Mini Review: Swine Wars

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The Unity engine has been a revelation in the development of mobile applications seen on the iPhone.  This tool is for "multiplatform game development," as the company states, and is a free bit of software that allows people to develop applications that will then be sold or offered for free download on the iTunes' App Store.  There has been a certain amount of controversy around what was seen as "sneaky coding" and the integration of Storm8's API calls.  This does not subtract from the growing number of  popular iPhone games available at the iTunes' App Store being labeled as "powered by Unity." 

You can usually expect a 3D gaming experience that, while not completely unique in terms of the history of videogame development, is a step forward for mobile gaming when paired against the minor distractions that most developers seem stuck on.  As the population of these games begin to multiply we have now seen that this "Unity" brand name has shifted from a signal of quality to simply a marker for another title.  Is in this climate that titles like Swine Wars is released, which simply uses the 3D visuals to disguise what is an annoying waste of time.

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Swine Wars looks like first person shooters that you may have grown up on.  You start in a POV shot looking at a European city, which will lend itself to the faith that war game fanatics tend to have in these kind of environments.   It is only once you really enter gameplay that you begin to find your gaming religion challenged, leading to possible software atheism.  Instead of including an interactive battle experience, which even the name Swine Wars implies, you are simply asked to "flick" pigs that are in front of you.  To do this you flick at the iPhone's touch screen so that they do not get near you.  Hopefully, if you are lucky, you can flick them into the furnaces that lie on the side of the level so as to get an excess of bonus points.  If the pigs get to close to you then you will develop an increasing level of swine flu.  This joke saw its hey day almost a year ago, and now it has the tired characteristic of a past fad that can not yet be called retro.

The other gaming option, which is called Swine Chase, forces you to run around the level in what could be seen as a more open gaming experience.  This may be true if the the motion controls were not completely disorienting and requiring you to "flick" forward on the touch screen to move ahead.  Most games using the Unity engine have seemed to get the notion that utilizing motion features also means that forward motion should be included.  Swine Wars has not yet jumped on this band wagon and instead insists that you flick at the screen in the disjointed manor that you also use to attack your swine opponents.

The real "unity" of Swine Wars seems to be the fact that it combines a base mistake in game design with a lack of overall features.  Success in Swine Wars is based on a "high score" model that is received by disposing of the pigs.  The only way to achieve any kind of high score is to keep yourself free of swine flu as long as you can.  We all get the fever eventually, so you may as well put your iPhone down now.  You are given the ability to share your high scores, which is always the last place that an empty iPhone game goes to give the illusion of depth.  If the experience itself is not worthwhile why would you spend time building a community and sharing your scores?

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The graphics of Swine Wars are definitely on the better end of iPhone gaming, which is why the first 2.3 second of Swine Wars is somewhat impressive.  You think that you have found an unsung deal in the App Store for a mere $0.99, but in reality the experience would not be recommended even if it was on the shelf with the free iPhone games.  Over all this is a shoddy puzzle machine that is wearing royal garb.  It can look like a 3D game all it wants, but when you get on the ground its just a pig farm.

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