WarMen Tactics (WiiWare)

Game Review

WarMen Tactics Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Sean Aaron

Shockin' awful

Here at Nintendo Life we pride ourselves on reviewing every downloadable game and application released for the Wii and DSi. As a reviewer this may mean reviewing games in genres you might not regularly play, and there's also the risk of playing a bad game; sometimes a really bad game. WarMen Tactics is one of the latter, a game that might well cause one to question whether we should be providing 100% coverage of all downloads. After all, there is the old marketing adage that "there's no such thing as bad press," and without this review it's quite likely that you'd never know WarMen Tactics even existed. Of course if we didn't provide this review then you might be tempted to buy it, because what limited advertising has been put in place is quite misleading and we'd hate for anyone to waste money on this absolute stinker of a game.

We make a point of reading the Operations Manual before actually playing WiiWare games for review: it can provide information you might not get in the game itself such as goals and features, but it also provides some insight into the developer's intent. The manual for WarMen Tactics reads much like a promo piece, with two pages of text and four screenshots. If you were to use this as the basis of making your purchasing decision you might well think you were in for a real treat, as the second page boasts that you will "become blown away by an engine that pushes Wii capabilities to the edge" providing "5 levels of pure unrefined fun." Well, after seeing the poorly compressed intro and playing through those five levels we certainly think you'll be blown away - by how bad this game looks compared to pretty much every other 3D action game published to-date on any platform. If this is an example of "unrefined fun," then clearly a fun refinery needs to get built stat: we failed to find the fun in the entire 25 minutes required to play through the game on the normal "Guerrilla Warfare" difficulty setting.

WarMen Tactics started out life on the iPhone as "WarMen," a game you can purchase for £1.59 in the UK Apps Store. Considering the higher WiiWare price of 800 Points, you might well expect an expanded game tailored for the Wii, but you'd be expecting a lot. As stated the intro is badly compressed; of course if you played this on the smaller screen of an iPhone it would look pretty decent, but considering the title screen for this WiiWare release refers to the game by its iPhone name, WarMen, it seems a safe bet that this is simply a straight port of the iPhone version with no improvements made to the visuals at all. In fact the only change that appears to have been made is to adapt the iPhone's motion and touchscreen control to the pointer on the Wii Remote.

At first glance this is a third-person shooter, with the camera being placed behind your character. Controls are entirely Remote-based with an option to use buttons on the Remote, or point-and-click at virtual buttons at the bottom edge of the screen (much like the iPhone version, perhaps?) Nowhere are the controls spelled-out in the game or the Operations Guide - you'll have to view them in the Home screen. You can use Up or Down on the (DPAD) to stand or crouch, whilst Left and Right or pointer movement towards the edges of the screen will pan the camera about 90 degrees in either direction. Other button presses include (1) to reload your weapon, (2) to swap weapons (you have a choice of an Uzi machine pistol or a Stinger rocket launcher) and (B) to fire your weapon. If you press + to pause the "action" you'll see an option for "Control Mode 2," but given the lack of documentation we have no idea what that's supposed to change and couldn't see any difference in play when it was enabled. Movement is controlled with the (A) button: press to move forward one increment (usually to a place of cover) and enjoy the lovely high-speed stuttering gait of your character - straight out of the end credit sequence of an episode of Benny Hill.

The rest of the visuals are equally fantastic. We expect that if you showed this game to your friends 20 years ago they'd be impressed by the fact that it's 3D and has realistic movements featured in the lengthy reload sequences (especially your character's pointy hair swaying.) In fact, playing this game is something of a retro gaming experience of days gone by, when the increasing availability of 3D programming tools meant that PC gamers had their pick of an endless stream of crappy, low-poly-count shooters of various flavours. In addition to the jerky animation noted above there's still more retro treats on offer: moving your camera about results in some nice image jittering and there's so much clipping going on you'd think you were at an NHL cup match. Helicopters freely fly right through buildings and even better is the sequence of your character's death: as the camera pans around he flips backwards, his head disappearing into the ground whilst blood - literally composed of a stream of squares with red "blood" textures on it (definitely justifying the "T" rating) - spurts out "in slow motion." The icing on the cake is when you shoot one of the "scramble stations" you're assigned to destroy with a Stinger missile, resulting in the spinning radar bit simply disappearing without so much as a puff of smoke.

