It's like driving a sleek looking race car in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic -- all those good looks and speed and no where to go. The analogy may be lame but so is the overall feel of When Two Worlds War when after playing for a while you realize it's not going to get any better and yet the individual parts hold so much promise. Some really nice graphics, a smooth point-and-click interface, a good premise, decent sound and a detailed system of developing and/or upgrading the multitude of Military Units that sit at the core of the game are all wasted when the sum of the parts results in ho-hum game play. The biggest complaint, which may come as a surprise, is simply that the game is too easy to win. A tougher and smarter AI coupled with some specific tweaks here and there would do wonders for this game. For example, despite all the strategic and tactical details you need to master to build a galaxy-class fighting force, winning or losing depends solely on one item alone -- end a turn without any Military Units and regardless of what great technological advances you've researched, what grandiose strategies you've worked out or how many killer star ships you've got in the pipeline, it's over and your campaign can join the rest of the space junk orbiting your world.
As to mode of play, When Two Worlds War comes with an option that should be included in more games. Both real-time and turn-based systems are supported. The turn-based system (my preference) allows absolute total control over every factor in the game (at a considerable cost time wise) while real-time can become a frenetic exercise at peak action time, although this can be alleviated by use of the pause option during real-time play. Sadly, though, the more exposed to game play you get, the more you question some of the developer's designs. Examples: Where's the thrill of the hunt? Through one simple order, you're deposited on your enemies doorstep. Why are all the battlefields (yours, theirs and neutral space) exactly the same size? (Parallel universes maybe?) What's the significant purpose of the programming mode for determining new and daring attacks when the built-in library programs usually do the trick? What happened to the AI; why is it so weak?
Managing resources and assuring advanced technology is researched and applied to the various Military Units is quite nicely done. The all-important Military Units in the game each have ten possible attributes with each attribute achieving up to ten levels of technology. Upgrading is always cheaper than buying new Military Units so this particular aspect fairly dictates your decisions in that regard. When Two Worlds War can be fun (but not addictive) and plays well as a welcome diversion but long term prospects for taking up hard drive space isn't too promising.
Graphics: A little dated but sufficient to give the feel of a space-based world.
Sound: Very nice and unobtrusive yet appropriately mood-setting for a space-based game.
Enjoyment: Too much lost potential and "sameness" of play once you're in the details. Too constricting to reward the player for development of good strategic plans and tactical moves. Short on long-term pizzazz. Daunting set of keyboard controls.
Replay Value: With seven worlds to choose from and playing human-to-human spices up the game but most soloists won't spend too much time with better games available.
When Two Worlds War is a strategic simulation of interplanetary conflict. Resources, power stations, farms, laboratories, etc are controlled through a state-of-the-art military workstation used to explore and conquer other worlds. The strategy is to increase your own planetary resource and technology levels, while trying to build enough military units of a suitable type to conquer either a human or computer opponent.
People who downloaded When Two Worlds War have also downloaded:
Western Front, World at War Series (a.k.a. Operation Crusader, Stalingrad, D-Day: America Invades), World at War: Stalingrad, World War 2: Battles of South Pacific, Warlords, Wooden Ships & Iron Men, Warlords 2, Wargame Construction Set 3
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