Review: Blood Beach (WiiWare)

Total misfire

Usually when a game is released with so little marketing it's enough to raise suspicions about its quality, but enough excellent WiiWare titles have emerged seemingly from nowhere over the years to make us reconsider those age-old presumptions. Then along comes a title like Blood Beach to remind us exactly why they existed in the first place.

Placing you on one of the Solomon Islands during the Second World War, you play an unnamed gunner entrusted with bringing down wave upon wave of Japanese planes, battleships, tanks and soldiers that all saunter past your neat encampment on the so-called "blood beach." You cannot move: you can only aim with the Remote pointer (or control stick on Classic Controller or GameCube pad, if you're so inclined) and fire one of your weapons, varying from submachine guns to grenades and anti-vehicle guns. Each mission consists of waves of targets homing in on your position and you gunning them out of the sky, sand or sea: when everything's dead, you move onto the next mission where you do exactly the same thing but perhaps, if you're really lucky, in a different order.

You quickly come to realise that Blood Beach is incredibly repetitive, partly due to its lack of identity. Although you're scored after each mission, the game never brings the kind of intensity that often characterises score attack games such as Geometry Wars: although there's a slight amount of skill in hitting moving targets, it succeeds in the impossible by turning shooting planes from the sky into something interminably dull. Likewise, although it claims a mission structure, the mission briefings all amount to the same thing: the Japanese are coming, defend the island. There's no sense of progression or variety, just lots of laborious shooting; there's only so many times you can sink the same battleship before it loses any sort of satisfaction. This is in fact a real achievement, as the battleships laughably capsize like cartoon boats, going end-up before sinking in a perfect vertical line.

The rest of the graphical presentation is about as accomplished: nondescript textures, a lack of detail and some appalling issues with scale make the game look worse than many PSOne titles, let alone WiiWare releases. The enemy soldiers that mount the beach are tiny toys, and even when the tanks come right up to your position they look so small you could step on them, making every target just as impotent as the next.

As the latest in an inauspicious line of iPhone to WiiWare conversions, Blood Beach has no place on home console: designed for short stretches of game time, on the big screen it's horribly repetitive and offers next-to no improvements over its portable origins. The fact it's being sold for 1,000 Nintendo Points is tantamount to criminal and nobody in their right mind should consider purchasing this repetitive shambles of a shooter.


WiiWare is two years old now and frankly we shouldn't be seeing games of Blood Beach's quality these days: horrendously obsolete design that went out with the Ark, laughable attempts at scale and realism as well as some of the poorest graphics and sound on WiiWare mark this one out as a real dud.

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