Of course we're not all about graphics on the Wii and thankfully the gameplay equals the visuals. As noted you press (A) to move from cover to cover. After the camera shifts about (presumably trying to figure out where the enemies are coming from) you wait until the dastardly army of "The New World Order" comes around the corner and blithely walks in your direction. WarMen Tactics really is a paranoid's fantasy: not only has the UN actually created an armed force to take over the world, but it's composed of complete idiots wearing papier-maché body armour that can easily be destroyed by one guy with a machine pistol. Although your cover gives you complete protection from the baddies - who can be stood so close to the crates you're hiding behind that they'd be able to spit on your head in real life - you can pick them off from five miles away, despite them hiding behind the very same crates that protect you from rocket fire. Of course you don't really need much cover because they generally just sit there, even if you stand up to leisurely plug them in the groin.

In fact the only reason you're likely to get yourself killed is because you moved from cover before shooting all the baddies in the "wave" of two or three. The enemy comes in a variety of different coloured armour, but they all seem to die with one or two shots so it's not clear if they're supposed to be more challenging or the developers got bored. Later on giant "insect-human hybrids" come burrowing up out of the ground who can take up to three hits and breathe fire, which really ups the challenge. In fact the only really difficult part is the end of level five where you face a wave of bugs, taking cover only to be unable to hit anything or move, waiting until a giant bug breathes fire on you and kills you. Eventually you'll figure out that you need to use a Stinger to kill the last one - of course it looks the same as the others so we don't understand what the distinction is, but given the state of the rest of the game it's not terribly relevant.

After the last level our hero does his trademark fist-pumping whilst "Mission Complete" is displayed on the screen, followed by a droning announcement that our hero got away and the public started questioning why they let the UN take over the world, blah blah blah.

Giving more space to what is wrong with WarMen Tactics is giving it more print than is justified. We will say that the game ending after only five levels feels like a reward; that it takes less than 30 minutes is a bonus. There's two other difficulty levels: "Trainee" is much like "Guerrilla", except that there are fewer enemies who return fire less often (if that's possible) and the hardest difficulty setting "Men of War" is the same as the other two except that there are more enemies and they sometimes hide behind shields. Suffering through the hardest difficulty setting might give you a code to input in the "Secret Code" section of the options menu, but unless that unlocks a completely different game we cannot say we regret passing up that replay opportunity.


WarMen Tactics wouldn't have been accepted in the early days of 3D gaming, much less today. We're flabbergasted that a developer would try foisting this kind of product upon the Wii-buying public, boasting that they "wanted to reflect the realism of urban warfare," along with their other outrageous claims - any one of which would be justification for a false advertising complaint.

It's even more amazing is that Nintendo approved this game for release - especially at the median price point. As much as some developers are calling for greater promotion of WiiWare generally, we think that exercising more quality control over what is published on WiiWare would be an even bigger help to developers actually trying to release a decent game on the service.

We considered the possibility this game might be a gag with the kind of crappy 3D glitches you'd have seen on an old PlayStation or PC game, but if that's the case we didn't find it terribly amusing. Calaris were right not to attempt any promotion of this turd, but we would have preferred that they simply hadn't bothered releasing it and spared us having to review it.

From the web

Game Trailer

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User Comments (73)



Raylax said:

"become blown away by an engine that pushes Wii capabilities to the edge"
Which edge? The edge of vague competence?

...Nah, not that far.

Brilliant review Sean
brb, plugging in the fun refinery



V8_Ninja said:

Was kinda expecting something like this for the game. It looks downright awful, it's an on-rails shooter, and it's protagonist has blond & spiky hair. And to top it off, they're expecting me to take all of this seriously as a realistic game? No thanks, I'd rather just drown myself in Random FPS #7,265,437,895 before I even begin to consider even playing this "game".



Percentful said:

"Sean, don't sit on the fence tell us what it is really like!"
You're right. He should have just said that it's a torture technique and doesn't even deserve a score
"1/10? Come on. This game is lame, ok, but i saw the trailer. It's not 'that' bad."
YOU saw a trailer. HE played the actual game. As it said in the review, commercials can distort things and make it look like an ok game. Trust the review, not the commercial.



Vendetta said:

"There's no such thing as bad press..." Now where have I heard that recently? Hmm, nevermind.

Sean, thanks for jumping on this grenade for many members, myself included, that were almost willing to take the chance on this game because of the pretty decent video. You saved me 800 points, and lots of frustration. Again, thanks!



Burning_Spear said:

"If this is an example of "unrefined fun," then clearly a fun refinery needs to get built stat ..."

Poetic irony. Good work, Sean.



JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

@ Shinigami. Even before Sean reviewed this I have been hearing from multiple people that the game is horrendous. Good god, I was even considering this too. Sean I hope your sanity is still intact. Is that a few white hairs I see? Thank you for steering me clear of this game.



ZombieGod said:

Damn I though it looked good based on the trailer. Thanks for saving my money again Sean.



