When two hot chicks wearing military fatigues guard your slogan, you know the game’s gotta be good… Draw Wars is marketed as a “real-time strategy meets tower-defense and puzzle game” sporting “stunning 3D graphics” and three different sceneries (forest, winter, desert). With such a smorgasbord of enticing game propositions, how could you go wrong? Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Let’s just say you and I sit down at a rather large folding-table, and I spread out a polyvinyl sheet with nothing but a grid on it and some hand-drawn terrain… with me so far? Then, I distribute a smattering of tanks, foot-soldiers, bases, pillboxes, anti-aircraft guns, bombers, and fighters on both sides. What would logically follow is an initiative roll followed by sequential turns, one after another, of opponent-smashing awesomeness. But, what if I told you to plan all your moves – every one of them – before I did anything. Before I even sneezed in your general direction. Would you buy it? If you’ve got any bit of strategy in your heart, HELL no. Yes, let’s start at the beginning…
It’s A Draw
Booting-up Draw Wars (and once you get past the two hot chicks straddling the logo), you’re presented with a limp-wristed tutorial… A tutorial that basically states, “Draw a bunch of lines, hope for the best, and oh… by the way, drag-and-drop some special crap on the ground to play it safe.” The first few missions are cake, despite the fact that you have no idea what you’re doing, but don’t get cocky… things get hairy in a heartbeat; and for all the wrong reasons.
As the reigning Commander, you’ll find yourself in control of many different units varying in capability. Tapping on an individual unit (pre-draw) will bring up an on-screen display that shows you exactly what said unit is capable of destroying, as well as what it should probably be running-away from. On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll find a small quick bar menu of special items (available for purchase) such as landmines, fog, air-strikes, etc. Unfortunately, there is no on-screen explanation for these items during combat… so, if you haven’t done your research outside of game, SOL.
So you’re sitting there, gazing down at the smattering of troops assigned to you in your time of need and wondering, “What now?” Easy. Draw some lines! Each mission begins paused, and based on the statistics of your own as well as your opponent’s armies, you must strategize – though, not exactly in real-time. Fighters do well against bombers, so drag a line around a few times so you can shoot them. Bombers do well against structures, so be sure do draw a few flight-paths around some buildings. Keep in mind that airplanes are one-shot-wonders – you can’t redirect them once you hit “go” – whereas tanks and troops can be re-commanded at will. Once you’ve coordinated all your movement paths, you tap “play” and the action begins.
If Draw Wars were an RTS, you’d be creating new units and sending them into battle real-time… which you will not. If Draw Wars were a “puzzle” game, you’d be told exactly what each unit and special ability does in advance of a battle, and the outcome would match your wits… which it does not. In-effect, Draw Wars takes both genres and smashes them together in a seemingly incomprehensible, stop-start game that frustrates to no end. If “puzzler” is your definition of frustration, and you are a masochist coming out of hiding for the first time, this game just might be for you. As for myself, I couldn’t even make it past the first campaign… Pro-tip: Drive your tank over every enemy battalion you encounter.
5 Stars To Victory!
Speaking of campaigns, there are three of these “campaigns” each sporting 45 levels; plus one final “locked” campaign which I’ll never get to. As you play, you’ll gain money which you can spend on various unit upgrades as well as purchasing new items. Should you ever find yourself running out of in-game money, you can simply sell your soul to Satan, give this game a 5-star rating in the Play store, and earn yourself a quick $1,000; a trend I’m so very unhappy with. Call me an idealistic, old-school game reviewer, but when I give your game some stars it’d better damned-well deserve them!
My last run at victory was a feeble attempt at restarting this game from the beginning, however that failed. The restart option seems completely borked, so don’t bother looking back, soldier. If you’re looking for a puzzle-type military game shrouded in the guise of an RTS, look no further… Draw Wars might be right up your alley! The vast majority of this game occurs within the first few seconds of each campaign – from the time you draw your first line to the time you hit “play”. However, don’t be fooled by the Play store propaganda… Draw Wars feels very much like an amateur game with some boundaries in desperate need of tightening.