Mecho Wars Micro-Review: Landians Versus Wingians... Really?

Mecho Wars brings to the iPhone and iPod Touch a solid turn-based strategy title in the vein of Intelligent Systems' Advance Wars, delivering the game with a flashy art style and interesting time twist.

But loaded down with absurd design decisions that have you playing as a commander of the Wingians taking on an army of the Landians, can Mecho Wars solid design make up for its silly aesthetic?

Loved
Advance Wars On iTunes:The iPhone and iPod Touch need more strategy games. Of all the genres available for a developer to tap into, you'd think it would be obvious what a perfect fit this one is for the touchy portable. Mecho Wars is one of the few out there and its heavy use of the design and mechanics of popular Nintendo franchise Advance Wars makes it the best.

Environmental Effects: I would have been happy with a straight-up Advance Wars clone on the iPhone, but the developers added one little twist: A changing environment. Every turn is measured in hours, not days, and when you slip past midnight the plentiful water of most levels freezes over allowing you to march troops across it. Better still, come morning the ice melts and all of the units still out on the ice fall into the water and are immediately destroyed. It's a minor change that can have a major impact on strategy.

Hated
Art Style: I just can't stand the art style of the game. The unit types are so whimsical that it's impossible to tell at a glance what exactly they are supposed to be, and more important what sorts of attacks they have. That's a major issue with strategy games of this type. Better to be bland than indiscernible in a strategy title.

Mecho Wars, despite its over-the-top art style, is a great little game for the iPhone. It is slightly too short, and without the inclusion of multiplayer, that could be a deal breaker. Fortunately, I'm told that the developers plan to add multiplayer to the game as a free update in the near future.

If you're into strategy titles and need a fix of Advance Wars, Mecho Wars is the best thing currently out for the Touch and iPhone.

Mecho Wars was developed and published by Oyaji for the iPhone and iPod Touch on June 13. Retails for $4.99. Played through the campaign and all challenges.

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