By Joseph Luster

It’s kind of amazing how far war strategy games have come on mobile devices over the years. It seems like just yesterday I was settling for some rather rudimentary turn-based entertainment, but now we have more solid and impressive options like Kermorio’s Wars and Battles. While the focus was on Battle of Normandy 1944 when Wars and Battles first launched, updates are keeping it true to its name, and the latest release tackles The October War 1973.

The first thing that stood out to me in Wars and Battles was the overall presentation. Everything from the menus to the in-battle assets looks particularly nice, and it’s clear a great deal of care and enthusiasm for the subject matter went into its development. Despite the occasional hiccup here and there, the battles that are peppered throughout each historical period are similarly engaging. With relatively little hand-holding, Wars and Battles drops players and their units on a hex-based grid and tasks them with simply emerging victorious.

Victory can be gained in many ways. There are territories that can be taken on most maps, making it more of a game of movement than holding your current position and slowly taking out the enemy forces. There’s also the option of simply scoring more points than the opponent by destroying units and keeping your side stronger than theirs. This is how most battles will play out, especially in the beginning. It’s not necessarily the fastest way to go about combat, but it’s rewarding nonetheless. The unit-on-unit combat is based on dice rolls tied to factors such as how many life points your respective units have, and one of the tips the game most heavily emphasizes involves heeding the likelihood of success predicted prior to attack. If you have even a 2:1 chance of defeating the enemy, it might be best to rethink your strategy, because you’re going to lose that showdown half the time. Anything higher than that swings things in your favor considerably.

It’s a fun system that works well in gauging your odds of victory, but it’s occasionally limiting and can make you second guess outcomes that otherwise look like surefire wins. That’s part of the gamble inherent in Wars and Battles, so while the dice roll is usually spot on, those with the tendency to take their chances might find some real thrills in going against the odds and trying their luck. Outside of that, battles are continuously spiced up with new features throughout the campaign. One mission might toss in naval units that can attack enemy units from afar, for instance. Wars and Battles isn’t satisfied with giving players the same missions over and over, and that’s what makes it a well above average mobile strategy game.

Visuals on the grid stand out a great deal. The map looks pretty good in the default setting, but there are a bunch of different options depending on how you prefer to oversee things, including one that turns it into a straight-up overhead 2D view. It’s also really easy and satisfying to pinch, turn, and zoom in and out of the map with the touch screen, making things that much more immersive and helping to break up any monotony that might set in with one of the longer missions.

A few issues do hamper the experience, but there’s nothing terribly deal-breaking in there. Load times can be a bit on the long side, and I experienced a small but noticeable handful of crashes that kicked me out of the app. On the bright side, Wars and Battles frequently auto-saves your progress in the overall game and in individual battles, so there’s very rarely any risk of actually losing the hard work you’ve put into a mission. That’s especially handy once the missions get longer—three-star indicators on the menu let you know the difficulty level and the duration of each—because having to redo one of the more extensive battles could be grueling.

Wars and Battles is currently available on iOS and Android devices, with PC and Mac versions coming soon. Next up after The October War 1973 are battles based on Kharkov 1943 and The Korean War 1950-51.

Publisher: Kermorio S.A.
Developer: Kermorio S.A.
System(s): IOS, Android, PC
Available: NOW

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