Cartoon Wars is an arcade war game that combines the “Tower Defense” and Real-time Strategy genres. Think of the Civil War: You have both enemy lines, standing at either sides of a field. And then, they go at it. That’s what this game is all about. You have your castle, and the enemy has theirs. You have your line of defense, and of course, so do they. Your goal is to try to defeat your enemy by firing your cannon, and sending out your troops to kill your enemies and destroy their castle. You are essentially ”The Cartoons” and the opponents are trying to take down the Cartoon Empire. Your enemies are the more colorful, evil characters. Throughout the game you gain gold, which can be used to upgrade your soldiers, upon other things, to make them stronger. Now enough of this; let’s get into some details. Read on for the full review…
Gameplay & Controls
The controls in Cartoon Wars are fairly simple. At the bottom, you have your line of soldiers, which vary in cost, effect, and power. You can also see your castle, cannon, and Mana Booster. These are all vital variables in the game. Your cannon is an extra weapon you can use to kill the monsters that are heading your way. This is a great feature, because you might not have enough mana to spawn a Cartoon, in which case, you can fire bullets at them instead. The yellow switch at the bottom right is what you use to fire said cannon. You can slide the switch to the right to increase the range for enemies that have just spawned, or you can slide it to the left to decrease the range, for enemies that have escaped your hellfire. Unfortunately, this is a very bad design for firing the cannon. The reason being, whenever you touch the yellow orb, it fires the cannon, which means you can’t aim the cannon without firing it. Since this cannons fire can also damage your own, it makes this concept poor. Your castle is also very important. It’s what keeps your Cartoon’s thriving. Your enemies are trying to achieve the same goal that you are, which is to destroy your castle. Your castle has a bar at the bottom, indicating how much strength your castle has left. When your health reaches zero, you guessed it, your castle crumbles, and you lose the round. Your Mana booster is a very important supply in your fight against the monsters. Mana is what you use to spawn Cartoon’s. Each soldier has a dedicated amount of mana required to spawn one. The ones that take less mana are obviously less powerful. You can see that you have a limit, at the top right. You are able to temporarily upgrade your Mana Booster while in battle so it can exceed the limit. As you can see, some units cost more than 100 mana, so upgrading is a must. I have found that many of these units aren’t worth the mana that they take. You get mana as time goes by (increasing by 1 every second; until you upgrade) and killing enemies also increases it. It takes longer then you think. It will take a few minutes for you to get a decent amount of mana, and when you do, you end up blowing it on one of the “higher quality” Cartoons. These Cartoons are powerful, but they die almost as easy as one of the lower quality ones, which is why buying loads of weaker ones is more logical then spending it on one unit that will die within a minute. I hope that in future updates, they will either enhance the strength of the more expensive ones, or they lower the cost on them.
Here is the screen where you can upgrade various things, ranging from Cartoons, to your castle, etc. Each of your soldiers can be upgraded 5 times. With these upgrades, they get stronger, offense and defense wise. You pay for upgrades in gold, and with each upgrade on a unit, the cost goes up drastically for the next one. Too drastically. I hope they improve on that in future updates too. Once a Cartoon reaches their maximum level of upgrades, they turn into another Cartoon. For example, the Warrior starts off with a stick. When upgraded 5 times, he obtains a spear. The Ninja loses his shuriken, and gains the ability to breath fire, and so on and so forth. Other things you can upgrade are your castles health, the rate of gold income, fire speed, range, and damage for the cannon, general upgrades to the Mana Booster, and faster cool times so you don’t have to wait as long to spawn another unit.
Presentation & Graphics
The graphics on this game are pretty low-class. Some people may think it’s “cartoony” like it should be, just by looking at the screenshots, but when you are playing it, the graphics are sketchy, pixely, and the generic blood explosion doesn’t help the situation. At times, I’m glad the graphics are like this, because I feel that if they were any better, the game would lag like there’s no tomorrow. I suppose some people would like the graphics, although they look like they were ripped from a NES game, so I’m not going to bash them too much, but I guess it’s all preference. At this point I describe the graphics as… Cute… as in a 12 year old kid did it. Upon entering the game, you are prompted with a tutorial that shows you the basic things you need to know to play the game. They don’t teach you many things thereafter, so you are forced to figure some things out for yourself. They could have gone into explaining the controls more, as I was stuck at trying to figure out how to operate the cannon. I hope there will be MAJOR updates to the graphics, but doubting that, I hope there is at least a sequel, or another game similar to this.
The music in this game sounds mythical and medieval like, with bells and violins and whatnot. It fits the game quite well, but it sounds like its skipping. It seems like someone took the audio file, cut and copied a piece from it, and played it over and over and over. For this reason, I play my own music while playing this game, which is the sunny side of this dilemma. You are able to play your own music from your library by double-tapping the home button. I do like the simple sound effects from the fights though. The sound of sticks swiping, rocks crushing, and guns shooting adds a subtle effect to the game which keeps me playing it, among other things. Now, I don’t expect much from the audio in an iPhone game, but this music really annoys me. It also needs to be fixed.
This game can keep you going for quite a while, but after everything is upgraded, it gets boring, and I mean boring. I haven’t played this game since I last upgraded everything, because without anymore things to stride for, I see no point in playing it. If this game had very frequent updates, I could see myself getting into it again, but there have been no signs of updates, besides a minor bug fix. I hope they do have plans for it in the future though.
This game is fun. I’ll give it that. But it lacks quality in too many fields. The graphics don’t bother me that much when I’m really into it, but they are noticeable. The gameplay is fun, with all the upgrades, Cartoons, suspense, etc. which kept me going. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be playing it too much after you fully upgrade things. It gets boring and repetitive after a while, but luckily, it’s only $0.99, so it wasn’t much of a loss.
Gameplay & Controls – [rating:4.0/5] I enjoy the gameplay and the simple, easy to learn controls, but some of the controls have flaws, as well as the gameplay.
Presentation & Graphics – [rating:2.5/5] The graphics are very low-quality and could’ve been worked on longer.
Audio – [rating:3.5/5] The music is quite annoying at times because of the track sounding like it’s skipping, but the sound effects are good, and I like listening to them.
Replay Value – [rating:2.0/5] It may just be me, but I can’t see myself playing this game again in the future, not because it’s bad, but because it’s repetitive.
Value for Money – [rating:3.0/5] This game does provide hours of fun gameplay, but after about a week, there is nothing much left to do. It’s only $0.99, so it’s not a big loss.
Price: $0.99 Developer: Ganawoo Choi Size: 3.0 mb Version Reviewed: 1.0.1 Released: August 6, 2009 Requirements: OS 2.0 or later