Battle for Wesnoth Review: Old-School Strategy Galore

Turn-based strategy has been a genre that has shown promise on the iPhone, starting with the release of Mecho Wars from Oyaji Games and escalating to the level of PSP quality with the release of Rogue Planet from Agharta Studios.  But nothing truly beats PC quality, as the PC has been the pretty much the basis of all video games.  That’s where Battle for Wesnoth steps in, being a port of an open-source turn-based strategy game driven by the community.

Battle for Wesnoth was first released in 2003 by David White, then made as a free software, and eventually expanded onto many different platforms including the Mac, PC, and Linux operating systems.  A smart genius, Kyle Poole, then decided to port Battle for Wesnoth onto the iPhone, becoming one of our most favorite turn-based strategy games available on the iPhone.

Likes

Never Run Out: No matter how long you play, Battle for Wesnoth will never run out of content.  You will never sit in your bed thinking that you just beat Battle for Wesnoth, because well, it just will never happen.  With hundreds upon hundreds of hours of gameplay, the average human won’t have enough will to continue and eventually finish the game.  On top of that, the developer continually updates the game with free, additional content; the latest adding another 20 or so hours of gameplay.

It’s a little burdening to have so much gameplay to deal with, but it is what it is.  And even if you do find a way to finish the game, you’ll find yourself challenging people with the cross-platform online multiplayer, meaning you’ll be able to play people playing Battle of Wesnoth on their PC.

Artwork: This is an area that I thought was very well executed, including the pixelated, old-school characters to the loading screens and dialogue boxes.  It’s not an area that it particularly excels in, but it looks good enough to look like Battle of Wesnoth on the iPhone, not just a lackadaisical port.

Depth: There’s enough depth in here to drown you and eventually suffocate you.  Okay, so maybe not that much depth but enough to keep you interested.  There’s the day and night factor, the water factor, some sort of triangular power pyramid, and more little niches in the gameplay I haven’t quite discovered yet.  Either way, most will find the depth quite pleasing and satisfying.

Dislikes

User Interface: Buttons are extremely small, fonts are sometimes hard to read, and I find myself slowly tapping on a button as to not accidentally press something else.  It definitely needs some work as its far from easily accessible, and the average user may start to find some frustration after trying to handle the interface.

Memory Issues: These include speed, crashes, and much of that ugly stuff.  Even after the episode 2 update, I’ve been having many crashes still along with a little (although not too noticeable) amount of lag on my iPhone 3GS.  The App Store is long past the crashing and sluggish issues, and it’s something the developer really needs to work on before Battle for Wesnoth becomes a runaway success.

Battle for Wesnoth is a solid turn-based strategy game that will continually be in development, a fact that I find some comfort in.  But for now, that game is still ridden with bugs and crashes along with a horrid user interface.  The game itself is definitely one of the better turn-based strategy games out there, but again, it still needs to iron out the memory issues.

Battle for Wesnoth was developed by Kyle Poole, and I played through version 1.2 on my iPhone 3GS.  The price is $4.99, and there is a free version to try before you buy.


About Daniel

I have been an iPhone game addict ever since the NES emulator came out on the 1.1.4 iPhone 2G. After 2.0 and the App Store came out, my iPhone homescreen has never been the same. Other than writing reviews for App Store games, I play soccer/football, American football, volleyball, and golf. I love going to the beach and fishing on the pier. Some games not available on iPhone/iPod Touch that I truly love are the Call of Duty series, Guitar Hero III, Madden NFL 09, and PGR: Gotham Racing.

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