Uniwar: Review and Tips & Tricks

My favourite gaming genres are Strategy, Simulation and ‘Slick’ (self-coined category for all games cool and awesome!). Ever since MoreGames Entertainment’s Orions: Legend of Wizards, most of the other titles have failed to impress.  When Uniwar popped up on my daily scan of hot apps, its billing as a turn-based strategy game, shades of Advance Wars-meets-Starcraft and a wonderfully low price tag of US$0.99 were more than enough justification for my trigger happy fingers to make the purchase.

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Uniwar is a turn-based strategy game that offers a surprisingly deep gameplay despite its simple objective of capturing the opponent’s (AI or human) bases.  Xpressed really cranked up the bar on this title, especially in the graphics and multiplayer departments.  There’s a total of three races (Sapiens – humanoids, Titans – mecha and Khraleans – aliens) to go through in the campaign mode, and to pick from in the solo and online play. There are four unit types – Ground Light, Ground Heavy, Aerial and Aquatic – with varying cost, mobility, attack range, attack strength against each unit type, defense strength and range of sight, and a total of 9 different terrain types that add/subtract from your attack/defense.  The various permutations and combinations seem crazy at first, but is also responsible for giving the game its depth.

The following is a list of features mentioned on its iTunes AppStore page:

  • 3 races, each with varied units
  • 50+ maps to choose from with up to 8 players
  • Play up to 20 games at once
  • Team play allows 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4
  • Campaign mode with 21 missions
  • Play modes: Multiplayer online, VS the phone A.I., VS friend on same device (hot seat) and campaign mode
  • Worldwide Global Ladder
  • Email notifications when it is your turn
  • Cross-platform game. Play your friends even if they have another phone model.

I‘d advise beginners to complete the standard campaigns to get familiar with the maps, units and their special abilities, and how they could be weaved into effective strategies.  As expected, game interface is intuitive and idiot-proof, and the accompanying documentation says enough without giving too much away. In-game sound effects are exquisitely and appropriately done, to the point that one could close one’s eyes and listen to the accompanying effects for each units’ actions and guess its race correctly 9 out of 10 times.  However, I found the AI decisions to take a while in rounds with more units, even with the fast forward button tapped.  Still, a great game overall, and certainly worth the US$0.99 price tag.

Preview of Uniwar by developer – as recorded by toucharcade.com

It’s much more fun to figure some things out yourself, but if you’re feeling lazy and/or are in need of a little inspiration, here’s some of my own findings and analyses:

  • A strong start is crucial and not merely necessary – this is especially true on smaller maps, where you’ll soon find enemy units breathing down your base tiles.  The smaller the map, the more likely you’ll find yourself producing a swarm of Light units (soldier types preferrably) and moving them into advantageous terrain to hold off the initial wave while your coffers fill up for the badass Aerial/Heavy/Aquatic units;
  • Terrain is your light units’ best friend – the basic soldier units (Marine, Mecha and Underling) are deceptively weak, that is, until you park them on the base, forest and mountain tiles.  On the other hand, Heavy units fare much better in open terrain.  As Sun Tzu would say, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.“;
  • Make full use of your light units’ special abilities – the Sapien’s crummy Marine aside (no special ability), the Mecha’s Teleport is great for a Blitzkrieg approach by mass-teleporting 4 – 5 Mechas around a base with a light unit stationed, while the Underling’s Bury is good for maneuvering them out of harm’s way and springing a surprise on that pesky enemy unit or even a base tile.  My personal preference is still the Mecha though – aliens aren’t quite my cup of tea in general ;-);
  • Look for opportunities to occupy the opponent’s base tiles with your high mobility units to stem the tide of enemy units;
  • Combined arms while factoring in terrain (i.e. in formation ) can work wonders – depending on the terrain layout, one could mix and match a unit or two of each and take out any opposing unit in a single turn;
  • Plan your resources and unit needs and construction momentum – survey the map and decide on a course of action that’s at least 2 – 3 turns deep, and an aggressive and a conservative engagement plan.  Against the AI, for a sure win, there’s no harm taking the conservative approach if you don’t mind playing through more rounds.  Against humans, it might be wise to build a unit with high range of sight, and get a sense of the opponent’s unit mix and construction pace, before deciding on your response.

Multiplayer is where the game truly excels – replayability ratchets up many notches once you realize you can play up to 20 games with other folks from around the planet.  In-app registration and login was flawless and speedy, and each time an opposing player makes a move, you’re informed via email.   Completing a move in one game would move you to the next available game awaiting your move – a simple but thoughtful gesture.  The email notification starts getting on your nerves though – should you ever play 20 games, your inbox will most likely be clogged up with emails bugging you to make your next move *wince*.

Oops! I just got 4 emails signaling that it’s time for me to make my moves in 4 different games – that’s the end of my review for now!

About James Chan

James Chan is an entrepreneur, investor, geek, photographer and husband/father based out of Singapore. Apart from frequent travels to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for work, James can also be found online via his trusty 15" Retina MacBook Pro or iPhone 6+.