|Publisher: Isotope 244 Genre: Strategy & War|
|Min OS X: Any Version RAM: 128 MB Hard Disk: 210 MB|
In the last year there have been many notable strategy games released for the Macintosh. Each one offered something unique, something fresh. Now Machines at War has arrived. It began as an application for mobile devices and was highly lauded for its beauty and complexity. The question is, can it really match up against its competition now that it has moved to a stronger platform? Low budget games generally falter in graphics and sound, but their common saving grace is...
Click to enlarge
The shattered remnants of numerous enemy power plants. I wonder why they keep being built on the same unsafe spot?
GameplaySadly, Machines at War (MaW) does falter in this area. It has all the elements of a standard real-time-strategy game, but there is only one tech tree, there is no multiplayer, and there is no campaign mode. The only option is to play a quick skirmish against up to three computer opponents. This can be enjoyable for a few hours, but due to the simplistic nature of MaW, it gets boring quite quickly.
In the end, all games follow the exact same pattern. At the start, you begin building up an economy and defense network. After gaining a certain level of income, you start an army and send it rushing towards your opponent after goading him to waste all of his forces on your wall of steel. Due to the fact that the tech tree is the same for all players, there are no unique strategies to employ and you end up just pumping heavy tanks until you feel confident enough to splatter your opposition. If you add additional enemies to the map, it actually makes things a little easier. You just need to scout and figure out which one is the strongest and kill him first. After that, you just keep tabs on the other two and attack the instant one sends his forces away. If there was a way to fight another human, the replayability would increase tremendously. However, since you can't, there is nothing new from game to game.
GraphicsMachines at War looks a lot better than it plays. All attacks damage the scenery, and all damage is kept until the end of the match. As such, it's quite common to see gigantic piles of wrecks on the main battlegrounds, and you can actually use the environment to figure out what's been going on. Overall, there's nothing wrong with how MaW looks.
SoundThe sounds of Machines of War are a different matter. While most of the gun sounds and tank engines are quite good, the verbal cues are completely random and highly jarring. For instance, if your radar discovers an enemy signature that is higher than itself, the game plays a sound that suggests that you'll be attacked from above. However, it will play that sound even if you've covered the entire top of the map. Also, there are no cues for when you're under attack. It's quite easy to lose half your base while attacking a computer. Not because you were unprepared, but because you simply didn't notice you were under attack.
ValueMachines of War weighs in at $19.95. This is perfectly reasonable for an average casual game that lasts for around 15-20 hours. However, MaW falls quite short of filling that time and isn't very fun beyond the first game or five. If it had multiplayer, unique tech trees, or even a decent-sized campaign, it would be worth it. However, it doesn't, so it isn't worth your money. As a mobile application Machines at War rises above the pack, but it needs quite a bit of work before it can stand evenly as a desktop application.
Pros• Destructable environment
Cons• Over too fast
• No campaign
• No multiplayer
• Single tech tree