The hallmark of the best strategy games is that you can’t just use the same approach to every situation. I tend to favor a horde of fast, cheap disposable minions which works in most games, but failed more often than not in this title. I came into Little Big War Game 2 with a lot of preconceived notions. As you may have noticed I play a lot of turn based strategy games. After the first few missions I started noticing that this game, which I had assumed would be an unremarkable entry in the hallows of gaming history was completely surpassing my expectations.
On the surface the game is one of a thousand cartoon war games. The troops look happy with round heads and vague features. The vehicles are blocky and reminiscent of toddler toys. You have an array of troops which are joined later by a variety of tanks and artillery, ships and helicopters. Blending RTS and turn based gameplay you have all the time in the world to order your forces about, but limited resources. The campaign is a series of sixty missions that will at times seriously challenge you. Movement and attacking is a simple “tap to do everything” interface. What makes this game stand out is the complex rock paper scissors nature of the gameplay. Every unit has strengths and weaknesses, so you will find yourself choosing troops based as much on what your enemy is building as the terrain and objective.
Rather than select units at the start you purchase more on your turn. Oil derricks are the de facto money generating building and must be seized by your engineers to produce for you. Most missions involve sending out a wave of defenseless engineers at the very beginning. Once you have enough resources you can build your army. Each of LBWG 2’s various troops and vehicles all do have different uses. Deadly accurate snipers, flamethrower tanks and helicopters bristling with bombs are just a few examples of the different options. Some chew through infantry while others excel at eliminating flying threats or cracking open armored vehicles. Each unit has its strength and by the end of the game you will likely have used each one extensively as depending on the situation and which units your enemy fields you will have to switch gears. If you churn out helicopters, they will make anti-aircraft tanks, which you could counter with rocket launcher wielding troops or standard tanks.
This game isn’t always a cakewalk. There were missions that took me a dozen attempts to complete. There are three different mission objectives: take out the enemy general, destroy the enemy headquarters or keep your own general alive for a set number of rounds.
The terrain is always carefully constructed to emphasize a certain type of battle. Sometimes powerful direct assaults are called for while other times it’s best to catch the enemy at a choke point while sending flanking forces. Despite only a few truly significant challenges the game was rigorous enough to be fun the whole way through.
The biggest flaw, and it’s a big one, is the complete and utter lack of replay value. After completing the campaign there is no incentive to keep playing. A multiplayer mode or custom battle mode would have significantly improved the game. While there were thankfully no in-app purchases, by the end of the game I wanted more and had no way of getting it.
Despite its short length the campaign was satisfying and the game presents a marvelous blend of strategy and mayhem. If they added a multiplayer component they’d have a number one title here, but the offering is nevertheless well worth your time.
A mix of tactical strategy and RTS resource management that will excite and challenge.