Taking the concept from a short lived Godzilla series on the Game Boy Color, War of the Worlds is a fun shooter, even without the full control players would want. It’s extended, to say the least, and for a cell phone game, possibly too long. There’s plenty to play with here, though that initial shock over the gorgeous graphics wears off about half way through.
Controlling the tri-pods from the film, players don’t directly control the alien invasion. The screen scrolls automatically. What they do is aim (and move slightly left or right to avoid bombs). The aiming reticule is the key component, arcing in front of the ship for a full range of fire. Armed forces approach from the right and from there, it’s a matter of wailing away on the default button to blow them away.
Tilting the pods head is a slow maneuver. In later levels, it’s even worse as the onslaught from the humans picks up. Implemented to make that bearable is a combo system. By shooting the proper object, chains can occur, requiring only a single shot to bring down an entire fleet of adversaries. The feeling of accomplishment is wonderful.
In the early going, it’s going to lose people though. There are long stretches where nothing happens, and the only thing to do is admire the graphics, stunning regardless of what phone you’re using. Boss battles are disappointing, especially when you fight the same end level threat multiple times.
There are other issues too, like the constantly ticking down timer. This, like the rest of the game, doesn’t come into play until later but when it does, winning is almost impossible. Bosses hide their weaknesses for at least 15 seconds off screen, and that’s unacceptable. It’s by no means the player’s fault if they lose, and doing so requires a repeat of the level.
Still, War of the Worlds is fun. Even on a small screen, the sense of scale and size has been captured. You’ll have fun blasting away structures and watching helpless humans run from their impending doom. Taking down entire squads of armed forces provides a great feeling of invincibility, even when being slowly dismantled by firepower. You can even grab and throw things for higher scores.
There’s probably more to this one than most people will realize. You can do more than just aim and shoot, and it takes some time to figure that out. It needs a chance, and if it can grab hold early, War of the Worlds will stay on your phone. It’s an admirable attempt at making a movie-based game like this work on such a small medium, and a download will reveal a flawed shooter that remains entertaining, albeit repetitive.