Chromian Wars In-Depth Review

Chromian Wars has a few scratches on its surface beyond the tutorial issue. Most importantly, the one advantage of playing in AR mode is that the player can freely pinch-zoom and adjust his or her position to get a wide view of the battlefield and any power-ups that may have appeared. For now, non-AR mode provides a camera that strictly follows the controlled tank and limits the player’s view of the most expansive battlefields. (To note, you can switch to offscreen tanks by tapping on unit markers that line the screen edge). Secondly, its virtual joystick control option hinders the player’s ability to view tank stats; both the tank stats display and the virtual joystick are summoned up by tapping and holding, with the virtual joystick taking precedence even if the player taps and holds on a tank. Third, different tank classes are assigned to the player on a mission-by-mission basis and they seem to have different attack ranges, but the player isn’t warned of this important gameplay factor. Finally, the crew member system – wherein each tank has a driver, repair mechanic, and gunner – would fare better with an instant retry button in the pause menu. If the driver of the player’s last tank gets knocked out, all that’s left is to await defeat or exit to the main menu.

Chromian Wars’ 3D presentation is simple but Retina-crisp. Ironically, I found the game more attractive in non-AR mode thanks to the quality of my iPod Touch 4’s video feed and the lighting conditions available during my playthrough. I do wish the ammunition used by certain tank classes had a little more flair, as it’s difficult to tell whether some tanks are actually shooting. Chromian Wars sports an impressive rock-heavy soundtrack and a really neat touch in the audio department: sound effects grow louder if you pinch-zoom in on the action in AR mode. The single player campaign currently contains ten levels that should clock in at two hours tops, but twenty more levels are on the way and the player can squeeze some extra mileage out of an ad hoc Battle mode, the contents of which gradually unlock during the campaign.

iFanzine Verdict: Chromian Wars is in the midst of some growing pains at release, but its appeal has tons of potential to rise with updates — keep an eye out for AR-augmented multiplayer, more content, and further polishing of the single player campaign. For now, it provides a tantalizing glimpse into the potential of multi-unit tank combat games, and this alone is worth the free download to check out its first few levels.

Fair warning: word on the App Store has it that Chromian Wars currently crashes on the iPod Touch 3 and iPad 1. The game runs smoothly on an iPod Touch 4, however.

Addendum: Major update corrects vague tutorial text, solves the virtual joystick/unit info conflict, and makes driver knockout reduce tank movement speed rather than eliminate it entirely.