Do you like city-building? Strategy? Games where you can compete against other players and against a computer opponent? If so, you will find this Massively Multiplayer Online hybrid RTS an interesting and exciting mobile app for Android and iOS by Gameloft.
World at Arms is cast in a modern, slightly futuristic, “world” where you take on the role of the United States military rebuilding after a devastating attack by Russian and North Korean Forces, the “KRA”. While an exaggerated theme, Hollywood also produced several movies with a similar theme – Red Dawn (1984), Red Dawn (2012). This is a game though, so it needs to be evaluated more on entertainment value than geo-politics and authentic operational capabilities. A “TLA” would be knocking on my door if I did otherwise...
World at Arms is Free to Play but has an in-app store as should be expected. As with all games produced by Gameloft, you can expect very nice graphics, an intuitive user interface and smooth gameplay.
You start out with a small military base with only a handful of buildings. Your first task will be to build a place for your soldiers to eat – a messhall.
Expanding your base, expanding your production capabilities, building your army and fighting enemy forces (and other players) is the meat and potatoes of this game and entire genre.
Progress in developing your base is guided through the customary “quest” type system. By completing buildings, training units and fighting, you get rewards of many different types. You’ll be setting up barracks, oil production, mechanized factories all the while collecting their production so that you can buy more buildings and units.
Your forces start off with some infantry and a few Humvees with heavy weapons, but will eventually include tanks, helicopters, aircraft, naval vessels and higher tech “mech” units.
There are special buildings and units which can be acquired mainly through in-app currency (like on the left). As you play and complete missions, you will earn a good chunk of in-app currency for free.
You also receive a daily “random drawing” which can reward you with extra units, resources, or other items only available through the in-app store.
Games of this nature favor the socially active. If you can get your friends to play, not only will you have a stronger, more reliable alliance for competing against others, you will get extra bonuses – via sharing on Facebook. Ultimately, you will want to become part of an alliance or have your own. World at War is not a “pay to win” type game – as an alliance with many active, non-paying players can be as strong or stronger than a smaller alliance of paying players, active or not.
There are many more features to this game such as being able to fuse weaker units into stronger units, deep sea exploration and creation of titan-type Mech units such as the Atlas.
Being a wargame designer and an avid wargamer myself, I have high expectations. I’ve played almost all of the different games in the city-building, wargame strategy genre – from Ebony to Soldiers, Inc., for mobile and personal computers, and I honestly World at Arms the best entertainment value in its category – especially for being available on mobile.
Far too many of these games reduce Combat down to mathematical equations. Combat in World at Arms is more interactive, with opportunities to heal your units or blow up enemy units – above and beyond the capabilities of your own units. Stronger units will perform better, but between terrain and a some “strategic options” (like off-board missiles) you can take on stronger forces while striving for “force preservation” of your strongest units. That is, you can lose units faster than you build them if you are not paying attention to the broader picture.