivals PC and console titles in terms of depth and gameplay. The technical problems and some minor gameplay issues affect the overall experience, but I think that most players will be happy to put up with them. Bottom line, regardless if you are a hardcore strategy fanatic or just looking to pass some time, you will find something to love in Great Big War Game.
Is it Hardcore?
Summary: A few technical glitches aside, Great Big War Game's huge campaign provides many hours of engaging gameplay, while online multiplayer adds to the replay value.