uniwarWhen people ask me what I think about certain games, all too often my commentary includes “…and it would be really great if it had some kind of online multiplayer.”

Xpressed has knocked my socks off with UniWar [App Store]. The game is by no means perfect, but for the current promotional price of 99¢, it’s impossible to pass up if you’re even remotely interested in turn based strategy games.

UniWar tips its hat at both the StarCraft and Advance Wars series with three playable races that each have slightly different advantages and disadvantages while waging a turn based war on a hex grid.

The game features a brief tutorial in the 21 map single player campaign that seems to cover everything new players to the genre need to know. (Although it would be nice if these levels could be skipped as they’re fairly remedial to veterans of similar games.) The touch controls are extremely simple and work well aside from a few accidental fat fingered moves here and there that often can’t be undone.  UniWar also seemlessly switches from portrait to landscape mode depending on which way you’re holding the device. I experienced less fat fingering while playing in landscape mode, but it would be nice to be able to lock your screen orientation.

uniland

Feedback on our forums has been mixed when it comes to the non-adjustable difficulty of single player campaign and solo maps against an AI opponent.  Personally, I felt the AI was a little too predictable and on the easy side, but please consider this is coming from someone with a vast history of turn based strategy experience.  Others have felt it’s too hard or just right, so what you think of the included AI will greatly depend on your familiarity with the genre.

Outside of the campaign maps, UniWar also comes with solo mode to play individual maps against an AI opponent. Unfortunately, all but the first map comes locked and you can’t choose the next map until you’ve completed the previous. There are 53 maps to choose from in online play, so it really doesn’t make sense to me why you wouldn’t have access to the same set of maps for playing single player skirmishes. This inconsistency also exists in the single device two-player mode. I love that you can play against a friend using one device, but it has really left me scratching my head trying to figure out why you can’t play the same maps that you can online. By doing this, Xpressed is leaving people who are buying the game specifically for local multiplayer out in the cold until they’ve gone through and unlocked everything in single player.

3442317975_8ec2f2876djpgDespite my criticisms with single player and local versus mode, the online multiplayer has earned UniWar complete tenure on my iPhone. Unless the online community dies off, I really can’t see myself ever getting bored of playing over the Internet. Online play with up to 8 players can be done either anonymously or by registering a username. Registering provides online statistics, a friends list, and email notifications. There’s really no reason not to as once you play your first online game you’ll be hooked.

Email notifications? Yes! One of the coolest things about UniWar’s multiplayer is that you can be playing up to twenty games at a time. Xpressed’s servers email you when it’s your turn in a game. After launching UniWar, hit “Current Games”, and make your moves in any that are waiting for you to take your turn. At this point, the email notifications seem like a stopgap solution until Apple releases the 3.0 firmware with the associated push notification service, and it works pretty well.  If you have an unlimited SMS package for your phone, you can even get crazy and use your carrier’s email to SMS gateway for instant alerts when it’s your turn.

3442318131_c057c4f840jpgOne thing that’s kind of annoying about the email notifications is right now toggling them on and off seems to be bugged and Xpressed doesn’t queue up alerts to send multiple notifications in the same email. This morning when I was testing out playing several games at once, my inbox was quite literally exploding with emails from 5 concurrent games. I can’t imagine playing 20. It would be nice if there were a setting to throttle the alerts to come in batches every few minutes. Another thing I’d love to see is if these emails included links you could click which launch the app with the correct game open similar to how apps like Tweetie [App Store] can be launched using tweetie:// URL’s. Email invitations or friend list invites could also potentially be sent to people who have the game using the same URL scheme.

While these enhancements would be nice, the most pressing change the notification service needs is to not send emails when you’re actively connected to a game waiting for the other person to take their turn. If you’re playing a game with someone else with no wait in between turns, Xpressed still sends you email notifications. It’s really pretty silly, and after playing a few games I’ve had to white list their email addresses as there was nothing I could to convince my mail client that the notifications weren’t spam otherwise.

