This War of Mine Review
This War of Mine is a point-and-click adventure that aims to leave a serious impact on players, but falls short on some of the basic fundamentals. Developed by 11 bit studios, This War of Mine takes a classic war plot and adds a twist, placing you in the shoes of the civilians during a time of war instead of throwing you right into the action. Your main goal is to find enough supplies to continuously survive the war ridden society. While there may be some basic fundamentals that take away from the longevity of the game, it definitely puts players into positions where they have to use quick thinking to survive. This War of Mine forced me to do some things that actually made me feel like a bad person.
This War of Mine’s gameplay is one of my biggest complaints about the game, but doesn’t necessarily detract from the game. The point and click style feels as if it was designed with iOS and Android in mind, making it a little tedious to play on the PC. While I’m sure the style works nicely on a mobile device, a little more complexity could easily bring this game to console.
Gameplay in This War of Mine houses some of the games strongest points but also brings out some of the games weakest points. The biggest gameplay factor is the element of choice. Players get to make decisions that don’t necessarily affect future events too much, but can definitely make an impact on the player. One of the darkest moments in this game for me was walking into a house with a shovel and killing an old couple while they were begging me to stop. I wasn’t just killing for fun either, it was a situation of “kill or be killed.” I needed supplies and I would have done anything to protect my surviving group. That is what This War of Mine does best – makes you realize that you’d do anything to survive, and shocks you with how far you’re willing to go.
One of the weaker points, however, is the rest of the gameplay. When you first begin, you’re given very little instruction on what to do. It took me what felt like too long to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. On top of this, the only real objective in the game is “survive.” While this works for other games, This War of Mine doesn’t have enough content and diversity to make the simple “survive” end goal work. I couldn’t play the game for more than an hour without feeling the need to do something else, there was nothing rewarding enough drawing in.
The overall story in This War of Mine is another weak point. It’s very simple and hardly explained. While it may be an interesting concept, there needs to be more depth to make it really feel impactful. That’s not to say that the game doesn’t have it’s moments though. Some of the dialogue between characters really sat with me on a pretty deep level. A certain exchange between a female character looking for food and a soldier offering a specific trade for the food she was looking for gave me shivers to sit and watch. I would have felt bad about myself if I didn’t step in and say something. The dialogue conversations are beautifully crafted, but don’t really lead to a bigger picture.
The art style in This War of Mine does nothing but add to the gloomy mood the game portrays so well. It’s a very dark style, which makes the game feel just as serious as it’s trying to be. When you look behind a closed door, areas that aren’t in your line of sight appear as dark colored stencils, making the art seem rough. This style might not work in every game, but it is definitely put to good use in This War of Mine. The eerie tint makes exploring abandoned buildings put you on edge even more.
Overall, This War of Mine is an exciting game that will offer a few hours of strong gameplay before it begins to feel repetitive. The lack of a deeper story and mobile-style design make the game feel like it could have been so much more than it was. The decisions that you make and the situations that you are put in provide a pretty eye-opening experience, but the effect wears off. This War of Mine might not be one of the best games of the century, but is definitely one of the strongest games to ever be released on a mobile platform.