Reviews

iWesnoth HD Review

You can keep a good game down.

Update: 

The developer has released a fix to the in game touchscreen controls- making the game immensely more playable. Framerate issues still need to be ironed out, but there has been a big step forward in how the game functions on iDevices. (tested on an iPad 4th gen)

good

Read below for the original review.

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The Battle for Wesnoth is a popular PC strategy title that was ported to iPad and iPhone years ago. Those of us who enjoyed the initial release have been left wanting for updates. Retina is not functional on the new iPad, and changes have been made to the PC source that leave the original iOS version outdated.

Enter iWesnoth. What may look like a knock off to some is actually a perfectly legal second port of Wesnoth by another developer. This does mean that owners of the original Wesnoth port will have to pony up the extra cash to experience this new appearance of Wesnoth on Apple devices.

The biggest concern of existing Wesnoth fans will of course be the port quality. The game has already been established as a stellar title. A satisfying blend of Fire Emblem and Advanced Wars, Wesnoth provides tactical fantasy gameplay with strategic role playing underpinnings. Players raise armies during battles, but troops that survive the mission can be recruited in later battles with the benefits of their experience. While players aren’t micro managing each character, there is a good sense of progression. The hex based maps are colorful, varied, and provide for a good mix of scenarios. The game’s story provides a good push through the campaign.

Although, it is unfair to say that Wesnoth has only one campaign. The game comes pre-loaded with hours of content across multiple campaigns, and players have the ability to download seemingly infinite amounts of user generated content. If you want to learn more, go try the free PC version of Battle for Wesnoth.

None of this will come as a shock to existing Wesnoth fans, but the quality of the port may keep them from switching to the newer version. While the game is graphically sound, many of the user interface elements are just not well suited for touch devices. The biggest flaws have to do with navigation. Scrolling about the map is nearly impossible (literally impossible if I want to scroll to the right, for some reason) and I have had to largely stick to navigating by pawing at the mini map. This spells disaster for the iPhone version. This same issue extends to attempting to move one’s units and complete attacks. It is almost better to know exactly where you want to move before tapping a unit, but most people can’t calculate out a unit’s range in their heads. There are also severe framerate issues on the iPad 4th gen, why did I buy this thing again?

These flaws cripple the game, but the developer seems active and willing to update and correct them. Still, I can’t say that the quality of the port is appropriate for a full release at this time. The undeniably enjoyable gameplay of Wesnoth is here, along with the more recent updates to the PC version, but it is harder to get to it. I will keep an eye on this title and provide updates, if anything it has potential.

Final Score: 

mediocre

iWesnoth HD is available on the App Store for $3.99, the iPhone version is a separate download, and also costs $3.99 (although I would score that version lower)

 

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