Posted by : Unknown Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A difficult journey to the end

War of the Worlds was a popular Spielberg movie a few years back with Tom Cruise, but it was originally a book by H.G. Wells from 1898. The game contains many excerpts from the book, and it's narrated by the awesome Patrick Stewart. The narration in this game differs from recent XBLA release Bastion in the sense that you play the narrator as he attempts to escape London from the alien attackers.

It looks great, sounds great, and the controls are simple, but it's a pretty difficult game that feels like an old-school 2D platformer.

I was watching a video on this game and the developers were discussing their inspirations which included Flashback, one of my favorite games of all time. Flashback was a 2D survival platformer that appeared on many platforms including the SNES and recently on iOs devices. After playing War of the Worlds, I could see how Other Ocean was inspired by Flashback. Both games don't really hold your hand, so your mistakes usually equal to death, and it's up to you to get the timing and platforming down in order to advance to the next area.

If you do fail an area, the game reloads pretty quickly, so you can get back into the action and attempt to re-correct your mistakes in a timely fashion.

I think this game could be enjoyed from the perspective as the player and an observer as the narration is engaging enough and the visuals compliment the words that Patrick Stewart is reading.

Here's the main setup of the game: You'll have to traverse through various areas in London as you attempt to escape the Martians who have invaded without warning. There are areas with simple puzzles, and then you'll find places where things get more difficult. There's only one way to get by, and you've got to figure it out, or you can't continue forward. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, but the games does get pretty frustrating, so I would recommended walking away when you get stuck, and come back after a break. I've actually had to do that with many arcade games, including Limbo and Braid.

War of the Worlds has a nice presentation, great narrative, and is easy to play, but is still difficult to get through. Play in bursts, enjoy the narration by Patrick Stewart, and that's when the game shines. Hardcore 2D fans will enjoy this challenge, but everyone else should play in small quantities and come back when you've had a little break from the game.

Developer- Other Ocean
Publishers- Reverb Publishing, Paramount
Release Date- October 26th, 2011
Price- $9.99 (800 MSPoints)

This review is based on The XBLA version of The War of the Worlds, provided by the Publisher, Reverb Publishing. War of the Worlds is available on Xbox Live Arcade for $10.

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