A World War Two themed RTS for Android, Warpath comes to us from Lilith Games, the publishers of Rise of Kingdoms and AFK Arena. A middle of the road RTS, its admittedly high production values aren’t enough to inspire much genuine passion.
Warpath takes place in an alternate 1941 where everything is the same but without the Nazis. Instead, the antagonists are a group known as Raven, who I assume are evil but we don’t learn too much about them. I have no idea why the villains aren’t just Nazis. Presumably, they wanted to avoid showing swastikas, but other games have found ways to do that without completely rewriting history. I wouldn’t complain as much if Raven was the least bit interesting. Instead, all we get is a nebulously evil organization with a corny name and no real ideology or motivations.
The weird part is that the game has lots of other nods to real history. This isn’t like Valkyria Chronicles, where it a full-on fantasy world. General Eisenhower is in the game and England’s King George VI is mentioned by name. All of the weapons and vehicles have strictly accurate appearances and descriptions. There are even quotes from historical figures sprinkled around as flavor text. This is the kind of attention to detail I usually love to find in historical games, but here it just makes the ahistorical bits even stranger.
As with many real-time strategy games, the player’s efforts are divided between combat and base building. Unfortunately, this is the lazy kind of base building where there’s really only one development path. The game tells you when and where to build and upgrade structures which you can’t deviate from. The limited construction options also restrict how many units you can field at once, further limiting your tactical options.
The base itself exists in a large open world littered with enemies and resources. Only your immediate surroundings are visible at the start, so you’ll need to send out scout planes to reveal the rest. Other player’s bases are scattered around can be attacked or allied with, though there are only limited benefits to either. Alliance members benefit from shared perks but PVP is only good for the sake of blowing something up. But if that’s all you want there are plenty of Raven troops running around the same overworld. Since killing them actually nets usable resources, there isn’t much point in attacking other players.
Combat plays out on a hex-based grid. It’s unusual for an RTS but doesn’t affect the gameplay much. I might not even have noticed if the grid wasn’t visible as part of the interface. Overall, the controls are straightforward. Click a unit to select it, then click an enemy or location to move or attack. You can also click and drag to issue orders. My only complaint is that while there is a button to select all units, there’s no command to select groups of units. That might not sound like a big deal, but it turns any strategy more complicated than, “Everybody kill that guy.” into a micromanagement nightmare.
The Path for War
I much preferred the campaign missions to the various open-world activities. Attacking solitary enemy units so you can steal their pile of boards does not make for ultra-exciting gameplay. At least in the campaign, enemy units react when their friends are under fire. Plus, the custom maps were much more visually interesting that the vast flat plane that was the overworld.
The missions offer a reasonable amount of variety, although only a few stand out as memorable. They also rely much too heavily on scripted events. For example, there is one mission relatively early where you defend a dam from advancing enemy forces. There are three rows of bunkers and three enemy waves. Regardless of how well you are doing, the first two lines of defense are always destroyed at the beginning of the next wave. The whole thing feels very artificial, which is a problem with pretty much every aspect of the game. I never felt like I was getting to make enough meaningful tactical decisions.
Warpath is hardly the worst Android RTS out there. However, I still had a lot of trouble getting into the game. There are just too many restrictions to have an engaging strategy experience. Ultimately, Warpath is simply not interesting enough to give more than a lukewarm endorsement.
Is it Hardcore?
While playable, Warpath offers a very restrictive strategy experience not helped by an unengaging narrative.