Fight it out inside an alien life-form to bring the host back to life. This is the backdrop to a spanking new quick strategy game for the iPad.
Gameplay in Tentacle Wars is close to that found in Galcon. You send out your tentacles from a cell you control. If you reach an unpopulated cell you have to win it over, but there is not counter letting you know exactly how strong the tentacle has to be. To attack you can either just let the tentacles slowly suck the life out of the opponent, or cut them off from your base to make a quick attack. This of course means that you might fail, and your tentacle is lost completely. Most of the time it is needed though, as time generates more power to the cells. If your cell is attacked you can counter by sending out a tentacle to weaken the one from the enemy. This is the main difference between Galcon, and Tentacle Wars. Tentacles are handled as rigid structures that can’t occupy the same space, and in Galcon the crafts can fly past each other in the same space.
Tentacle Wars combines strategy with puzzle elements, and this is perhaps where it somewhat distances me. I am more into the strategy of it all, but when obstacles are introduced, and you feel forced to apply a single solution the game gets less appealing. I want to make decisions on the fly, and flank enemies in several steps. Still the majority of levels in the campaign allow me to use whatever strategy I want, but not always with success.
There is a two-player online multiplayer mode using Game Center that is all about quick strategy. I would have preferred being able to play versus a friend on the same device, or Bluetooth in the same room. Most multiplayer games on the iPad benefit from getting close, and personal.
Despite being set inside an alien life form I tend to forget the setting, as the backgrounds are black. Sure there are cells, and other odd organisms scattered across the background, but had the base colour been green or red for example it would have felt more organic. There isn’t much animation going on except the pulsing of cells, some organisms in the background moving about slowly, and tentacles shooting out. Highly polished at that, but at the same time somewhat stale considering the subject matter. No retina resolution for the new iPad also hurts the game, especially when I have just played games with better resolution and switches to Tentacle Wars. A highlight for me is the voiceovers that are great. A woman introduces the worlds, and it has a definite ominous feel to it. Much like in the movies when a computer AI speaks. Emotionless while carrying vital information. The music is more of a dark ambience fitting well with the theme.
Developer FDG Entertainment has a great track record when it comes to iOS games. Ranging from excellent puzzle games such as Beyond Ynth, Cover Orange and Blueprint 3D to the deep RPG Across Age. I am by no means surprised that FDG releases a polished game such as Tentacle Wars. I would however liked to see a bit more own personality, as it is both visually and in terms of gameplay close to iOS classic Galcon.
Tentacle Wars is a highly enjoyable quick strategy game that at times gets too close to being a puzzle game instead. The 40 levels can be completed within a couple of hours, and then you can replay them for better grades. A lack of local multiplayer, and retina graphics for the new iPad hurt the overall impression. Still it is a fun game that any fan of Galcon, or other quick strategy games will enjoy.
Tentacle Wars HD $2.99
Seller: FDG Mobile Games GbR