War Hero 1944
A completely novel game concept: a lone soldier takes on (and takes down) the Nazis...
War Hero 1944 from Digital Chocolate stars the (almost) charmingly generic hero Carter, who's plane is shot down in enemy territory. Virtually every WWII cliche you could think of is present, to a degree that I almost have to believe it was intentional. You'll rescue the girl, go up against impossible odds, and ignore your commanding officer's orders to fall back, instead barreling straight into enemy-infested territories. It's all (very) well-worn material, but I doubt anyone is checking out mobile games for their compelling narrative, so I'll give 1944 a pass in this department.
Unfortunately the majority of the gameplay is equally generic and uninspired, and I don't have the luxury of assuming it is very subtle satire, like I can with the plot. Gameplay plays out from a semi-overhead viewpoint, and this creates my first major issue with the game. Since it's semi-overhead instead of fully overhead, the controls are wonky and unnatural, and I fought with them the entire time, all the way through to the last level.
"Up" on the D-pad actually moves your character to the top-right corner. Down moves him to the bottom-left, etc. I was constantly trying to press diagonally to get Carter to move diagonally, but the controls just weren't designed that way - the four cardinal d-pad directions are what correspond to in-game diagonal movement. The central button fires your default weapon (generally a machine gun or rifle), and a numerical hotkey lobs grenades.
To make up for the aiming imprecision (you can only aim in eight directions), Digital Chocolate implemented an extremely generous auto-aim feature. If you're vaguely facing in the direction of an enemy, a targeting reticule will appear over him, and you simply have to mash the shoot button to take the Nazi out. In some ways targeting is almost too generous - besides making the gameplay somewhat pointless, it also caused some frustration when things got hairy. Sometimes you'd want to shoot the crazy, machine gun-toting SS soldier right in front of your face, but the auto-targeting insists on putting the reticule above the harmless grunt off to your right instead.
These issues detract from the fun factor, but neither would be dealbreakers in other games. It's when these difficulties are compounded with War Hero's the overall slow pace that it truly becomes something that simply isn't fun to play. Carter moves slowly. Enemies move slowly. Everything just feels sluggish.
I don't want to come down on the game too hard, however. The action genre is still a hard one to pull off on mobile, and War Hero 1944 is a better attempt at it than many. Some levels feature multiple routes, and it can be fun learning that enemy camps can be successfully stormed from behind after the level kicked your ass the first time. Strategically rationing out health packs to emerge victorious also brings with it a nice sense of satisfaction. Still, the experience is just too clunky and too slow-paced to seriously recommend.
What's Hot: Single handedly taking down the evil German Reich
What's Not: Slow pace. Viewpoint causes control problems