In the late nineteenth century, H.G Wells, delivered to the world a fantastic science fiction novel by the title of: The War of the Worlds – a struggle for one man’s survival as he tries to find his wife during a battle between mankind and the Martians on Earth, well more specifically it seemed to focus on London. Whilst it is a great book, a movie adaption was made in the 1950’s which has since formed the basis for Other Ocean Interactive’s, 2D cinematic platformer available to download from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace today. You do not need to have read the book or watched the movie to enjoy this game, but it will test the patience of a Saint – if you’re up for a challenge, you’re going to be impressed.
Just as portrayed in the book and movie, the main character within the game is an unknown guy struggling to escape the Martian invasion and on a rescue mission. For the game, the unknown guy in the 1950’s era starts his day by taking a train journey when the alien invasion commences; soon the skies are lit with enemy forces and the world is now at war! Having discovered he is still alive after the derailment of the train, the only concern on his mind is making sure his family are safe and also still alive. With a total disregard for the safety of everyone else around him because a major catastrophic event has just taken place – this is every man for himself – it’s do or die, and the game has only just begun. Your objectives are to save yourself and your family.
As a 2D platformer the gameplay as expected is quite simplistic; your main character can walk left and right, run, jump, roll, climb and push. It is an immense struggle to stay alive and please do take this as a warning that the War of the Worlds is considerably hard, so if you want a game to challenge you – this really is going to challenge you. The language that came out of my mouth on what seemed like my 100th death only two levels in was shocking. The challenge is not in the solving of puzzles or the unravelling of clues; it literally is just trying to stay alive whilst maintaining the ability to keep going in the right direction. Perseverance and timing are your two best friends in the battle to survive the War of the Worlds; your enemies are Drones, Mechanical Spiders and ginormous Tripods who kill you in an instant.
Whilst your main character looks like the most boring man on earth with his smart causal clothing and hair quiff, the scenery around you throughout eleven levels is displayed as a truly impressive work of art. The monotones help set the dark atmosphere of a planet on the brink of being mass destroyed, the robotic war machines shiny chrome detailed and every bit as fierce as they appear to look on screen. People are running around trying to find safety, others killed outright and the landscapes a perfect picture of total devastation. Visually the War of the Worlds is utterly stunning – the backgrounds have their own story to tell and you could easily for a few moments just stop and stare on what is happening around you. It is very easy to get hooked into the story thanks to the setup of the scenes which portray various parts of London in the 1950’s.
Although the main character model is a bore which portrays no sense of emotion to the gameplay – the sheer genius of making your character work with the scenery and the events happening is the narrative voice-over throughout almost every moment. Voiced by none-other than the legend that is Sir Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Professor Charles Xavier from X-Men) Even I felt proud for Other Ocean Interactive, because it all comes together to put the gamer in an intense situation whilst being aware of the feelings of the character as you control and progress through the game. They’ve taken an old book, an old movie and brought the story back to life in an enjoyable cinematic gameplay experience that could be enjoyed by anyone. The War of the Worlds has been built from the ground up and as well as all of the character models and animations having been rotoscoped, each level contains multiple layers of 2D parallax which really sets the tone of the atmosphere. Those who have never read the book or watched the movie might just want to do so after playing this game – I’d even recommend it.
Although this is a single player game with no multiplayer, The War of the Worlds offers replay value in its survival aspect. You will not complete this in just a matter of hours and since almost half of the game’s Gamerscore requires a complete play through with no deaths, anyone who is able to obtain those Achievements should consider themselves extremely lucky – or even gifted! The only other game of this kind on the Marketplace right now is LIMBO, and in honesty, The War of the Worlds wipes the floor with it. Because of the difficulty setting, the amazing visuals, the fantastic gameplay and all at the price of just 800 MS Points, this game is certainly worthy of a 10/10. The only fault is that the Start Screen doesn’t look as good as the Pause Screen – Lame I know, but the only fault I could find.