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iPhone  header logo

Picnic Wars

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Far from fruitful

Product: Picnic Wars | Developer: Crown Adam AG | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Casual, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1
 
Picnic Wars iPhone, thumbnail 1
If the product development team at Rovio's Finnish HQ is considering a 3D version of Angry Birds, they might like to examine Picnic Wars on the App Store.

It's not hard to imagine that 'Angry Birds in 3D' is exactly how developer Crown Adam pitched the game his game to Chillingo. This food-laden fiasco certainly attempts to hit the same beats: flinging objects towards rivals encased in a series of increasingly complicated constructions a familiar task.

But Angry Birds's simplicity has been sacrificed in an attempt to build a physics-puzzler with a more tactical edge.

Grow your own

Picnic Wars isn't just a case of loosely aiming a collection of fruit and veg at a band of similarly juicy foes - it's a game dominated by an upgrade system that relies on your ability to hit your mark with each and every shot.

You have to grow the greens that you throw, and progress comes down to taking out bags of plant feed hidden amongst the enemy forces. Other items also enable you to upgrade your weaponry.

Initially, a series of catapults are at your disposal, though the credit you amass (either by playing or through in-app purchases) allows you to switch these for more robust tools. For instance, cannon-like wine bottles let you fire food with increasing ferocity.

Targeting perfection

Such an approach is an attempt to add a measure of strategy to the typical Angry Birds model, forcing you to consider each attempt carefully.

As tempting as it may be to simply squish your foe with as few shots as possible, that strategy won't get you very far once the number of enemies rises and the structures they're housed in become more and more robust.

Success, therefore, is a question of finding a balance between picking up items if and when you need them and taking out the enemy when it's in plain sight.

While this immediately makes Picnic Wars a mite more muddy than most physics-based puzzlers, it's not the game's reliance on upgrades that undermines play but something far more fundamental: its aiming system.

Picnic Wars's isometric view means you can target multiple areas of the enemy's fort with up to four different weapons. While you can't change the angle of each shot, it's possible to move the launchers themselves back and forth. Naturally, the farther back you position them, the closer to the front of the structure your ammunition will hit.

The game's wide collection of both weapons and fruit and veg - each with their own particular traits - means determining where you should place your weapon to make the most impact is plain guesswork, however. There's no art or skill to it - it's just luck.

No juice

Conversely, once you've found the ideal spot it's then very easy to line up all your weapons accordingly and fire at will. Levels that looked completely out of reach at the start of play can quickly be flattened within a matter of seconds.

Early on, this focus on fortune delivers quite a buzz. When the stakes get raised, however, the random nature of your success becomes increasingly annoying, and Picnic Wars's lack of finesse soon erodes any will to play on.

Undoubtedly, Picnic Wars's 3D setup isn't the game's only flawed feature.

Some garish visuals that awkwardly mix painted 2D backdrops with blocky, rendered structures are set against a soundtrack that grates within seconds of start up. Unlike Angry Birds, there's no sense of sophistication at all to Picnic Wars's delivery.

But it's Crown Adam's attempt to build on Rovio's idea by shifting the perspective of play that ultimately falls flat.
 
Picnic Wars
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 26 March 2012
In trying to add a 3D twist to the Angry Birds premise, Picnic Wars ends up losing the addictive simplicity of Rovio's masterpiece
 
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