Mar 20, 2012

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Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Review

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Review

I have to admit that when I first started playing Red Wasp Design’s Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land, I was not quite sure what to expect. I haven’t had the chance to sit down and read any of H.P. Lovecraft’s cult novels and I’m a novice when it comes to the Cthulhu mythos. Also, my experience with games on the iOS device have been with titles such as Angry Birds, Tiny Tower, and Sudoku. Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is a turn-based strategy game based on the short story “Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft. Was Red Wasp Design a victim to the madness of the Cthulhu mythos or did they deliver a title worthy of the name Cthulhu?

Working with Chaosium, the publisher of the award-winning tabletop RPG of the same name, Red Wasp Designs brings the paper RPG to life on a different medium. Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is set during World War 1. However, just because the game is set in a factual time period, players will encounter many mythical creatures and horrors. Players control a team of soldiers and investigators as they fight for their lives and sanity against invading soldiers and cultists. German soldiers are the least of your party’s worries as the title takes a twist into the dark horrorific realm of Lovecraft.

Two features of Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land that allow it to stand out above all other apps available in the Apple iTunes Store is the music and graphics. They both go hand in hand to give the title, giving it even more of a dark and sinister tone. From the second you load the game, your ears are treated to an eerily abstract soundtrack. Impressive graphics look as if the game was made for the PC instead of the mobile device. Yes, these are not the sort of graphics we come to expect from big-name developers. But Red Wasp Design did not hold back in these departments. The sound effects when you are on the battlefield are realistic, from the sounds of bombs to the firing of guns.

Gameplay for Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land did present some issues before the latest version was released and corrected the problems. Starting the game up for the first time, you are given the choice to pick one of two difficulties; normal and hard. There is a training mode which is recommended for all players to choose when you play for the first time. If you have ever played tactic or strategy RPG games, you will have some knowledge on how to play the game. During the Mission part of the game, you use touch controls to move your party members from one point to another and to carry out attacks. It is simple to know what to tap once you start playing, though the difficulty of the game can be hellish. Even on the normal mode, the game will punish you if you’re the sort of gamer who likes to rush into battle.

Those who are able to sit back and use their brains to form a strategy against the mounting forces will be able to survive. Hitting the enemies, even from point blank, can be hit-or-miss. Being close to the enemy doesn’t mean you are more likely to hit as I had more hits when attacking at long range than close range. One issue that I had with Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land was the occasional lack of response with the touch controls. I had soldiers moving across the trenches when I wanted them to fire their rifles at an enemy, for example. The latest update to the title did fix this issue, but it still occurs for me from time to time.

Expect to lose track of time with this game. With the missions lasting as long as needed to complete all objectives and the few that require you complete them within a set amount of turns, this title will definitely give you many hours of gameplay. Not every experience will be the same thanks to the ability to customize how your party handles missions with the use of magic or weapons. This is perfect for those who might want to see if trying out a new strategy can make a major difference in the heat of battle. Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land can be played either for long periods of time or in short spurts, with the title picking up right where you leave off.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land supports both OpenFeint and GameCenter. If you are familiar with either, you know that they keep track of the different achievements you can accomplish. There is no online mode for this title. However, I do not feel like that detracts from it.

Call of the Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is not a title for every gamer. If you prefer casual games or like to play on the easiest difficulty, this title will not be for you. But if you enjoy taxing your brain and sanity or you are a huge fan of the strategy genre, then I fully recommend picking this title up. I believe that the great Cthulhu would be proud of how well Red Wasp Design adapted Chaosism’s Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG into an iOS title that could also make for a great PC game. If you have the $4.99 to get this, it is a very wise choice.

Game Title
Platform: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch (Reviewed)
Genre: Strategy RPG
Release Date: January 29, 2012
Developer: Red Wasp Design
Publisher: Red Wasp Design
ESRB Rating: 12+
MSRP: $4.99