Battle for Mars review

Reviews Damien McFerran 18:19, 24 May 2010

We review Battle for Mars, a strategy game for Android

Battle for Mars isn’t the most original game in the world – in fact the concept is incredibly similar to that seen in Nintendo’s brilliant portable strategy series Advance Wars – but what it lacks in innovation it more than makes up for in polish, playability and challenge.

As the title suggests the action unfolds on the surface of the Red Planet with the player assuming command of the Earth army as it attempts to forcibly remove the incumbent Martians from their strongholds.

In each mission ultimate victory is only possible by infiltrating the headquarters of the enemy commander, but in order to get anywhere near achieving this objective you’ll need to take control of the many buildings which dot the Martian landscape.

The more buildings you occupy the more cash you’ll generate at the end of each turn, and cash is vital if you want to keep your army in perfect working order. Factories are available which allow you to produce fresh units; these range from weak foot soldiers to powerful robotic vehicles capable of wiping out entire legions of Martian adversaries.

While the temptation is there to simply create a massive force of killing machines it’s worth noting that each unit has its strengths and weaknesses. For example, the human soldier may seem rather puny when compared to some of the battle-hardened cyborgs you have at your disposal but it’s the only unit capable of entering a building and converting it to your cause.

Similarly, ranged units play a massive role in securing victory in Battle for Mars. While they may be next to useless in a close-quarters skirmish, their ability to fire on the enemy without having to receive any punishment in return is not to be underestimated.

Striking a decent balance between offence and defence is vital to success in Battle for Mars.

Dashing into the thick of combat in an attempt to enter your rival’s HQ as quickly as possible is only going to result in failure -some of the later missions take quite some time to complete because you’re constantly having to fend off attacks from your Martian foe while at the same time build up your own empire to ensure that when the time comes to push forward, you’re not left hopelessly exposed to a counter-attack.

In short, Battle for Mars is almost perfect in its execution and the addition of some brilliant B-movie inspired visuals only serves to enhance this impression.

Given the subject matter of the game it’s a shame that some kind of multiplayer mode wasn’t included and the 16 or so maps available won’t last you forever, but such criticisms are easy to brush aside when what’s on offer is of such an impeccably high standard.

If you’ve been holding out for a Android-based strategy title to pass away the hours then look no further; Battle for Mars is brilliant fun and should be downloaded immediately.

Battle for Mars info

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Platform: Android

Category: Strategy

Price: $4.99

Publisher: Larva Labs

Website/Demo: Larva Labs website

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