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For: iPhone

Boom boom pow

Product: Warheads | Developer: Pangea Software | Publisher: Pangea Software | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
Warheads iPhone, thumbnail 1
Warheads's gift to the world is showing just how eye-popping war can be. That's not only because no-one dies in its cataclysmic contests, but rather because the explosions that light up its sky are so spectacular.

The resulting fireworks provide the game its strongest selling point: bright explosions paired with gameplay familiar to anyone who has ever sampled Missile Command.

It's a fresh perspective that isn't without a downside, however.

It doesn't take more than a couple of seconds to grasp what Warheads is all about. With waves of enemy missiles heading straight towards your city, your job is to take down as many as you can for as long as you can (defeat being inevitable), but not before you've given the game a good run for its money.

Missile megalomania 

Taking the enemy missiles out requires nothing more than a mere touch of the screen where you wish to fire, making sure the resulting explosion takes down the rocket before it reaches the ground.

Ammunition supplies are limited, but can be topped up by shooting ammo carts that float in from above. There are also power-ups that charge up your attack, offer more powerful explosions and even nuclear blasts that destroy all incoming missiles.

As you might expect, each wave ups the intensity. The game gives you four city sectors to defend, albeit one at a time. When all your rocket launchers have been taken out or your ammunition finally runs dry, the sector is essentially lost.

All these explosions – including those by your own hand and those that signal your demise – are both a strength and weakness. By giving combat such weight, the screen literally shaking as you come to blows, gameplay is given an added edge.

Close to combustion

Yet, this is a game optimised for play on iPhone 3GS and, by its own admission, that edge causes it to suffers slightly on older iPhone or iPod touch devices. As the waves pass, so the stuttering begins. Expect an extra split-second or so added on to the response time.

Even the option to reduce the visual effects doesn't eradicate slowdown completely. For a game that's so reliant on testing your quick reactions, to put an extra hurdle such as this in your way is sinful.

It's the one sour note in an otherwise solid missile defence sim. Warheads successfully conveys an apocalyptic atmosphere in the midst of all the action, but not without gameplay itself suffering as a result.
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 5 March 2010
Not without some slowdown issues on older models, Warheads nevertheless offers an explosive, enjoyable take on missile defence
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