All of my complaints, however, can easily be washed away by the fact that UniWar is currently priced at only 99¢. What you get for your dollar is downright ridiculous and with a little refinement the game will easily command a $5 or $10 price tag. The developer has even mentioned on our forums plans to eventually release a free map editor as well.

If they can deliver some solid updates, UniWar is going to be the iPhone online gaming gold standard.  As I said before, if you’re even remotely interested in the genre you really can’t pass this game up.

Game Details
Name: UniWar (v1.0.0) Price: $0.99 [Buy]
Developer: Xpressed Size: 10.1 MB
Device: Tested on iPhone 3G
UniWar is the closest thing we've seen so far to Advance Wars on the iPhone. While the game has some minor flaws, when you consider the depth of the game with the massive amounts of replay value from the online multiplayer, you shouldn't pass up at the promotional price of 99¢.

TouchArcade Rating

  • arn

    the developer said on the forums that pricing is going up as it gets higher ranked. It's hit #68 already in the top 100, so your time is limited at $0.99.

  • arn

    the developer said on the forums that pricing is going up as it gets higher ranked. It's hit #68 already in the top 100, so your time is limited at $0.99.

  • Greg

    I posted this on the previous post about Uniwar....

    I've been playing a game through out the day against my buddy, since you can fire up the app, check on your game and then see his turn then make your move.

    Its a great model, and means I can be playing a game through out the day at random intervals. This game will certainly be made ever better with push notifications as you'll be informed when someone makes their move.

    What this game really could use is teams with variable skilled AI. So far this is the most successful multiplayer game I've played. Lets Golf was good but interruptions would kill a game which doesn't work for the iPhone crowd.

    This is more or less the tip of the iceberg and will benefit quite a bit from push notifications.

  • Greg

    I posted this on the previous post about Uniwar....

    I've been playing a game through out the day against my buddy, since you can fire up the app, check on your game and then see his turn then make your move.

    Its a great model, and means I can be playing a game through out the day at random intervals. This game will certainly be made ever better with push notifications as you'll be informed when someone makes their move.

    What this game really could use is teams with variable skilled AI. So far this is the most successful multiplayer game I've played. Lets Golf was good but interruptions would kill a game which doesn't work for the iPhone crowd.

    This is more or less the tip of the iceberg and will benefit quite a bit from push notifications.

  • Liam(aka The Game Reaper)

    TheGameReapr's my name on UniWar.

  • Liam(aka The Game Reaper)

    TheGameReapr's my name on UniWar.

  • antonioj

    What about adding Facebook Connect support?

  • antonioj

    What about adding Facebook Connect support?

  • Adams Immersive

    The tutorial scenarios are a little boring, but they do the job. I definitely plan to stick with it and get to the fun part :)

    This is my first-ever foray into turn-based strategy. Who would have thought it would be on a phone?

    Push would be great!

  • Adams Immersive

    The tutorial scenarios are a little boring, but they do the job. I definitely plan to stick with it and get to the fun part :)

    This is my first-ever foray into turn-based strategy. Who would have thought it would be on a phone?

    Push would be great!

  • Syngyne

    The game's definitely a steal at 99 cents. I wouldn't pay $7.99 for it, though. For that price I'd expect even more polish, like seeing the units actually move along the map at the very least.

  • Syngyne

    The game's definitely a steal at 99 cents. I wouldn't pay $7.99 for it, though. For that price I'd expect even more polish, like seeing the units actually move along the map at the very least.

  • http://www.uniwar.com UniWar Developer

    Thank you for the article and the comments.
    We are taking notes of all these little issues and will make sure to address them in future updates.

    Feel free to send your request for enhancement and ideas at support@uniwar.com

    See you online!

  • http://www.uniwar.com UniWar Developer

    Thank you for the article and the comments.
    We are taking notes of all these little issues and will make sure to address them in future updates.

    Feel free to send your request for enhancement and ideas at support@uniwar.com

    See you online!

