Mother Nature meets Omaha Beach in this humorous endless defense game

A bolt of plasma lanced across the battlefield. In the space of a moment, two bumblebees fell to the ground and came to rest in a smoldering heap.

“Fizz! Buzz!”, screamed General Turtale. The tortoise’s impassioned cry was cut short by a torrent of gunfire. As his newly-reinforced armor absorbed shell after shell, it began to buckle and creak. Turtale closed his eyes and swore a swift oath. The enemy would pay dearly for this.

Sensing a shift in the General’s emotion, a small mouse began to spin several wheels and adjust a large lever that appeared to be controlling a turret-mounted machine gun. “Adjusting primary weapon to manual control, General. Your orders?”

Turtale’s eyes snapped open and the mouse suppressed a squeak of alarm. Even though he was a veteran of many battles, the mouse was never able to completely hide his shock of seeing the General’s face transform into a mask of calculated rage.

War Tortoise iOS Game REVIEW

“Send One-Eye and the other Bruisers to the center. Stop the Toads from advancing. I’ll have Packrat cover the snipers. Direct Big-Gun Tom to cover the right flank and tell him to watch for sparrows! I’ll keep the turrets and gun towers focused on any stragglers, but keep our sparrows high above the left flank. I don’t trust the enemy to keep sending light forces on that side and the sparrows can’t take much before going down.”

Turtale ceased his plan for the brief moment to enjoy the sight of a beautifully placed volley of mortar rounds and the carnage wrought by their immediate detonation. That was for the Beezer Twins. The general craned his neck back around to the small mouse wearing a bandolier and steel helmet.

“Right, then. We’ll need to keep the mining tower running, but have the miners dispense rations and medicine as best they can. We can’t afford anyone to sit out on this one. The Zepplin’s en route, but we need to hold this position for a least another day or so. When it arrives, the weaponry located on that war machine should be enough to cut down any– Martin? Martin, Attention!

War Tortoise iOS Game REVIEW

The tiny mouse had gone slack against the small control levers on the machine turret. His tiny body shivered and Turtale could see several large wounds across one side of the mouse captain’s body. The mouse bravely struggled to stand and wordlessly pointed across the field.

Three Geckos, seeming as giants even at such a great range, were laying waste to the General’s army. Several of the Bruisers were flung like ragdolls to smash against the ground. The strength and fluidity of the attacks gave the Geckos a terrible type of grace. Old One-Eye roared a challenge and charged at the closest one. He began swinging his notched blade seeming to ignore the sight of the other two Geckos moving to surround the valiant warrior.

Turning to the right flank, Turtale watched as a beetle armed with a large cannon was hit by an incoming rocket. When the smoke cleared, nothing remained of the unfortunate insect. Thumper.

War Tortoise iOS Game REVIEW

Any grief felt by the General was interrupted by yet another volley of sniper fire. This time, the weathered tortoise flinched as several rounds found their mark and pierced his rough hide. The wounds did not seem very deep but bled freely.

Turtale knew it was now or never. He looked to the wounded Captain and spoke in an even voice.

“Martin, unleash the crab.”

The young mouse fell against the control column and then collapsed onto the General’s shell. This last effort was enough to press a large orange button on a nearby panel and Turtale watched as the entire battlefield was briefly lit by a bright white flare that was launched into the sky. The flare was quickly answered with a thundering screech that set his teeth on edge.

An enormous crab sporting an automated chaingun nearly as large stampeded into view. Smaller enemies were trampled immediately and those that began to flee were quickly dealt with by a spray of heavy munitions. The speed of the creature was impressive to behold as it moved ever closer to the three geckos. The enemy giants began to march toward this new threat, seemingly heedless of the chaingun’s wrath.

And then my lunch hour ended.

War Tortoise iOS Game REVIEW

War Tortoise is a game that mixes a humorous setting with a little wartime grit, some nice graphical capability, and an endless amount of action.

The game begins with the eponymous tortoise and a targeting reticle. A few simple taps and drags on the screen will bring the tortoise’s heavy machine gun to bear on the incoming waves of enemy beetles and frogs. The game eschews any type of story for a common last-as-long-as-possible survival run. As each opponent is taken down, they will explode into coins which can immediately be used to purchase upgrades such as additional health and armor for the tortoise, or can be used to enlist new allies in the fight. Some of the available allies are just larger versions of various weapon structures, such as a rifle squad or a small swarm of bumblebees, but nearly every upgrade and ally will improve the chances of the tortoise surviving another incoming enemy platoon.

Being a free mobile game, there are several of the usual controls at work. There are two types of currency: plain money and War Tokens. Money is the easiest currency to earn and is used for most of the immediate upgrades and allies with the War Tokens being used for the immediate revival on death or other premium unlocks. The game doles both currencies out with a fair bit of generosity. Sometimes, a timed boss event can be attempted and a generous portion of War Tokens will be rewarded if the boss can be defeated in time. Players will be happy to see that their troops continue to fight even when the app is not active. To be clear, the game does not advance any levels when the app is not active, but players will receive small amounts of money and War Tokens when they choose to return to the war zone. In-game ads will initially appear after each death or if the app is closed and reopened, but the developer has allowed the ability to use war tokens to disable these.

I need to throw out a special mention for this: The game is generous enough with War Tokens to disable all in-game ads. This is one of the only recent mobile games that I have seen disabling of ads without a forced monetary cost. True, War Tokens can be purchased with real money and the ads can be disabled immediately in this fashion, but playing the game enough to earn my way out of seeing in-game advertisements felt immensely rewarding. Well done, devs.

War Tortoise iOS Game REVIEW

My time with War Tortoise has had an interesting curve. In the beginning of the game, my army was small and my total damage output was low. I would switch from machine gun to a mounted sniper rifle and later to a howitzer cannon, all with manual controls and a heavy involvement into completing each wave. As the game progressed, however, I found that the number of allies I could recruit and upgrade caused the game to become a more passive experience. Players are given the option to drop the Tortoise’s turret into Auto-Battle and essentially allow the game to play itself, though the turret is not as accurate this way. Once a powerful set of allies and upgrades have been purchased, the game is basically an idle game, similar to the popular “clicker” series of web games. The important difference here is the ever-present health bar and the growing number of enemy shells attempting to perforate the lead character.

The game has an effective set of graphics. Every ten waves to so, the Tortoise transitions through various battlefields ranging from a beachfront, a grassy field, and even a frozen tundra. The set pieces don’t appear to be much more than window dressing, but a dynamic light source provides a pleasant amount of shadow and bloom effects to the fracas. It was only in the late stages of the game that my iPhone 6 Plus began to stutter and struggle to keep up as my in-game view was clouded by what seemed to be a hundred different weapon effects across the screen. Players will be able to open the in-game settings to choose a graphic fidelity setting that allows them to play smoothly.

The game’s audio is also effective at bringing the battle to life. Plenty of different weapon sounds are present and nearly all are convincing enough booms and bangs. Your allies range from mice to bumblebees to sparrows. A player will even be able to call in a second War Tortoise for support! Each of these allies reports to duty with a seriousness that belies the game’s silly setting. Hearing “I’m on it, commander!” from a fuzzy-looking mouse with an overly large helmet is pleasantly ridiculous.

At the price, War Tortoise should be played by anyone looking for a new way to have fun with their mobile device. The game plays great, looks great, and is perfect for playing through lots of lunch breaks to come.  Great work, Foursaken Media!

DOWNLOAD – War Tortoise – FREE – iOS

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