Review Warfare Incorporated from Handmark (Palm and PocketPC)

by Reads (5,642)

Warfare Inc. is one of the must own games for PDA gamers. There s no doubt about it, this is one of the best games I ve ever played. I don t need some sort of fancy test to prove this statement. If you saw me during the month I played this game, you would know I was hooked.

Warfare is a real time strategy game, much like Age of Empires. Warfare is distinctly more battle related though, as the title might imply. The point of the game is very simple. Mine the local area for materials that translate into money. Use your money to buy an army. Destroy everything.

Warfare has a nice back story about companies competing for the control of Icarus, a newly discovered planet. Icarus is a mineral rich planet with alien artifacts that will enable the one who controls the planet to have immeasurable power. In the story mode, you start out as a young minor working your way up through ACME Corporation via 11 missions.  There is also a challenge mode that is scenario based, providing 6 missions.

Before you even get into the game, there are a ton of options the user may set. Warfare has done an excellent job to let users pare back functionality for older PDAs, or let it all rip for the high end. I ran all features maxed out on my UX50 and had no lag problems in the story missions and only occasionally in the challenge missions which are much more unit intense. I also tested on an Axim X5 with the same results.

The story mode is my favorite, as you really get into the flow of the game. You start out with a few easy missions to get you used to the game and what it takes to win. Warfare also offers three levels of difficulty from simple to extremely difficult. I played the entire game in the normal mode which I found to be a formidable challenge. Some missions took many attempts to complete; rarely did I complete one on the first try.


320 x 320 resolution


240 x 320 resolution

Warfare does an excellent job with what it has to work with in a PDA. The maps only use two main styles, but there are enough variants to keep them interesting. To compensate for the small screen, Warfare uses a box in the corner to let you scroll over the entire map. Maps are larger than I expected for a PDA and provide very nice detail. My only complaint about the maps is that sometimes men get lost in mineral fields. Depending on the color of the man they have a tendency to blend in with the minerals. Not really a big deal, just be aware of potential stragglers.

As you progress through the game, more units, buildings and technologies become available. There are 11 buildings and unit types in all, along with a few research options. For a game of this stature I find the unit and building counts to be adequate, but I was left longing for more research options. In other games like this you might expect to upgrade mining ability, weapons and defenses for your units. In this case those options are not available. In effect you have identical units fighting each other, so it s important to create a balanced attack force.


320 x 320 resolution


240 x 320 resolution

The game has a high unit count, so I rarely found myself hitting the ceiling with my army. The mix of units is strong; there are enough options with both motorized and walking units. With games like this there are always concerns about units getting bunched up together and the artificial intelligence (AI) when you cannot command everyone at once. I did find a few times when units got bunched, but not enough to detract from the game. Another small problem is that when grouped, all units move at the pace of the slowest group member, so very fast units plod along at the same speed as foot troops. In the future I would like to be able to make groups of units in addition to the ability to select al units of a given type. I think these options would make troops much easier to manage. The AI for units not actively being controlled is pretty good. The only issue I had was that sometimes units would go off chasing the enemy, only to get slaughtered. It would be nice to be able to set a stance for the units, like defend, attack, etc.

As you progress through each level, another bit of the story is revealed, along with a promotion. The promotions don t really do anything, so don t get excited. The missions are not repetitive though. Each one has a unique flair. Included are missions to destroy, defend, partner and there are even a few lone wolf missions. I was continually impressed with the variety that Warfare provided.

Some of the missions can be long though, I know I spent well over half on hour on some of them. Thankfully, Warfare lets you save at any point in the game. You may also start any of the story missions at any point, so there s no need to unlock new missions by completing the ones prior. The door has been left open to offer expansion packs or new missions, although I ve not heard plans to this effect from Handmark.

Once I completed the story missions, I tried out the 6 challenge missions. These are not entirely unlike the story missions; they re just not tied together and are a little more action intense. The more the merrier in my book. There were a few new twists in the challenge missions and perhaps a bit more difficulty.

Game sounds are excellent quality, but can get repetitive over time. I wish there was a way to stop the units from responding to every order, I suspect that may be a future enhancement.

I m such a huge fan of this game, there s not a whole lot I d change other than what s been noted thus far. I would like one major feature though the ability to play someone else via LAN or Bluetooth. This game is so fun, I would love a little online action with my friends.

Pros:
Excellent gameplay
Great graphics, not much lag
Nice sound effects
Great variety

Cons:
Unit controls could be better
Wireless would take this to the next level

Bottom Line:
This is the best PDA game I ve played in 2003 without a doubt. RTS gamers need to buy it immediately. Everyone else needs to get the trial version right away.

Pricing:
At $29.99 Warfare is not cheap, but it s worth every penny in my view. I spent at least 15 hours playing the game, which is well worth it. If Handmark offers expansion packs, then this becomes more of a no brainer. You may purchase from our Handango store or pick up a free trial.

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