Review: Battlewagon (Xbox Live)
Battlewagon is a frustrating Xbox Live title. It looks fantastic, with clear cartoon graphics, maps and cut-scenes reminiscent of the Amiga and Atari ST days, and it all feels consistent and right. Yet at the same time the game is stunningly simple in terms of complexity and level construction. There is a good game here, but it's not one that you can find without the developers working at another level.
Version Reviewed: 220.127.116.11
Picture the scene, you are the rightful heir to the kingdom of MacGuffin, but before you can sit on the throne, four sneaky barons throw you out and across the border in banishment. All you have is a rusty cart that was once your father's. Bolting on armour, weapons, and other methods of waging war, you set back on the road to the kingdom, the throne, and your rightful place in the centre of it all.
See, it all sounds wonderful - and the graphics showing this story as you open the game are pitch perfect.
And then you start to play, and find out there's very little under the froth.
It's a level based game, with just a few levels open and visible on the map - play through these and be successful enough, and more levels will open. It's not strictly linear, so gives you a sense of choice and navigation, but it's actually quite restrictive, and you'll need to hit every level to make your way through the game.
Two styles of play await you - the first is the "catapult" style level, and if you're familiar with Angry Birds, then you know exactly what to expect. Guess what, you're going to get less. There's almost no bouncing off obstacles as you throw rocks and poultry through the air. It's a single shot trajectory game, rather than the complicated puzzle of blocks and destruction that you would expect. The game mechanic is basic, and the level design falls flat.
The second style has more promise, but again falls short of offering a good gaming experience. This is the Battlewagon of the title, and your job is to equip your Battlewagon with some armour, weaponry, steel ploughs to clear your path, and other additional bits and pieces. These are upgraded as you progress through the game, and you'll need it as you send the Battlewagon on its automatic attacks - all you have to do is wind up the Wagon and let it go, down the tracks, hoping you've given it just enough oomph to reach the end of the track without flying off it.
You can probably guess what happens in later levels - yes, the Battlewagon heads down the tracks with a catapult so you can throw rocks at the enemy.
I think the problem with Battlewagon is that it tries to do too much. There are two game styles in here, and by splitting the effort they've managed to ensure neither of them stands out. If you want throwing, you'll head to Angry Birds, and if you want tactics where you plan and see what happens, go for Plants vs Zombies.
I'm not sure if it would be forgivable at lowest 79p price on the Marketplace. As a full priced Xbox Live title, I'm really disappointed.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at