  • Big Albie

    The way I understand the pricing is that the intro price is $.99 sense until it hits the top 50 at which point, the price will increase to $4.99. After that, depending on the popularity, the game will hit $7.99. As is, UniWar is solid with a few hiccups here and there that hopefully will be worked out in updates. The game is ideal for novices and even those more experienced in strategy games.

  • Big Albie

    The way I understand the pricing is that the intro price is $.99 sense until it hits the top 50 at which point, the price will increase to $4.99. After that, depending on the popularity, the game will hit $7.99. As is, UniWar is solid with a few hiccups here and there that hopefully will be worked out in updates. The game is ideal for novices and even those more experienced in strategy games.

  • Tanner

    This is a great game. I really have almost no qualms with it, with a few exceptions:

    -The text input box is awkward because it takes up the whole screen. It surprised me in a bad way but it's not a major flaw, in fact I don't really care.
    -actually I can't even think of a second flaw right now. This game is awesome.

  • Tanner

    This is a great game. I really have almost no qualms with it, with a few exceptions:

    -The text input box is awkward because it takes up the whole screen. It surprised me in a bad way but it's not a major flaw, in fact I don't really care.
    -actually I can't even think of a second flaw right now. This game is awesome.

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    i played the solo and it feels like i'm playing chess with my enemy. It also feels like i'm playing Oreon haha instead of like starcraft. In, all though, this is definitely a great game on my iphone. Been reading about it on TA and immediately bought it without regret!

    Talking bout facebook. Wish, it have connections with it like score updates. But, then again, maybe you guys could create it for facebook?

    I don't know just saying. A great game nonetheless.

  • http://mohammadfauzitaib.com along123

    i played the solo and it feels like i'm playing chess with my enemy. It also feels like i'm playing Oreon haha instead of like starcraft. In, all though, this is definitely a great game on my iphone. Been reading about it on TA and immediately bought it without regret!

    Talking bout facebook. Wish, it have connections with it like score updates. But, then again, maybe you guys could create it for facebook?

    I don't know just saying. A great game nonetheless.

  • nlx

    my request :

    — Facebook Connect
    — Beeing able to cut off the music and play my own music
    — beeing able to see if players are from europe/asia/usa…, for more chance to be playing at the same houres maybe ?

  • nlx

    my request :

    — Facebook Connect
    — Beeing able to cut off the music and play my own music
    — beeing able to see if players are from europe/asia/usa…, for more chance to be playing at the same houres maybe ?

  • camou

    This is so woth the effort. I think 8$ is a bit high, but 5$ I'd pay without further thinking.
    This game is definitly the most addictive on my iPod.

  • camou

    This is so woth the effort. I think 8$ is a bit high, but 5$ I'd pay without further thinking.
    This game is definitly the most addictive on my iPod.

  • Matt

    This game is definitely a fun and additive game. But any post saying that this game has no flaws are obviously fanboys or just friends of the devs.

    I really like how I can play in landscape mode on either side. I really wish this was implemented in many of the TD games I play. Or for any game for that matter. Finding a community chat was very cool but I cannot see it being very useful if this game gets more popular since only 13-15 lines are saved.

    I cannot say that I've played a turn based game in 10+ years. To be honest this game looked like... bleh. But I bought it cause it's 99 cents and resembled starcraft. I find myself wanting to play even though people constantly make a game then leave, extremely long wait periods for people to take a 30sec-1 minute move, and MANY bugs/glitches.

    bugs/glitches that I've seen are:
    - The chat window in-game will not scroll. One must send a dummy text to see the most current part of the conversation.
    - Constant lag when pressing the fast forward button on replays. This has happened when there are more than 15+ units on the board.
    - Often game will crash when pressing the fast forward button on replays. (has happened 4-5 times so far)
    - All the menu buttons in-game will disappear. This has happend 5-6 times in one of my games. The only way to bring them back is to close the game and restart it.

