Was Water Warfare worth the wait?

Earlier this month, Hudson took a gamble and decided to release a first-person shooter on WiiWare. Due to it being the first of its kind on the platform and a new IP, some thought that Hudson would regret making such a bold decision. In the end, though, everything paid off, as not only did Onslaught become one of the most successful WiiWare titles in a short amount of time, it was also fairly well-received by the gaming press.

After the success of Onslaught, it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise when Hudson announced Water Warfare, another first-person shooter set to be released on WiiWare this summer. What separates their latest project from Onslaught, though, is that they’re aiming the game at a completely different audience: instead of trying to go after hardcore gamers again, they’ve decided to make a family-friendly title based around wetting other opponents using soakers.

Regardless of whether you're firing lasers or liquid, Water Warfare is still a fairly decent title, despite the game obviously being aimed at younger demographics, and plays fairly similar to other first-person shooters out there. Instead of being armed with tools of mass destruction, though, the game arms players with water guns, which work just as well as any other dangerous tool.

It's certainly on the basic side.

As soon as you start the game, you’re given the opportunity to create your own avatar that will represent you in the game. All of your basic options are here, such as size and gender, as well as more detailed features such as your face, hairstyle, skin type, clothing, etc. Practically anything can be assembled in the game, ranging from active basketball players to adorable little school girls. There’s enough charm and cuteness to make this appeal to even the littlest gamers.

For the asking price of 800 points, there’s certainly quite a lot of content to enjoy. The single-player experience offers both a mission mode and a match mode, both of which are played offline. The former of the two modes contains several bite-sized missions that start out as a basic tutorial, but eventually develop into some pretty challenging tasks. Match mode, on the other hand, allows players to create multiplayer matches against AI opponents. There are quite a few modes to explore here, such as the game’s take on Capture the Flag and Deathmatch.

Quite evidently though, the main focus of Water Warfare is multiplayer, and in that regard, the game certainly delivers. There are some offline modes that could easily entertain families for hours on-end, but obviously, the biggest draw is the online play. After getting used to the basics of the game, two players can go at it online in local split screen with up to eight players. The matches that you’ll find online at fairly similar to those that you can play in the single-player Match Mode, with the most obvious difference being that your reputation is at risk. If you plan on topping the leaderboards, you’ll have to work hard, and of course, pump hard.

It should be quite apparent that this is designed for younger audiences.

Besides implementing water guns of several types, such as water-firing rocket launchers, the game also replaces some other common first-person shooter items. Grenades, for one, have been changed to water balloons, while the armor is now raincoats and umbrellas, and health bars have been replaced with wet T-shirts; there’s a little t-shirt icon in the upper right corner of the screen that displays how wet you are In order to build your health up after being soaked, you’ll need to stay in the sunlight or pick up a towel to dry off.

Another interesting little feature is that water guns are now refilled by visiting drinking fountains and small puddles scattered around each level. In total, there are eight maps set amongst a variety of parks, beaches, playgrounds and more. Power-ups can also be found lying around the world, like banana peels that you can throw to make people slide out of control.

For those wondering, the controls work very well. The Remote aims and turns your character, while the Z button will make your character jump and C will activate items; nothing too complex for those novice first-person shooter enthusiasts.

It's time to do some soaking!

It should appear quite evidently that Water Warfare isn’t your typical hardcore first-person shooter. Instead though, it’s a family-friendly title that allows kids to jump in on all the action, which can be reflected through the themes of the environments. Everything about the game is pretty bare-bones, so not everyone will be satisfied with their purchase, but all the same, Water Warfare is a pretty decent title from Hudson that gamers around the world will be able to play this summer.