Mech games are a dime a dozen these days. Mech Assault and Chrome Hounds come to recent memory when reminiscing of recent releases, as does Armored Core. War World attempts to take elements from multiple Mech franchises and distill them into one $10 arcade game. Does it succeed? Read on to find out.
Mechs have an awful life. It seems as if they were doomed to explode, and suffer from countless salvos of missile fire. Sometimes, you’ll run into a completely inefficient enemy Mech, and breathe a sigh of relief; not only is your foe slow, but he lacks the proper weaponry to best your metallic hide. This is a scene from War World. Out of the 10 Mechs you can choose from, a handful are not worth playing.
A few in particular that come to mind is the model that is so large and bulky it cannot boost, it cannot jump, and has one weapon available to fire. Another is a medium Mech that can boost, but still only has one weapon in his repertoire. Their exact counterparts put them to shame; the large Mech’s doppelganger has 4 weapons, and the medium Mech’s evil (or good) twin can cloak. Why did the developers choose this design scheme? The world may never know, but it severely limits your choices as a gamer.
As soon as you jump into the menus of War World, you might feel under whelmed at the lack of game modes. There’s a single player arcade mode, a single player bot mode, and 4 online Multiplayer modes. Playing with bots can be fun, and the fact that the game allows 15 (!) AI opponents to be in at once is very refreshing. Plus, the Arcade mode is actually 100 levels, spanned over 10 unique locations. While it may seem repetitive at first, Arcade mode will force you to experience all the Mechs in the game randomly, and put you up against opponents that are perfect counters, making for an interesting experience.
However, no inclusion of split-screen is a real shame for a Mech game like this; some of the best times in Mech Assault were spent blasting away at explosive buildings and enemy armor-suits. You’ll have to take what you get, and what you get is online-only multi-player.
Jumping into the gameplay, War World will immediately remind you of Virtua On. War World’s “boost” movement system is very engaging, but it’s powerup system is not. The Mechs can have any combination of mortar weapons, arm weapons, and missle weapons, but no melee. This is especially frustrating when you completely run out of ammo. You’re a Mech! Bash his face in! While screaming this mantra at the screen, you’ll be hunting for power ups, sometimes in all the wrong places. Depending on your Mech, you may only have one weapon, and that weapon may have a very short maximum capacity of bullets, forcing you to constantly search for more. I would have preferred a higher ammo count, or gone with what Mech Asssault did; unlimited ammo, and the power ups make your weapons better instead of simply replenishing your supply.
Another thing the game could have benefited from is customizable controls. I feel like a lot of the time I’m fighting with the basic control schemes, particularly the jump button being in inopportunely placed. Also a lot of times I used a gamer technique known as “the claw”, where my hand was wretchedly twisted and turned in order to simultaneously fire all 3 weapons whilst jumping and boosting. Phew!
Levels included in War Worlds range from Jungle ruins, to City locales, to Industrial factories. All 10 unique playable levels are very detailed, especially if you have a light jumping Mech and are able to hop on top of the structures. Each Mech chosen by the player makes the level feel completely different. The heavy Mechs will not be able to duck under some low ceilings, or jump to hidden areas. War World makes you want to try out all of your options before you settle in on just one type.
War World’s visuals aren’t the greatest for the Xbox Live Arcade, but they’re by no means unplayable. One of the unfortunate effects of compressing this game into an unbelievably small file size (142 MB) is that you will get frame skipping every once in a while, especially when the smaller Mechs boost.
Despite War World’s problems, this title is ultimately entertaining. The game shines in terms of its accessibility and level design. 100 Arcade levels and 15 AI bots are enough to keep you coming back for a little while, even if Arcade-mode gets repetitive. If War World tweaked its Mech design, it would be a much stronger game overall. Here’s hoping to War World 2.
The locales look decent, and have a great amount of detail, but none of them are particularly inspired. The framerate tends to skip, especially when dealing with the light Mechs.
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The Mechs are not particularly balanced; there are some horrid options. Also, powerup system seems arbitrary, and there isn’t much diversity in terms of weapons.
The music is great, even epic at times, but the sounds aren’t out of the ordinary
There are only 4 modes to play in multi-player, and only 2 to play offline. No split-screen severely hurts this game’s replay value.
War World is a decent mech game considering its price. Although you will get bored before finishing all 100 arcade levels, there are 2 AI bot modes that will hold you over for a little while.