Having grown up playing a whole lot of Worms games I’m extremely familiar with the turn-based action-strategy genre. Those games felt great while they were kept in their 2D confines, but as soon as the series made the jump into the third dimension things began to fall apart. Having that extra direction to worry about in a game that requires such precise aiming presents a whole new set of challenges and problems. Turret Wars looks to adopt and simplify this same concept, but ends up falling flat.
You’ll take control of a stationary turret placed randomly on the map with enemy turrets equally scattered around. From here you survey the map, find an enemy you want to destroy, take aim, fire, and miss. You will almost always miss your first few shots because the enemies are all so far away that most of the time you need to look at the tiny little mini-map to make sure that you’re actually pointing in the general direction of something. Here we see the game’s first major flaw: turrets can’t move. Since your enemies will never budge and the wind never changes force or direction, once you’ve managed to actually correct your aim so that you hit your target you’ll just hit the fire button over and over until they’re dead. This also works against you since as soon as one of the enemies decides to target you you’ve basically lost. This is made even more frustrating by the fact that when up against more than one A.I. opponent they will almost always prefer to fire at you than at each other, giving you the impression that the game hates you so very much. To make matters worse, there are occasionally planes that will fly by and drop bombs on you; bombs that you can’t avoid since you’re rooted in place. They do give you the ability to try and shoot down the bombers but since they move in real-time, even while you play the game in turn based mode, most of the time they will pass by while it isn’t even your turn. There are also a bunch of power-ups scattered around the maps, but none of them are really worth wasting a few turns trying to hit.
There’s also a real-time mode that essentially removes all of the strategy from the game and replaces it with a mad scramble to aim and mash on the fire button but it really isn’t any more fun to play. You can choose between four different turret types, each with their own special abilities, however only two of them really stand out. One of these is a turret whose shot can be nudged left or right while in the air, making it significantly easier to hit your target. The other turret of note is so overpowered that it breaks the game; after firing your shot you can self-destruct it in mid-air and take the shot over again after correcting your aim, as many times as you need in a single turn. To counter this, your shots deal slightly less damage, but when you never miss a shot this barely makes a difference since you’ll destroy most enemies before they can even hit you. There are also several different maps in the game, but aside from one stand-out the majority of them just seem like re-textured versions of the same geometry.
The game is also plagued by numerous bugs. I’ve already mentioned that the stiff A.I. almost always targets you, but that’s really only the tip of the iceberg. Around a third of the games that you try to play will end with the game locking up or crashing before it can finish loading. Another problem is that the random placement of turrets means that often there’s one turret that either can’t be hit or can’t hit anyone.
Most of the textures in the game feel flat and bland. The models are surprisingly well detailed, but this inconsistency with the texture quality gives most things a really strange unbalanced look. There are a few cool effects like the way your camera follows your shot through the air, however the camera snaps back at the moment of impact so you don’t actually get to see any damage. There are also some occasional graphics glitches, the most prominent of which is texture clipping on the planes. Another problem is that your HUD is always so cluttered that attempting to see things in front of you can feel far difficult than it should be.
There’s really only one audio track in the game that loops over and over with a techno beat that suits the style of the game pretty well but it’s such a short piece that it ends up getting repetitive pretty quickly. You’re also given the option to listen to your own music which I’m sure most people will prefer to use. Aside from the music the only sounds you’ll hear are some passable explosions and the game’s female announcer whose robotic voice just sounds and pronounces words like a Microsoft Sam, so overall nothing really stands out.
Turret Wars really isn’t a good game. It took a bad concept and somehow managed to make it worse. While you are given quite a few options to change things up a bit and most of the bugs could eventually be ironed out with a patch, there are just so many poor design choices that it’s almost impossible to enjoy the final package. This is a game that’s not worth playing no matter how inexpensive it is.
MustTap Score: Broken TapStraight up busted! You won't get anything good out of this one.
Certain aspects of the game might sound fun, but you're better off avoiding this one altogether.