    Want to see:
    -Dedicated refresh button.
    -Dedicated current games button.
    -5 minute time limit
    -TIME LIMIT FILTERS!
    -Option to NOT play or see bot games.
    -PC version!
    -taken from nlx:
    — Beeing able to cut off the music and play my own music
    — beeing able to see if players are from europe/asia/usa…, for more chance to be playing at the same houres maybe ?

    I really like this game an am going to try and seek out a PC version or something similar to it. I do not like the wait times and the slow game play.

    Is this game worth 99 cents? hell yeah

    Is this game worth $4.99? if you like playing bots most of the time because you hate waiting for 'real people' to make their move... sure. If you don't like playing AI most of the time and occasionally a real person, hell no.

    Is this game worth $7.99? eff no. I would rather buy pocket god(.99), a sudoku game(.99), a GeoDefense(.99), FlightControl(.99), Bejeweled 2(2.99)

  • Matt

    This game is definitely a fun and additive game. But any post saying that this game has no flaws are obviously fanboys or just friends of the devs.

    I really like how I can play in landscape mode on either side. I really wish this was implemented in many of the TD games I play. Or for any game for that matter. Finding a community chat was very cool but I cannot see it being very useful if this game gets more popular since only 13-15 lines are saved.

    I cannot say that I've played a turn based game in 10+ years. To be honest this game looked like... bleh. But I bought it cause it's 99 cents and resembled starcraft. I find myself wanting to play even though people constantly make a game then leave, extremely long wait periods for people to take a 30sec-1 minute move, and MANY bugs/glitches.

    bugs/glitches that I've seen are:
    - The chat window in-game will not scroll. One must send a dummy text to see the most current part of the conversation.
    - Constant lag when pressing the fast forward button on replays. This has happened when there are more than 15+ units on the board.
    - Often game will crash when pressing the fast forward button on replays. (has happened 4-5 times so far)
    - All the menu buttons in-game will disappear. This has happend 5-6 times in one of my games. The only way to bring them back is to close the game and restart it.

    Want to see:
    -Dedicated refresh button.
    -Dedicated current games button.
    -5 minute time limit
    -TIME LIMIT FILTERS!
    -Option to NOT play or see bot games.
    -PC version!
    -taken from nlx:
    — Beeing able to cut off the music and play my own music
    — beeing able to see if players are from europe/asia/usa…, for more chance to be playing at the same houres maybe ?

    I really like this game an am going to try and seek out a PC version or something similar to it. I do not like the wait times and the slow game play.

    Is this game worth 99 cents? hell yeah

    Is this game worth $4.99? if you like playing bots most of the time because you hate waiting for 'real people' to make their move... sure. If you don't like playing AI most of the time and occasionally a real person, hell no.

    Is this game worth $7.99? eff no. I would rather buy pocket god(.99), a sudoku game(.99), a GeoDefense(.99), FlightControl(.99), Bejeweled 2(2.99)

  • _jnc_

    Love the game! There are quite some bugs left, that's right, but I'm quite sure future updates will resolve them. The support answered my mail personally to work on a bug in one of my games, so I trust them to be dedicated to the app.

    Besides, I don't care waiting for real people to make their moves as I'm not online all day myself (playing on iPod=only at home). Otherwise, I agree with Matt's suggestions, especially the MUSIC!

    Again, love the game, well balanced races and abundance in maps => many many more battles to go!

  • _jnc_

    Love the game! There are quite some bugs left, that's right, but I'm quite sure future updates will resolve them. The support answered my mail personally to work on a bug in one of my games, so I trust them to be dedicated to the app.

    Besides, I don't care waiting for real people to make their moves as I'm not online all day myself (playing on iPod=only at home). Otherwise, I agree with Matt's suggestions, especially the MUSIC!

    Again, love the game, well balanced races and abundance in maps => many many more battles to go!

  • MTFox

    >>As I said before, if you’re even remotely interested in the genre you really can’t pass this game up.

    I would have said I'm interested in the genre ALL, but I've been playing UniWar for hours and hours now. So, either I was wrong or the game is just fun-frakking-tastic! Not to give the developer any bad ideas, but I would happily pay $9.99 for it.

