Future Wars is a fun futuristic turn-based strategy game with a refreshing dose of humor.
Though it’s perhaps unoriginal at times, at the very least Future Wars has a very clear vision as to what it aspires to be. It’s a simple game about a young cadet at a military academy training in the art of futuristic military warfare. The story is as much Ender’s Game with its premise as it is Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with its brand of relatively low-brow humor.
The story elements are perhaps the most unique element of Future Wars. It’s not exactly as though the story will grab you and never let go with its riveting exposition though. Rather it’s just more of a plucky tale filled with simple, easy humor. At an early moment an antagonist is introduced named Roy Wienersmith Jr. That’s the kind of fun, yet oh-so-infantile humor that you can expect from Future Wars.
The gameplay is the star of the show here though, of course. There’s nothing about it that will blow you away with innovation and mastery, but it’s a perfectly functional turn-based strategy game. Players control units on the battlefield that have a range of abilities from offensive tanks to transport vehicles that will zip your forces around the map more quickly.
There are generally several points on the map that also allow the construction of new units. To construct new units you need a certain amount of money for each type, and to gain money you need to control cities that are located all over the map. It’s a simple premise, but it’s very well balanced, which is the key here. Many turn-based strategy games forgo production of additional units in favor of giving you a set amount of allies at the start of a match.
The inclusion of this element allows a match to shift, ebb and flow. If you begin losing you can retreat back to more defensible positions and give yourself time to rebuild your forces before attacking again. Or you can focus your assault on one small area of the map in an attempt to gain another city and a monetary advantage over your opponent that will tip the scales slowly.
Not everything is perfect though. There are some small faults that slowly become very irritating over time. For instance, scrolling in this game never works the way it should. Trying to scroll the screen down to view other sections of the map can often take several tries to work properly which can take you out of the experience just enough to bother you. Also, there’s an auto-shift moment after every unit finishes moving. So expect to have your screen jerked across the map several times per turn.
Neither of these are damning issues, but they will detract from your enjoyment of the game in subtle ways, the former more so than the latter.
If you can get over these and you’re a fan of traditional strategy games, then Future Wars is a quality choice. It’s got a great mixture of fun humor and serious strategy gameplay that offers a gentle introduction for newcomers but still offers enough strategy to engage genre veterans.