Only the fastest fingered gamer will make it out alive.
Operation Wow plays similar to Taito's 1987 coin-op game, Operation Wolf, which featured a swivel mounted light gun attached to the arcade cabinet. Although you can't use one of those, tapping the screen to kill enemies, blow up tanks and shoot knives from the air gets the job done.
Like most light gun games, Operation Wow is an on-rails shooter that moves on its own. That said, and to quote Vasquez from Aliens, you only need to know one thing: where they are. Enemies appear from all locations, even from the top of the screen, and you'll respond by poking the iPhone/iPad to fire.
From what we can tell, it doesn't matter where you hit someone; tapping their head or chest results in a one-hit kill. You'll just need additional rounds to take down attack choppers, tanks and boats. On top of that, you should also keep an eye out for health/ammo packs, as well as exploding canisters and other objects that grant bonuses.
Most importantly, be sure to conserve ammo. Although the game features multi-touch shooting, running out of ammo is a real possibility. Ultimately, this winds up being Operation Wow's Achilles Heel, as no one wants to expend his or her ammunition and watch helplessly as the artificial intelligence takes pot shots from a distance. For that reason alone, multi-touch is more of a last resort.
Beyond that, the game loses its luster after several rounds of play. It doesn't take long to beat on the easiest setting, and the two mini games (Targets! and Meat ninja!) get old quick; Game Center support lets you post high scores to the online leaderboards.
Most importantly, you'll need to download two versions if you want the App on both the iPhone and iPad, with the HD edition costing $1.00 extra. A modest sum, but bothersome nonetheless.
These issues aside, if you have fond memories blasting evildoers in Operation Wolf, this is a loving homage to that classic game with cartoon style graphics. Just don't expect to play it for more than a couple of hours.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.
What's Hot: Toon graphics, multi-touch firing, Operation Wolf inspired gameplay.
What's Not: Running out of ammo, boring mini-games, not a universal download.