img_0009-4While certain genres on the App Store are completely over-saturated (Match three, I'm looking at you.) there had been a distinct lack of turn based strategy games, which is a shame as the few that exist all work so well with touch controls. Thankfully, game designer Luc Bernard threw his hat in to the turn based strategy ring bringing us Mecho Wars [App Store], a colorful prequel to Eternity's Child and a welcome addition to the short list of quality iPhone strategy games.

Eternity's Child was an ambitious PC title that takes place on a flooded planet where all things natural are being taken over by machines and the winged hunt the wingless. This intriguing premise was almost completely forgotten following the game's introduction, and aside from the amazing art style and musical score by Sean Beeson, Eternity's Child apparently fell short and wasn't received well by critics.

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Spurred by gamers wanting to delve deeper in to the plot of the Eternity's Child universe, Mecho Wars began as a way to expand on the story and events prior to Eternity's Child. Taking place in the Divination Deserts, Mecho Wars tells the tale of the war between the Landians and the Winged Crusade wrapped in the same art style of Eternity's Child with Beeson returning with another entirely original soundtrack.

358443_2In the single player campaign, you play as the Winged Crusade through thirteen stages, each of which can be replayed once completed. Challenge mode features six additional maps to play, and while there is a menu option teasing online play, currently the only available multiplayer mode is played locally by sharing the device.

The gameplay is textbook turn based strategy, and anyone who has ever played a similar game will know how to play without needing any explanation. Tapping a unit selects it, you then tap on the terrain to move and/or enemies to attack.

Buildings can be captured to earn money which in turn can be used to buy new units. Each turn you move your units, make any attacks, build additional forces, then end your turn. Your AI opponent then does the same, and the game clock advances by one hour.

Be warned that Mecho Wars doesn't ease brand new players in to the genre at all. The first level asks you to move a unit, attack, and do other things in the game which are obvious to veterans of the genre but will leave new players completely in the dark. Instead of explaining that in order to move you need to tap a unit, tap another area to move, then end your turn, Mecho Wars simply asks you to move across a bridge to an island to join the rest of your squad. Relatively easy to pick up, but novices might be a bit disoriented at first.

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Each faction has nine units available which cover the standard array of what is normally seen in turn based strategy games with everything from basic infantry to flying and artillery units. The Landians and the Winged Crusade each have slight variation on the same unit type. For instance, while the Winged Crusade has the "Ace Soldier" and "Elpho", the Landians have the "Bazooka" and the "Tech".

358443However, in the 1.0 release there isn't much information given about unit types, and no information about enemy units. Knowing the capability of enemy units is vital to forming a defensive and offensive strategy, so all too often it seemed like I was just using trial and error instead of making informed strategic decisions.

This limitation, however, is already being addressed in the Mecho Wars 1.01 update, as seen in a video recently posted to the Oyaji Games YouTube channel. In 1.01, players will be able to see vital enemy statistics, as well as a greatly enhanced interface for building new units complete with explanations of their effectiveness against other units.

Upon entering combat, the screen shifts in to a split screen cinematic view where both forces attack each other. This is fun to watch for the first few fights, but I found myself disabling this in the options menu before too long as watching the firing animations quickly became monotonous. (To be fair, people criticized UniWar for not including cinematic battles, but I've always seen this as excess fluff which just wastes time and doesn't add anything to the gameplay.)

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One of the biggest original complaints about UniWar [App Store] (since corrected in an update) was the lack of ability to adjust the difficulty level of the AI, a feature also lacking in Mecho Wars, which again creates the problem of the AI being boring to veterans and brutal to newcomers.

The best mechanic Mecho Wars brings to the table is the in-game clock which I mentioned earlier. In most turn based strategy games, water serves as a way to create offensive and defensive bottlenecks across bridges. Mecho Wars is no different--that is, until night comes. The water of the Divination Deserts freezes solid, allowing units to simply walk around previously fortified bottlenecks. There are also sometimes buildings in the water, which are only accessible at night.

This night and day cycle along with completely changing the dynamics of the map allows for some innovative strategies that haven't existed in previous games of the genre that I've seen. This also seems to serve as a nod to Eternity's Child, since the water was such an important element in that plot, it would only make sense that water is equally important in Mecho Wars.

Even though the game is far from perfect, I still had a good time playing Mecho Wars, as did many of our forum members. Art style and music are two things that can really enhance any game, and these two things definitely stand out in Mecho Wars. The limited amount of Challenge mode maps along with "coming soon" online multiplayer make me hope Mecho Wars is successful enough to see continued support. But given this mild uncertainty and an abundance of other games in the App Store, I might wait for the promised updates before buying it at its full $4.99 price.

Game Details
Name: Mecho Wars (v1.0) Price: $4.99 [Buy]
Developer: Oyaji Games Size: 7.0 MB
Device: Tested on iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S
Mecho Wars is a turn based strategy game that shows a lot of promise. While the game is a lot of fun, some strange feature omissions and "coming soon" online multiplayer give Mecho Wars an unfinished feel, despite the high quality art style and remarkable musical score.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Slapshot

    It's a great game and I play it everyday it's so good. :D It's the closest thing to Advance Wars on an iPod/iPhone. Very, Very fun game. :)

  • Slapshot

    It's a great game and I play it everyday it's so good. :D It's the closest thing to Advance Wars on an iPod/iPhone. Very, Very fun game. :)

  • http://www.astrosaurus.com astrosaurus

    Yeah, I agree. This game is pretty great. Worth checking out if you haven't.

  • http://www.astrosaurus.com astrosaurus

    Yeah, I agree. This game is pretty great. Worth checking out if you haven't.

