Wolfenstein RPG a terrifically balanced and designed shooter for the rest of us

Posted: August 11, 2009 in RPG, Shooter

What would you get if FPS married RPG? You’d get a good looking Wolfenstein RPG, a turn-based shooter that exceeds my expectations and maybe yours as well. While the game is designed for the casual crowd, it’s still a great piece of gaming with an engaging story and a terrifically responsive control scheme that just works. I harp on this all the time, and will continue to do so until devs get this right. I don’t care what the graphics look like or if the storyline grabs you by the family jewels. If the controls don’t work properly, it’s an easy delete off my device. Wolfenstein RPG is a strong example of controls done right.

Unlike traditional shooters which tend to be full-on, gun battles, Wolfenstein RPG’s turn-based approach slows the game down. So if you’re looking for a fast-paced game, this isn’t it. When you shoot a bullet at an enemy, the enemy will take a shot back and so on. But having said that, the game is still fast, and the game is free roam until you get to the action when it becomes turn based. While the 2D graphics are old school, they fit the game perfectly and ran without hiccups on my iPod Touch 2g 3.0.

The story is set in World War II, and B.J. Blazkowicz once again must deal with our most hated enemies, the Axis Army a.k.a. Nazis within the confines of Castle Wolfenstein. Where the story gets interesting is that German scientists are getting creative with cloning meaning this game has zombies, mutants, wacked prisoners, enemy soldiers, and yes, even chickens. This sounds like a great B-movie in the making but alas, we have Wolfenstein RPG.

The game has 9 levels and 3 modes of difficulty—Normal, Hard and Nightmare—as well as well as two mini-games one involving game of War and another focused on long-distance chicken kicking. Probably not something to show the parents or allies of PETA, but know that these mini-puzzles also appear randomly in the game’s story mode.

To say that the game’s controls are the strength of Wolfenstein RPG would be an understatement. They’re some of the most responsive and intuitive controls available for this type of game. A d-pad is provided for side-to-side, forward/backward movement, and swipe left or right to turn in the desired direction. Movement through the corridors is smooth, and I have little very trouble getting where I wanted.

Along the bottom of the screen is the HUD, and it’s relatively straightforward. Tapping the various icons will bring up health, inventory, perks, and even a head of B.J. to skip a turn. The Inventory is a collection all items collected through the game including syringes, weapons, ammo, treasure, and health. These are things that you may come in handy later so the pack rat mentality helps here. A Journal is also available because you will come across information worth remembering. To round out, an overview map is also available showing where you are within the schematics of the castle.

In the game, B.J. has the ability to switch between different weapons, and the turn-based system does come in handy because it gives you the time to effectively make switches without the rush of a typical shooter. With weapons drawn, you tap on the target to shoot, but keep in mind that targets have an equal opportunity to fire back. In addition to weapons, you can use your fists and kicking abilities which tends to be entertaining if you’re into physical gaming violence.

The game is less about RPG and is rather more about interactions. Throughout the game, you do collect items and level up in terms of weapons and power, but those elements are pretty basic. The humor shines when it comes to interactions with prisoners and scientific and the occasional chicken. You have conversations with a variety of characters that tend to either be docile or completely off the wall because they’ve all been injected with weird substances…sounds like a typical San Francisco evening. Each of the cells with prisoners has a board showing what they’ve been injected with and their behavioral tendencies, and in some cases, you can even release the prisoners at your own risk.

Throughout the game, you’ll learn more about the experiments and of course come across the random syringe which you should keep for the later showdowns. But, the overall humor, while a little dark, definitely keeps you engaged.

The play in Wolfenstein RPG seems well balanced with plenty of enemies and side incidents to keep you busy, although I will say that playing at the nightmare level of difficulty offers quite the challenge. As I mentioned, the pace is different from the typical gun and run shooter, and in many ways, I find the turn-based approach ideally suited to the iPhone/iPod Touch platform. But to be honest, I would only recommend a handful of the typical shooters anyway. While hardcore gamers may find this game less than difficult, Wolfenstein RPG is definitely a top notch game for the casual gamer. It’s a worthwhile experience.

Albie Meter: 4.5 Stars (serves as an ideal introduction to the Wolfenstein series; great slower-paced shooter for those looking for a balance between intense and frenetic; controls are among the best along with high production values even with 2D graphics)

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