Three years ago, iOS gamers were treated to Great Little War Game [$1.99] from Rubicon Development. It was perhaps one of the more truthful titles seen in gaming, and it was a big hit with us here at TouchArcade. Two years ago, the game got an immense sequel in Great Big War Game [$2.99], which added just about anything fans of the first game could have asked for, including online multiplayer. After that, things went quiet for the series, and it seemed like Rubicon had moved on to other things, like last year's Combat Monsters [Free]. They haven't been shy about discussing the somewhat sluggish performance of that last game in the marketplace, and I wouldn't be surprised if that blow informed Great Little War Game 2 [$1.99] right from its very existence on. That said, I don't really care how or why we got another game in the series. As a pretty big fan of both of the previous games, I'm just happy to see the series back.

Like previous games in the series, Great Little War Game 2 is a turn-based strategy game that pits the brave and honorable blue guys against the cunning, vicious, evil red guys. The game follows a mission-based structure, with a variety of goals including protecting your bizarre general for a set number of turns, capturing the enemy base, and more. There is a wide variety of units at your disposal, though certain units are limited to certain maps. If you achieve your goal, you'll move on to the next map, and if you don't, well, you can always retry. The game keeps track of the number of turns you take so you can always challenge maps again to try to beat your previous best.

Photo 2014-06-16, 17 56 26Rubicon has a knack for coming up with the perfect names for their games, and I think we've got another good case of that here. I think for most people, Great Big War Game was Great Little War Game 2, but here we are with a new game using that title. It turns out to be pretty accurate, however, since this game doesn't feel like a follow-up to Great Big War Game. Rather, it feels oddly like it fits somewhere between those two games. It's a far safer sequel to Great Little War Game, with a meaty assortment of new campaign missions and an overall more streamlined experience, but lacking some of the new features found in Great Big War Game. My understanding is that the developer looked at the last game, saw a lot of high-effort features that were being used by very few players, and decided to take a more practical approach to this one.

The biggest feature to get the axe is multiplayer. All of it. No pass and play, no online, nothing. If you want to play war with your friends, you'll just have to get out the brooms and milk jug helmets and do it old-school. Skirmish mode is also out. I can't pretend that I'm not disappointed about these extra modes not making an appearance here, but I understand the economic realities that most likely resulted in that decision. For good or for ill, Great Little War Game 2 has bet the farm on its campaign mode. Unfortunately, that's not the end of the ways the game takes a step back from its predecessor.

If you played the campaign mode of the last game, you might remember the amusing little cut-scenes that told the story between stages. This game doesn't have any cut-scenes at all, so the missions have very little context behind them. The maps themselves are quite a bit smaller, and big, crazy battles are a lot more rare as a result. Fog of war is gone, and there are lots of other little tweaks that make the game a little bit easier to play. 'Big' is back to 'Little' again, there's no doubt about it. That's not to say there aren't some improvements, such as explosions actually doing splash damage now, but by and large, you should set your expectations to less rather than more.

With all that in mind, it's easy to get caught up in the bad news for Great Little War Game 2, but there's a lot of good news, too. The scale of things may have been decreased, but the strategy is still just as pitch-perfect as ever. Even in tight quarters, there's a lot of opportunity for tense battles where every inch has to be wrenched from the enemy. The campaign has a hefty 60 missions to it, which represents tens of hours of gameplay. The upgrade system from Great Big War Game returns here, so you can still customize your troops according to your personal playstyle. Even though the game doesn't look all that different from the last one visually, that still means it's quite a looker for its genre, and there's nothing quite like it in terms of style.

The game also allows you to play in portrait mode, which I personally prefer for this type of game since I can play one-handed and the loss of horizontal space doesn't matter much in a strategy game. Unfortunately, with that came the removal of landscape play, which has proven fairly controversial, but Rubicon will apparently be adding that back in with a future update. Game Center support also didn't make it in this time, but in what is sure to be positive news for many, neither did IAPs.

This is basically a straightforward shot of pure, distilled Great War Game campaign, served up fully at a more than reasonable price for the amount of enjoyment found within. It's a mission-pack sequel in the truest sense, but I think as long as you know that, it's pretty easy to decide whether it's something you'd get value out of or not. Great Little War Game 2 offers up a huge, new campaign in the most refined version of one of the better strategy engines on iOS. I'd love to see Rubicon blow the doors off again, of course, but I'm still quite satisfied with what we've received here, even if it does lack ambition. It's another great little bit of strategic fun, nothing more, nothing less.

TouchArcade Rating

  • androphene

    With a lot of my favorite things being cut out, I'm going to pass on this. If it pops free the I will probably give it a try.

    • VivienneGloverini

      Josiah . although Jacqueline `s stori is surprising, last week I bought
      themselves a Chrysler from having made $5060 thiss month and-in excess of, 10/k
      last-month . it's realy the easiest-work I have ever done . I started this 4
      months ago and pretty much straight away was bringin in at least $78 per-hour .
      why not look here C­a­s­h­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  • tommet

    If they add landscape mode, this is an instabuy. Until then...

  • ex2bot

    I'm disappointed by the size of the maps and how easy it is to win. I'd say it rates a 3/5. I loved the other two. 4/5 or 5/5 for them.

Great Little War Game 2 Reviewed by Shaun Musgrave on . Rating: 4