  • http://www.gadlaw.com gadlaw

    This is a fun and interesting game, colorful to watch and at only 99 cents right now well worth the purchase.

  • http://www.gadlaw.com gadlaw

    This is a fun and interesting game, colorful to watch and at only 99 cents right now well worth the purchase.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/trippg ourfinesth0ur

    I do agree it is great, but I would like to see some online play. It was definitely worth the .99 I paid for it. I hope that the dev has not completely abandoned the idea of multiplayer. I would play the multiplayer on this so much if it existed

  • http://flickr.com/photos/trippg ourfinesth0ur

    I do agree it is great, but I would like to see some online play. It was definitely worth the .99 I paid for it. I hope that the dev has not completely abandoned the idea of multiplayer. I would play the multiplayer on this so much if it existed

  • Ataru

    Looks like it lacks the personality of advance wars, but I guess for the price...

    Makes me wish the iPhone would get some ports of stuff like Disgaea and Final Fantasy Tactics though.

  • Ataru

    Looks like it lacks the personality of advance wars, but I guess for the price...

    Makes me wish the iPhone would get some ports of stuff like Disgaea and Final Fantasy Tactics though.

  • FanBoy

    Guys, check out UniWar if you like this kind of game... It has online multiplayer and is a great classic TBS game.

  • FanBoy

    Guys, check out UniWar if you like this kind of game... It has online multiplayer and is a great classic TBS game.

  • pante

    mecho wars is one of the best iphone titles ever. it's not far from perfect, it is very close.

    cheers.

  • pante

    mecho wars is one of the best iphone titles ever. it's not far from perfect, it is very close.

    cheers.

  • lopches

    this is by far one of the best turn-based strategy games on the iphone

  • lopches

    this is by far one of the best turn-based strategy games on the iphone

  • Coral

    I have been experiencing a bug on 3.0 software. After an attack the cursor will freeze up and not move off the spot of the attacked unit. I have animations turned off. You can still exit to the menu and then start playing again until it happens.

    Aside from that... this really is a great game. Everyone should check it out if they like TBS games. A lot of work went into this and I am sure it will continue to expand.

  • Coral

    I have been experiencing a bug on 3.0 software. After an attack the cursor will freeze up and not move off the spot of the attacked unit. I have animations turned off. You can still exit to the menu and then start playing again until it happens.

    Aside from that... this really is a great game. Everyone should check it out if they like TBS games. A lot of work went into this and I am sure it will continue to expand.

  • Luc Bernard

    you guys will be very excited once you know what update we are working on this week, to come out next week, after the UI update (once apple puts it out)

    right now its a secret ;) but you guys will LOVE IT

  • Luc Bernard

    you guys will be very excited once you know what update we are working on this week, to come out next week, after the UI update (once apple puts it out)

    right now its a secret ;) but you guys will LOVE IT

  • Gadm

    HEY DEV, last night I was going to buy MECHO WARS, after reading the reviews and noticing the 0.99 price, but I couldnt download cause you were changing the price to 4.99$ ;(
    I want this game sooooo baad D>: but i cant afford 5 bucks.

    I think i ll wait for an another sale =(

  • Gadm

    HEY DEV, last night I was going to buy MECHO WARS, after reading the reviews and noticing the 0.99 price, but I couldnt download cause you were changing the price to 4.99$ ;(
    I want this game sooooo baad D>: but i cant afford 5 bucks.

    I think i ll wait for an another sale =(

  • Merlin Horrorcock

    Great Game!!!
    I will probably get the steam version or wiiware version also!!!

  • Merlin Horrorcock

    Great Game!!!
    I will probably get the steam version or wiiware version also!!!

  • Markus

    As far as the single player goes (from what I've played so far) this is a lot better than Uniwar. But then Uniwar's campaign is really just to gear you up for multiplayer. I'm glad I bought this at 99 cents and think it'll be a great game to work my way through but not sure if I'd be so happy at 4.99.

    For me there's nothing like the multiplayer experience with strategy games (no AI can be as devious as another human, and there's no replayability in AI battles since you know all their tricks) so hopefully that will come soon, and hopefully it'll be a real online match-up system like Uniwar instead of some 2 player wifi copout. I'd pay $9.99 for that gladly (if not for the fact that at that price there probably wouldn't be too many opponents..)

  • Markus

    As far as the single player goes (from what I've played so far) this is a lot better than Uniwar. But then Uniwar's campaign is really just to gear you up for multiplayer. I'm glad I bought this at 99 cents and think it'll be a great game to work my way through but not sure if I'd be so happy at 4.99.

    For me there's nothing like the multiplayer experience with strategy games (no AI can be as devious as another human, and there's no replayability in AI battles since you know all their tricks) so hopefully that will come soon, and hopefully it'll be a real online match-up system like Uniwar instead of some 2 player wifi copout. I'd pay $9.99 for that gladly (if not for the fact that at that price there probably wouldn't be too many opponents..)

  • Greg

    Both games are great. BTW- there is yet to be an update to uniwar to set difficulty.

  • Greg

    Both games are great. BTW- there is yet to be an update to uniwar to set difficulty.

  • http://www.willw.net/ Will Robertson

    This looks very Gameboy-like.

  • http://www.willw.net/ Will Robertson

    This looks very Gameboy-like.

  • WeirdingWay

    Not worth it at the 4.99 price point considering what UniWar offers for 5x less

  • WeirdingWay

    Not worth it at the 4.99 price point considering what UniWar offers for 5x less

  • nlx

    the game is so slow ! All those animated banners makes completly crazy !!

  • nlx

    the game is so slow ! All those animated banners makes completly crazy !!