  • MTFox

    >>As I said before, if you’re even remotely interested in the genre you really can’t pass this game up.

    I would have said I'm interested in the genre ALL, but I've been playing UniWar for hours and hours now. So, either I was wrong or the game is just fun-frakking-tastic! Not to give the developer any bad ideas, but I would happily pay $9.99 for it.

  • MTFox

    Oh God, obviously played TOO much last night...
    I meant to write "I would have said I'm not interested in the genre AT ALL..."

  • MTFox

    Oh God, obviously played TOO much last night...
    I meant to write "I would have said I'm not interested in the genre AT ALL..."

  • anthony afterwit

    This is the game I've been looking for. If you like turn based strategy, nothing can touch this. I bought a couple of turn based strategy games for my PSP and they all sucked. I even bought that one for XBox360 arcade, and that sucked. I'm extremely impressed that they seem to have gotten it right - and it's for my phone! For an iphone game, this is just perfect. It doesn't try to be Civilization, but it's got just enough depth to be totally addicting. I've played about half a dozen other turn based strategy games on iphone, can't remember what they're called, and none of them come close to this in any area: visuals, rules, ease of play, ease of learning. My one nitpicking criticism is that the button which lets you speed through the enemy's turn doesn't really seem to speed things up too much - please try to make that a litte faster. Also, being able to play your own music would be nice. And push notifications (even though I haven't even begun doing online games yet.) But overall, I'm extremely impressed. This for me is the ultimate iphone game so far, and I would absolutely pay the eight dollars or whatever it's going to be. (glad I got it for .99 though!)

  • anthony afterwit

    This is the game I've been looking for. If you like turn based strategy, nothing can touch this. I bought a couple of turn based strategy games for my PSP and they all sucked. I even bought that one for XBox360 arcade, and that sucked. I'm extremely impressed that they seem to have gotten it right - and it's for my phone! For an iphone game, this is just perfect. It doesn't try to be Civilization, but it's got just enough depth to be totally addicting. I've played about half a dozen other turn based strategy games on iphone, can't remember what they're called, and none of them come close to this in any area: visuals, rules, ease of play, ease of learning. My one nitpicking criticism is that the button which lets you speed through the enemy's turn doesn't really seem to speed things up too much - please try to make that a litte faster. Also, being able to play your own music would be nice. And push notifications (even though I haven't even begun doing online games yet.) But overall, I'm extremely impressed. This for me is the ultimate iphone game so far, and I would absolutely pay the eight dollars or whatever it's going to be. (glad I got it for .99 though!)

  • anthony afterwit

    Actually, come to think of it, there is one area in the game that I find a little confusing.. For movement rate - why doesn't the number correlate to how many hexes you can move? What's the difference between a movement rate of 8 & 9 for example? Also, sometimes I don't understand how damage numbers in battles are arrived at. Is there any randomness? Even when I add in defense and other attack modifiers as per the stats charts, I can never seem to predict exactly how much damage will be done.

    • sosita

      Each hex has a different movement modifier (the column MBL) on unit info screen. for example plain hex has a modifier 3 for ground units, so if your unit has 9 of mobility you can move 3 plain hexes, but if your unit has 8 of mobility you can only move 2 plain hexes. Hope this help you to understand it.
      The damage on battles has a random factor, but it also use the unit strength attack/defense values and also terrain modifiers. Also there is something called gangup. if you attack the same unit consecutivelly you will receive a gangup bonus. I think there is also a different gangup depending on the position of the unit on the second attack, the best gangup is when you attack from the opposite hex.

      • anthony afterwit

        Thanks! I actually found that stuff in the help section in the game after I posted. Man, this game is so good!

  • anthony afterwit

    Actually, come to think of it, there is one area in the game that I find a little confusing.. For movement rate - why doesn't the number correlate to how many hexes you can move? What's the difference between a movement rate of 8 & 9 for example? Also, sometimes I don't understand how damage numbers in battles are arrived at. Is there any randomness? Even when I add in defense and other attack modifiers as per the stats charts, I can never seem to predict exactly how much damage will be done.

