Mixing genres of games doesn’t always turn out the best games — however in the case of Blue GNC‘s Cartoon Wars 2: Heroes($0.99)the game turned out quite well. Cartoon Wars 2 is based off of two previous games in the series — Cartoon Wars and Cartoon Wars: Gunner — and the gameplay has features of both with many additions to please fans of action shooters and castle-defense strategists. The game also features lots of upgrades, customizations, and some RPG elements. You will be fighting dragons with helicopters and pitting robots against dinosaurs. If that isn’t enough, there are also six heroes at the player’s disposal to choose from — one of which shares a strong resemblance and has the same name as Kain from Final Fantasy IV.
The presentation is well done with a short intro movie showing some of the back-story of the game albeit without text or dialogue. The story won’t win any awards features a Captain and a King fighting for control of the thrown. The music is very upbeat and sound affects are also well done. I really liked the menu music sets — as it is techno or trance like (but it ma not be everyone’s cup of tea). Graphics are also very colorful and there are many different backgrounds to fight in from cities to castles.
What I really like is the ability to change difficulty in the options and how it doesn’t reset the game data or force you to start the campaign over. The game also has an auto save feature and reminds you to save after each battle. These options and little touches by the developers really make this title a complete package and this is further shown with the updates they added.
One thing I dislike however, is that there is no in-game tutorial. There is only a command screen showing what icons mean and basic instructions how to play. With a tutorial, confusions like not being able to purchase air units till further acts could be prevented.
The deveopers are updating quite regularly with GameCenter support for instance and an Infinity (Hell) mode for expert players added through updates.
The controls are standard for any game in the genre, except tilting the iDevice screen will cause the view to move to either the right or left in the castle-defense parts. Or use the standard touch-drag.
Another small complaint with the game is that the bow sometimes takes a second too long to stop firing after hitting the stop command and letting it recharge. It is also hard to judge where to put the slider to gauge distance. Sometimes the slider isn’t all responsive as well due to it’s small interval especially for those with big thumbs.
The game is divided into two main parts — the hero mode, and the castle defense-RTS mode. Heroes are controlled in real time in gun-action mini-missions against a large number of enemies or enemy ‘special forces’ that is similar to the previous Gunner title. The heroes can gain levels with experience points and be upgraded as well. On the other hand the game has a very deep castle defense game with lots of units to choose — new to the series are air units — and ther eis a large bow to control and launch arrows at enemies. This is done by tilting the angle of the bow with an arrow to fire at different parts of the battlefield. Be careful not to tilt the bow too low and hit the wrong army however. Mana is used as a resource for creating units or using special abilities to rain down on enemies for example. The mana fills up to a certain extent before it has to be used up by the player or it can be upgraded to gain levels and charge to higher amounts and recharge faster. This is done by using some of it up as cost for the upgrade.
There are various large bosses to fight and not just castles to destroy that unleash troops against your army — as is the case in some other titles in the genre. They are sometimes very powerful and hard to defeat as this is a very challenging title. Gold can be gained through the battles — with hero or in the RTS section, and there is even an ability to turn gold into mana in battles. The game also allows for many paths to victory and this creates many challenges and strategies to think about.
The game is also divided into ‘Acts’ and some units aren’t available till progressing further in the game, like air units aren’t available for purchase until Act 4. I wasn’t able to figure out for a while why I was unable to purchase some units for a while so this may create a bit confusion.
I would love multiplayer to be added in future updates. Some other complaints I mentioned could also be improved upon like the bow-tilt slider being easier to move and an ingame tutorial added showing all the ins-and-outs of the game.
The title features a lot of bang for the buck so to speak, and fans of almost any genre of gaming should find something to like. The difficulty can be steep, and it can be a bit confusing switching between the RTS castle-defense sections and the action scenes of the hero. However, the game is really well done and everything fits together nicely. I would really recommend it to any App Store gamer and rank the title as the best version of Cartoon Wars so far and one of the top in the castle defense genre as well.
posted on TheAppera