Back when I started this blog, I said that I’d occasionally go back and review a gem that’s been out for a while that you might’ve missed. And review gems, I shall.
Patton Oswalt reminded us that one of the first signs of getting old in men is developing a big interest in World War II. Certainly vaild, however, I like to look at World War I now and then because it’s younger brother gets all the attention. I also might’ve mentioned that I play tabletop RPGs (Or if I haven’t, I’m sure it’s been easy to deduce.) and over the years, seem to have developed a talent for the horror RPGs. I’ve learned now that if I ever ask my players what game they’d like me to run, their answer is already going to be “Call of Cthulhu.” So when I heard there was a Call of Cthulhu app game that’s set in World War I AND is a turn-based tactics game…Well, o/\ These are a few of my favorite things… o/\ It’s also been an important part of my personal history as this is the game that originally got me started on the path of reviewing games, so I feel indebted to it enough to be my first “classic” review.
I was late to the smartphone/tablet game, but when I got that first iPhone, the first app I went looking for was “Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land.” (http://redwaspdesign.wordpress.com/call-of-cthulhu/ ) Originally for iOs only, the game is now available for Android and PC, and years later, I still find myself coming back to it over and over. From the first strains of that really creepy version of “It’s A Long Way To Tipperary” in the intro, the mood is set. Your small squad of men (Including the developer’s great-grandfather. Don’t have to be a Time Lord to figure out HE has to survive throughout the game.) is joined by one Professor Brightmeer, who, for those of us who’ve played CoC, has “Investigator” written all over him. (Wearing a turban into a war zone was my first clue.) Soon joined by others to bring the squad up to six, you’re off on a mission to thwart a German mad scientist who wants to reanimate dead soldiers to win the war…and THEN it gets weird!
My highest praise for a turn-based tactics game is “It’s kind of like X-Com,” and it is, in the best possible way. (Remember naming your soldiers in X-Com and starting to care about them as individuals? Well, they already have names, but you’ll get some of that here too.) To make the game truly like Call of Cthulhu, there needed to be a Sanity mechanic in the game for facing down the unspeakable horrors, and they brought that into the game fairly well. I have a slight difference of opinion on it (Killing monsters is supposed to GIVE you SAN, not take it away!), but not enough to complain or let it otherwise tarnish a great game.
There’s a DLC pack for the iOs version that comes bundled with the PC game. I’d like to tell you more about it, but to be honest, I’ve had so much fun playing the basic game that after about a year, I still haven’t explored it much. (Trying to beat the storyline on Hard difficulty currently.)
To sum up, this is a great game that I have on all of my devices and the only thing missing is a sequel. (Sorry, if that spoils the fact that if you succeed, the world doesn’t end.) Hadn’t you heard that ALL the best wars get one?