|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hudson Soft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Hudson Soft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 29, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In addition to the selection of weapons, youll find item pick-ups at various spawn points throughout levels. Pick-ups can be held onto until youre ready to make use of them, á la Mario Kart, and the selection is pretty clever. There are roller skates that will allow you to zip about a level at high speed for a short period of time, or water bottles that can instantly refill your weapon on the fly. Theres also a towel power-up, which, as you might have guessed, dries your player off completely. Rather than lose health in Water Warfare, you have a T-shirt gauge that fills with water the more youre hit; this makes items such as the towel and rain coat especially attractive.
Levels are designed smartly, with tunnels, cubby holes, and even pirate ships to camp in, and when competing online, you can opt to play in either small or large versions of each level. Theres enough maneuverability to keep things from feeling cramped, but unless youre playing one-vs.-one, battles will never feel like a ghost town. There are some decent snipe spots as well, and like any decent shooter, the stages are designed to offer a little something for everyone.
Since online multiplayer is the obvious focus of Water Warfare, it doesnt hurt that theres a nice selection of game modes. In addition to the aforementioned Battle Royal mode, theres Death Match, Treasure Chest, Assault Mode, Base Mode, and Point Rally. Treasure Chest is basically Capture the Flag, where whichever team retrieves three of the opposing teams treasure chests first wins. Assault Mode, however, offers something quite unique, where youre playing two rounds, the first tasking your team with overrunning the enemys base, and the second round with your team playing defense. Base Mode takes inspiration from another tried-and-true favorite, where the object is to take over as many bases as possible; first team to reach 100 points wins. The last mode, Point Rally, is more of a straightforward race, where youll need to run through checkpoints, accumulating as many points as you can before time is up.
Hudson seems to have pretty much covered all bases with Water Warfare, and youll even rank up as you play online. In addition to the online multiplayer, however, you can play locally via two-player split-screen, either with CPUs or without. Its a stacked split-screen option that doesnt offer the best of views, but truly, its hard to knock it. The fact that the developer squeezed just about every desirable FPS option into this downloadable game is quite commendable.
On the visual side of things, the game definitely gets the job done, with bright, colorful landscapes. The water looks surprisingly good, though rocks, grass, and other environmental objects are very low-poly. The game runs really smooth, however, even when playing online with full teams something many retail Wii products cant lay claim to. The music is fitting and fun, and the sound effects are nicely matched with the gameplay.
Water Warfare is, in most respects, FPS 101. That said, its a great way to satisfy young Wii gamers looking for a decent online shooter, and at 800 Wii Points, its a pretty fat package. The look controls are a bit lumbering due mostly to a massive bounding box, and it surely would have been nice to have some level of customization over control sensitivity. Still, the game scratches an itch on WiiWare no other publisher is currently tending to. If you just want to frag but dont want to shell out the dough for a full retail game, Water Warfare is, right now, your best option on Wii.
CCC Freelance Writer