This War of Mine review (iPad)July 20, 2015
10 word description: Party-based real-time war-themed survival game. Scavenge. Craft.
10 word review: Depressingly realistic. Think: The Sims – Holocaust Edition. Great PC port.
You will like this if you enjoy: Base-defence games. Stealth games. Party-based RPGs. Realistic war games. Helplessly watching your friends starve to death and then hanging yourself as a final, desperate attempt to escape the appalling horrors of war.
The good news: Utterly engrossing. Thought-provoking in ways few other games can ever be. Visuals are suitably colourless and depressing. Decisions feel heavy, and frequently go horribly wrong. This is a game you will remember long after you finally give up and go back to far more lightweight and entertaining distractions. No IAPs. Very good touch-control system, particularly for a port of a PC game.
The bad news: It’s really grim, relentlessly downbeat, not exactly a casual mobile game. Autosave only occurs at the start of each day, meaning that you have to complete a full day/night cycle or you will lose all progress since the start of the current day; not a perfect system for a mobile game.
Arcadelife verdict: This is about as far as you want to go, where divisive games are concerned. I can’t imagine anyone feeling indifference after playing this. You’re either going to be entranced by the brutal, harsh, and relentlessly sad gameplay or you’re going to dislike it intensely and drop it like a burnt, severed limb.
Where some other survival games give you the promise of looting and levelling your way to a point where you can stride around the post-apocalyptic wasteland in a mech suit, dispensing your own brand of justice with a plasma mini-gun, “This War of Mine” challenges you to find enough bits of wood to block the holes in your wrecked home to hopefully prevent armed looters stealing your food and hurting your friends. And you’re probably going to fail. One thing is for certain: you’re never going to laugh.
It’s a different kind of game, a different way of thinking. There’s no humour, no parodying, no cute pets or collectables, just sickness, hunger, lack of sleep and the constant threat of losing everything. Victories are small and relatively meaningless: you have a good night scavenging and come home with a bandage and some empty shell cases, or maybe you manage to make a stove and cook enough food that two out of your three survivors are less hungry for a day.
If you’re after a hard game, a hardcore game, a challenge to your morality as much as your gaming prowess, this is what you need to be playing.
Presentation – 9/10
Visuals – 8.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – Not applicable
Final rating – 8.5/10
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.2