Operation Wow [iOS] review

OpWow logo

If you remember arcades, then you’re bound to fond memories of Operation Wolf. With its cool cabinet mounted replica Uzi machine gun, it helped teenagers the world over to live out their fantasies of “being” Rambo. Clearly the creators of Operation Wow thought it was a good thing, too as they’ve created their own iPhone version

As in the original, Operation Wow is an into-the-screen shooter that sees you storming an enemy stronghold to kill enemies and free hostages, whilst avoiding killing any innocent civilians.

The first noticeable different between Wow and Wolf is that Wow takes a more cartoon –like approach to the carnage. The chunky enemy soldiers and other graphics would easily fit into an episode of South Park and whilst that might sound weird, it does work (although it might upset Wolf purists). They are smoothly animated and look good.

OpWow1

Sound, too, is excellent, featuring some superb tunes that really add to the atmosphere. Sound effects noisy game, with meaty explosions and lots of bullets whistling around. A lot of iPhone shooting games are let down by weak sound effects, but Operation Wow shows them how it should be done.

Whilst the graphics might have been altered from the source inspiration, the spirit of the game is pure Operation Wolf. The action is frantic and non-stop, with a whole range of enemies swamping the screen, creating overwhelming odds that can reduce even the coolest player to a panicky, sweaty palmed mess.

Despite the apparently simplistic blasting gameplay, there are some strong strategy elements. Certain soldiers (as well as tanks, boats and other vehicles) cause more damage, so you constantly have to scan the screen to identify the biggest risks and take them out first, all the time keeping an eye on your limited ammunition and trying to spot and shoot various animals who will reward you with more ammunition when hit (quite why pigs and geese cough up ammunition when shot is not explained, but we’ll gloss over that!)

In keeping with Operation Wolf, Wow is rock hard, even on Easy Mode. This can be frustrating, but it’s true to old style gaming. And Wow is good fun, so no matter how badly you do you’ll still be ready to have another crack at it.

It’s fair to say there’s not much variety to the game. The scenery may change the difficulty increase, but each level is fundamentally the same. Like most such games, Wow can become a little dull after a while, but it has that “one more go” compulsion that means it is a title you’ll keep coming back to.

Wow’s biggest strength is its controls. The Uzi might have looked cool, but it was all too easy to lose the cross-hair and find yourself firing at nothing, wasting precious ammunition (or was that just me being rubbish again?). Operation Wow makes good use of the iPhone’s touch screen to improve the controls: bullets are fired by tapping the screen; grenades are launched with a swipe of the finger. This is far more intuitive and responsive and whilst it doesn’t make the game any easier, it means that if you do miss a target, it was your own stupid fault.

Better still, the game can be downloaded for free and whilst it might make use of in-app purchases, these are not as blatantly money-grabbing as some titles (79p for example, will buy you infinite retries). When you consider that 25 years ago, Operation Wolf would set you back around 30p for just a few minutes of game time, this update is great value for money.

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