Great Little War Game manages to live up to its name for the most part

For as long as we can remember, good (otherwise known as “Blue”) and evil (“Red”) have been locked in an eternal struggle. They fight for pride. They fight for oil. They fight because the Great (“and definitely NOT cowardly”) Generalissimo is bored and wants something to do in between cups of tea. But, mainly, they fight for our amusement, because they exist in a new iPhone game called Great Little War Game.

This is a turn-based RTS that will seem instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever played titles in this genre. Players have a number of units that can be moved a certain number of tiles and – if they have any action points left over – can attack enemy units who happen to be within range. Once each faction has had a turn, a round (“day”) is over.

Each mission in the campaign has different objectives. Players might need to wipe an opposing force off the map, use their engineers to take over other buildings, or even outlast enemy waves. Different units gain experience and level up as they take out the opposition, meaning they have more health and can do more damage.

On top of all this, oil rigs generate cash that can be spent on things like new units, air strikes, and upgrades. There are also different levels of elevated terrain, which affect the range and damage a character can deal.

It should be noted that Great Little War Game doesn’t contain a multiplayer mode, which is a shame since this seems like the exact type of game that would be a lot of fun for friends to go head-to-head against each other.

The game looks pretty cute. It features 3D graphics presented from a top-down perspective, though when units attack one another things are presented in a close-up, third person perspective. All the units look solid on the screen, but some of the environmental textures seem a bit muddied at times and it isn’t always easy to make out the different elevation levels on a map when an iPhone’s brightness isn’t always pushed up to the max.

Great Little War Game

Great Little War Game

The camera is a bit wonky, too. Even though the game will zoom in on combat automatically, there’s no option to do this manually. The camera can be rotated, though even this is a bit wonky and not easy to control.

The soundtrack leaves a little to be desired as well. It’s by no means bad, but the military brass overtures eventually begin to grow a bit repetitive. This is one of those cases where having an option to play one’s own music would have been a great thing, and it’s all the more noticeable because the feature is absent.

In terms of core gameplay, Great Little War Game is a delightful, challenging title. Unfortunately, the production values are a bit uneven and drag the rest of the game down. Still, it’s a lot of fun, and strategy fans should enjoy it.