iPhone Game of the Month: Uniwar
I’ve been a huge advocate of the iPhone/iPod Touch over the last couple years (not that Apple needs any help), and one of my favourite activities is playing multiplayer games on my iPod Touch 4 with my little brother. The best types of multiplayer iPhone games (in my humble opinion) are the kind that have asynchronous multiplayer. Think Words with Friends: you take a turn at a game, send the turn to your friend, and they take their turn whenever they have time. It’s a bit like chess-by-mail, but modernized. My brother and I played Words with Friends and Disc Drivin’ (both amazing games) but recently I’ve been hunting for something new. Turn-based-strategy seemed like a natural fit for asynchronous multiplayer, so we picked up this little game called Uniwar.
Uniwar has a lot in common with the Advance Wars series for the GBA and Nintendo DS. It’s a hex-grid based game where each player manages an army and attempts to take over enemy bases. You hold and capture bases, which gives you money to create more units and expand your army. There are three races/armies in Uniwar (think Starcraft), and they are incredibly well-balanced. Each army has eight different units, each with their own specializations and weaknesses. There is also some variation, as each race’s units vary in little ways from its enemies.
Humans, Bug Aliens and Robots
You have depth in the unit types, depth in the race selection, and there is also a ton of depth in the maps. Uniwar comes with 50+ maps to choose from, which range from two-player maps to four-player maps. It also has a solo campaign of twenty-one missions. The campaign, like many strategy games, serves as a tutorial for the multiplayer and will introduce every unit type of every race and teach you how to use them.
Round 52: You Have Wasted too Much Time on this Game
The online multiplayer options in Uniwar are pretty extensive, considering the platform it is on. You can choose a map, play with up to 4 people (or bots), choose a time limit per turn, and choose how much money-per-turn you will receive for holding bases. I started out playing with my little brother versus two computer bots, which helped me teach him some useful strategies for turn-based-strategy games. We then graduated to versus play, and all I can say is this game is a ton of fun. Games often last hours, and the amount of smack-talking that goes on is epic. Even on his first game versus me, my brother managed to almost beat me, demonstrating how accessible Uniwar is.
All About Balance
Turn-based-strategy games rely on balance to provide a fun multiplayer experience. After trying almost every combination of races and playing the game extensively, I think it is safe to say Uniwar is balanced incredibly well. Part of it is the low number of units. Having only 8 specialized units gives the game a “rock-paper-scissors” feel with the units. You’ll get used to which units are strong and weak against specific enemies. This “rock-paper-scissors” aspect of the combat will definitely play into which units you decide to spawn from your bases.
Uniwar is an older iPhone game, which was based on the free, online flash game. I’m pretty sure it came out about two years ago, but the developer Xpressed has been updating it constantly and it’s still a great game. I can’t believe I didn’t hear of it sooner, but now is the chance to try to spread the word. If you overlooked Uniwar, I suggest picking it up, you can find it for 99 cents at the iTunes Appstore.
If you end up picking up Uniwar, feel free to challenge me to a game! My username is “Jordanfwc”