0-Watt said:

Hehe, if anyone wants me to do a let's play of this game, we'll talk about gifting it I won't buy it for the lulz, but you can ;3



SwerdMurd said:

I LOVE bad reviews. Thanks Sean--so many great plays on words and fun looks into gaming's past.



Ren said:

ha! What a fun review. Thanks for the warning. I too, was duped by the trailer and had higher hopes. Even now looking at the stills it's hard to imagine it being that bad, but I guess I'm not suprised; I'll take you at your word. For that much money, I think I still need to invest in some Shootanto.



Percentful said:

Swerd_Murd wrote:

I LOVE bad reviews. Thanks Sean--so many great plays on words and fun looks into gaming's past.

You might want to re-word that.



Sean_Aaron said:

@shinigami: I want you to know that based upon that trailer I fought to review this instead of the new Phoenix Wright. How do you think I feel now?

I've said elsewhere that this really sets the bar for a 1/10 game for me and if I had reviewed Karate Phants after this I probably would have scored it higher because unlike this shoddy-ass game which looks like a high school computer project, that game actually has some design put into it.

I've left out a few things here. I've noted it's easy, but didn't mention that your health constantly regenerates and your primary weapon has infinite reloads. There's no time limits yet you're being told to hurry to your next checkpoint by other operatives (two people contribute voicework) or the fact that this game has been produced by a company that's apparently been making games for several years - not some kid in his parent's basement (which is what it looks like).

I actually hadn't noted the mention of only 5 levels when I first read the ops manual. The entire game was: press A, point at baddies until cursor turns red, press B, fire four times, reload and repeat. Then suddenly it's over and there's a little narration like the game is only beginning, THE END. What the hell is that?

@Chicken: I like the tagline as well, but I cannot take credit for it. Mine was more simply put: WarMen Craptics. There's much more I'd like to say about this game, but then I'd have to edit my own comments...



AVahne said:

ew, that thang is UGLY. that screenshot had ONE helicopter? i thought it was two of them humping each other doggie style



Sean_Aaron said:

Actually that screen looks quite good compared to what you see on your TV. Your Stinger missile cannot shoot down helicopters ironically enough though I did try!



Rerun said:

Thanks Sean. This is what I really like about NintendoLife. REAL reviews from REAL gamers. And so far, Sean's reviews have been spot on for me. I've purchased majority of the games that he recommended and I feel like each and everyone of them was well worth my money. Kudos to Sean!



darklinkinfinite said:

Maybe Nintendo approves these bad games because they know it won't sell above the threshold where they begin paying money back to the developers so they get to keep what little cash there is for the few copies sold.



Machu said:

A big fat 1! Serves 'em right. Ha!

Thanks Sean, I saw the 'trailer' and was like... "gettin' that!". I'd be surprised if it makes it over here now.



Thomas_Joseph said:

"There's no such thing as bad press..." Now where have I heard that recently? Hmm, nevermind.

Thank you, thank you very much.

And Sean is right ... the more people talk about this game, whether it is a real stinker, or it's the "best game evar" ... the more people may actually consider buying it. It's much better to let it die without so much as a whimper.



rjejr said:

So when's the demo come out

(That's sarcasm for the 25 minute crappy game, not the usual "where are the demo's?" sarcasm.)



MarkyVigoroth said:

The only good thing of this game is the armored guy in the top banner. (Then again, if I wanted to see space-armor so badly, I would have seen pictures of Section 8.)



9th_Sage said:

Eh, people complain about Nintendo 'allowing it' but honestly, they're not the thought police (all game systems have the good games and the bad, it's not their job to tell other devs their game sucks). If other developers want to make themselves look completely foolish by saying a shoddy port of a crappy iPhone game is something that will cause us to "become blown away by an engine that pushes Wii capabilities to the edge", that's on them. I definitely would never consider purchasing anything from them with this review. This game sounds like pure laziness.



Stuffgamer1 said:

@9th_Sage: Thing is, there's a lot of talk from would-be and current WiiWare developers about how hard it is to get Nintendo to even LET you develop for the platform, and when you DO, they supposedly have harsh quality control. I have yet to find a way to reconcile those assertions with the release of blatent crap like this "game."



benny5bellys said:

I am surely not the only person here tempted to buy it just to see how bad it really is!! I am so so tempted.



Sean_Aaron said:

I don't expect Nintendo to be the arbiters of what's good and not good, but releasing really poor-quality ports like this or useless apps like the Happy Holidays programs hurts the WiiWare brand - especially when ridiculous falsehoods are allowed in the documentation which Nintendo must also approve.

Nintendo has created a closed system, so ultimately they are responsible for the software they license for publication. I can understand the original desire to court 3rd parties which has resulted in overproduction of low-quality software, but Nintendo really needs to step in and close the tap a bit to stop the flow of rubbish lest they repeat Ataris's failings in the early 80s.

