I'm really no fan of turn-based anything. That's a hell of a way to start this review, I know. See when I was a kid, I was really into table top strategy games like Warhammer and D&D, but as time went by my patience with the medium waned. At this point I don't know anyone who's into gaming with miniatures and I'm not interested in them for anything other than some nice memories.
|Pudding Lane sounds so happy doesn't it?|
|Definitely not in Kansas|
Anyway, the second thing that hooked me was the setting. TWL is set in the gritty trenches of World War One. How many games do you see set in WW1 these days? And a horror game set in WW1? I'm a sucker for a unique tale, so I was dying to get to know this one better. That's something I'm glad I did.
As I said, The Wasted land starts off deep in the trenches of the first great war. Britain and Germany (remember, no Nazi's yet) are locked in tight, brutal, combat. Trench warfare was, for the most part, up close and personal- and a horribly bloody affair. If that wasn't bad enough, add in some bizarro stuff that starts to appear via a sect of strange German cultists, and then the high-strangeness really starts.
|Pigeons+Coordinates = Boom|
Special counter options like gas masks are available for some though, as are massively devastating attacks like artillery bombardments. That's quite a sight to see if you're starting to be overwhelmed by the way. You're actually able to kit out your men fairly well and there's a nice stat system in place too. I was quite surprised by the depth.
Graphically, this one is solid if unspectacular and that might actually be the only down point of The Wasted Land. Things don't look bad per say, playing out in a semi-overhead/three quarter view; most everything looks good enough. That said, it's not going to blow you away. Not that it really has to, this isn't meant to be an in your face extravaganza, but if that's something you're looking for, you might be a little disappointed. The audio could have used a little kick in the pants too, while we're on the subject, and the 'theme song' (fitting for the source material) might actually drive you insane. But honestly, I'm picking because there's a lot to like here.
The relatively small levels are very well designed and have some neat elements. I would have liked just a tad more work to have been done on the tertiary details of the game though. Stuff like the effects for the med-kits just seem out of place in a grime-soaked game like this and the look of the inventory screen is definitely lacking. Maybe a little too old school... Once again though, I have to reiterate that none of this gets in the way of the game providing an enjoyable experience and that says something.
|This should be familiar to genre fans|
Even if you're not all that into turn-based strategy, I think I can safely say that you'll find a lot to like with The Wasted Land. The Lovecraft universe is loaded with ancient relics, long sleeping gods, and some deeply mystic overtones. Not all that into old H.P's work? That's okay too, because if you're just a general horror dude or even a comic book devotee- you'll more than likely find the fiction crafted here right up your alley.
Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is an excellent example of how to do strategy right on the iOS family of devices. This is one 'Call' that you should most definitely answer.
Reviewed by Jason