    • sosita

      Each hex has a different movement modifier (the column MBL) on unit info screen. for example plain hex has a modifier 3 for ground units, so if your unit has 9 of mobility you can move 3 plain hexes, but if your unit has 8 of mobility you can only move 2 plain hexes. Hope this help you to understand it.
      The damage on battles has a random factor, but it also use the unit strength attack/defense values and also terrain modifiers. Also there is something called gangup. if you attack the same unit consecutivelly you will receive a gangup bonus. I think there is also a different gangup depending on the position of the unit on the second attack, the best gangup is when you attack from the opposite hex.

      • anthony afterwit

        Thanks! I actually found that stuff in the help section in the game after I posted. Man, this game is so good!

  • J3rekk

    I love the guys who made this! It's just so EFFING BADASS!!! I hope they make money on this so we can haz Uniwar 2 :) btw, my user is J3rekk

  • J3rekk

    I love the guys who made this! It's just so EFFING BADASS!!! I hope they make money on this so we can haz Uniwar 2 :) btw, my user is J3rekk

  • Jon

    As I was playing through the campaigns I noticed that in Level 7 a couple of my guys got little chevron symbols next to them (I believe in the upper left corner). I assume these are tied to experience somehow and make the unit stronger, but does anyone have any details on how you acquire them and what exactly they mean?

  • Jon

    As I was playing through the campaigns I noticed that in Level 7 a couple of my guys got little chevron symbols next to them (I believe in the upper left corner). I assume these are tied to experience somehow and make the unit stronger, but does anyone have any details on how you acquire them and what exactly they mean?

  • http://meridiandream.com/jim Jim Mortensen

    Jon -

    It's called "Veterancy". Check the help files.

  • http://meridiandream.com/jim Jim Mortensen

    Jon -

    It's called "Veterancy". Check the help files.

  • Matt

    I'm tired of games being released that have unit stats... but nothing to help us determine how they're used...

  • Matt

    I'm tired of games being released that have unit stats... but nothing to help us determine how they're used...

  • FL4KJ4CK

    Great game.

    I can't beat level 7. Tips for a n00b?

  • FL4KJ4CK

    Great game.

    I can't beat level 7. Tips for a n00b?

  • Jon

    Level 7 Tip:
    I got past it pretty easily by cranking out the marines and keeping them on the rocks. I also had one tank as support. I had some fun trying to rush the opponent and steal one of his bases, but I was never able to hold onto it.

  • Jon

    Level 7 Tip:
    I got past it pretty easily by cranking out the marines and keeping them on the rocks. I also had one tank as support. I had some fun trying to rush the opponent and steal one of his bases, but I was never able to hold onto it.

  • Dave

    GReat game! the Simulation part is fantastic. The online play is still frustratingly slow. And the AI needs to get a lot smarter (they don't seem to use any of the strengths of the race when playing (eg I have never had a teleport or bury happen against me etc.) for Solo play to be more than a casual time passer.

  • Dave

    Simulation = campaign

  • Dave

    GReat game! the Simulation part is fantastic. The online play is still frustratingly slow. And the AI needs to get a lot smarter (they don't seem to use any of the strengths of the race when playing (eg I have never had a teleport or bury happen against me etc.) for Solo play to be more than a casual time passer.

  • Dave

    Simulation = campaign

  • Bob

    Can someone please leave some tips for level 7? Otherwise, great game.

  • Bob

    Can someone please leave some tips for level 7? Otherwise, great game.

  • Xhh950

    What about wifi warfare. I love that one cuz it's really simple to play yet fun

  • Scott Corbitt

    I agree that the AI is too predictable. I often make strategies against the AI based on what I know it will do. 
    Also, screen rotation can be locked. I've found also that most of my fat-fingered mistakes can be undone.