Thanks for the flasback Sylverstone, you're not helping my ptsd.



Vendetta said:

LOL forever @45. You're serious TJ? Then, Sean, you should be ashamed of yourself for giving such an "encouraging" review!

Come on everyone, show of hands: Is there anyone - ANYONE???? here that read this review and said, "yeah, I gotta have that!" cricket... cricket...

Wait, let me guess: all the if-there-were-such-a-thing-bad press Toyota's getting these days is actually good too, right, TJ?

"There's no such thing as bad press" is just a trite, anachronistic phrase whose truth only survived the Internet for the Paris Hiltons of the world. I'll bet it was written by a bad PR flack who tried to justify his existence - hopefully right before getting the axe!



Sylverstone said:

I thought WiiWare would've been much more interesting, not a dumping ground for shoddy games like back in the old Atari 2600 days.

Therefore I will still say proudly: Bring back the original Nintendo Seal of Quality!




Sean_Aaron said:

Watch this space for a new talking point from yours truly directly resulting from playing this game!



TheLonelyGamer said:

Oh god, that sure does look "Shockin' awful".
Is this the worst WiiWare game ever? With a 1/10, I would think so.



Bigby said:

Rats... I love shooters but after seeing the video I was extremely skeptical. This might be one of the the first reviews that actually sways my opinion and I'll pass.



rodoubleb said:

There's a ton of really bad games that proudly sport the Nintendo Seal of Quality. Deadly Towers, enough said.



CanisWolfred said:

It looked cool...when I thought it was a rail-shooter. But, looking at the actual gameplay footage, it does look pretty bad. It does make me wish that Day of Disaster was out in the U.S., though. Why?! Why did you leave it stranded in Europe, Nintendo?! How could you!?D=



Earendel68 said:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! 1/10!!!!! Now this is good!!! Because of the graphics, I was seriously thinking about download this game. But I really respect the reviews of Nintendo Life's staff, so... Thank you for saving my 800 NPs.



Thomas_Joseph said:

Vendetta: You're serious TJ?

As serious as a heart attack. That is the adage after all and it is definitely the rule, rather than the exception. Of course, why you trolled this thread, bringing this argument over from another thread is beyond me.



Thomas_Joseph said:

Post #54: I am surely not the only person here tempted to buy it just to see how bad it really is!! I am so so tempted.

Post #56: Come on everyone, show of hands: Is there anyone - ANYONE???? here that read this review and said, "yeah, I gotta have that!" cricket... cricket...

Game. Set. Match.



Vendetta said:

Thomas, if you want to expose a laughable ignorance by calling me a troll, that's up to you.

But come on, one person saying he's "tempted to buy it" doesn't meet the criterion of "gotta have it." And that one person's "temptation" is held against foundations of those that read this "bad press" and wisely decided to pass on downloading it? Please.

"Game. Set. Match?" You're so silly, Thomas.




Thomas_Joseph said:

Yes Vendetta, one person, because you yourself said anyone. ANY ONE. It's really very simple, or do we need to go over what the definition of "one" is? You posed a question, I demonstrated to you that your scenario had already come to fruition before you even made your post.

If you want to quibble over phraseology now ... have at it. NEXT! indeed.



Vendetta said:

Thomas, we can do this all day, as apparently your appetite for crow is insatiable.

In post #56, which you reference above, I said:
"Come on everyone, show of hands: Is there anyone - ANYONE???? here that read this review and said, 'yeah, I gotta have that!'"

And in response you're pointing out one person who said he is "tempted" to get it. There is an irreconcilable difference between the two. I find it difficult to fathom that your reading comprehension skills are so lacking as to prevent you from recognizing this. Consequently, I have to believe that you're being a last word freak, or worse yet, trolling. Whichever the case, you kinda sound like an... well, never mind. I'm done with you here. Go nuts.



Mankay said:

Mmm too bad ....
I red about the concept of this game and it sound good
but after read this review and see the images .....
is ovious that this game is just a waste of time, money and memory space

thanks sean xD



Thomas_Joseph said:

Not really a last word freak (to any large degree), but I just have to clear up this comment: Consequently, I have to believe that you're being a last word freak, or worse yet, trolling.

Yes, you drag this argument from another thread (couldn't just let sleeping dogs lie, could ya), and you have the audacity to call me the troll? Rich, Vendetta, real rich.



Bass_X0 said:

@Sylverstone: The Seal of Quality is just a guarantee that the cartridges were made to Nintendo standards and that they would work on the console. It has nothing to do with the content or how enjoyable the games were.

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