Water Warfare Review for Nintendo Wii

Water Warfare Review for Nintendo Wii

Well, it isn’t a first for WiiWare, but with Water Warfare, Hudson certainly steps outside the box of your typical casual fare, offering younger Wii owners a portal to online fragging. With our water guns locked and loaded, we run this first-person shooter (FPS) through its paces.

Water Warfare screenshot

The very first thing you’ll notice about this $8 download is its playful style. MySims comes immediately to mind, and you’ll even get to customize your playable character to some extent. The first order of business is to pick a gender, hairstyle, size, weight, name, etc. for your chibi shooter, and there are also additional options unlocked as you play through the game. It’s a fun element you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find in a WiiWare title.

As its namesake might suggest, Water Warfare is a fragfest that arms you with water guns – no blood, no gore, no decaps. Say what you will about the system, but by now it’s common knowledge that the age of the average Wii gamer skews younger than the other two consoles. With that in mind, it was a nice move by Hudson to present an FPS premise that won’t deter most moms from handing over their credit cards to download this title.

The game comes complete with quite a selection of options. There’s a single-player section, which offers missions, as well as an option to play against bots, but the online component is sure to be the big winner here.

Water Warfare screenshot

Missions range from shooting down a set of targets within a certain time limit, to what’s called Battle Royal, Water Warfare’s version of Last Man Standing. You can basically think of the missions as the game’s way of preparing you for online competition. You’ll run through the gamut of modes, and by the time you’ve gotten past just a few of the single-player levels, you should be comfortable with the game’s controls.

The controls for Water Warfare are mostly competent, and you’ll even be able to assign buttons however you like. You can play with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in traditional Wii FPS fashion, or you can add the Wii Zapper to the equation. There’s even an option to use the Classic Controller, but unfortunately, the customization stops there. You cannot adjust the sensitivity of look movement, nor tinker with the bounding box, which feels quite large. Movement of your character is also a bit on the slow side, but you do get true analog control. You can also jump by pressing the Z button, or dodge roll left or right with the analog stick while pressing the Z button.

Water Warfare screenshot

Water Warfare is not a first-person adventure, so there’s no story here. What you will get, however,is a nice selection of levels to play around in, along with some really cool guns and environmental elements that enhance the gameplay. Guns range from single-shot handguns and grenade launchers, to machineguns and bazookas. Each weapon performs in a unique way, allowing players to form their own strategies and approach each match differently. Since you’re using water instead of bullets, there are no ammo pick-ups. Instead, there are water fountains, ponds, and beaches where you can refill your weapon by simply standing near a water source. It takes a bit of time for your weapon to refill, but we found it to be a welcome gameplay element that forces players to stay sharp.

In addition to the selection of weapons, you’ll find item pick-ups at various spawn points throughout levels. Pick-ups can be held onto until you’re 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. There’s 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 you’re hit; this makes items such as the towel and rain coat especially attractive.

Water Warfare screenshot

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. There’s enough maneuverability to keep things from feeling cramped, but unless you’re 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 doesn’t hurt that there’s a nice selection of game modes. In addition to the aforementioned Battle Royal mode, there’s 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 team’s treasure chests first wins. Assault Mode, however, offers something quite unique, where you’re playing two rounds, the first tasking your team with overrunning the enemy’s 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 you’ll 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 you’ll 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. It’s a stacked split-screen option that doesn’t offer the best of views, but truly, it’s 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 can’t 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, it’s a great way to satisfy young Wii gamers looking for a decent online shooter, and at 800 Wii Points, it’s 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 don’t want to shell out the dough for a full retail game, Water Warfare is, right now, your best option on Wii.

The style is pretty generic, though cute, and textures are fairly low-poly. The presentation, however, is polished, and the framerate is rock solid. 3.5 Control
Controls work fine, and it’s nice being able to assign buttons to your liking. However, looking around is lumbering. Being able to tweak control sensitivity and the bounding box would have made a world of difference. In an FPS, controls carry a lot of weight. 4.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is playful and fitting, and the sound effects match up well with the gameplay. 4.2

Play Value
Though there are only a handful of levels to choose from, there is a surprising amount of modes, options, and extras included in the package. It’s a lot of game for $8.

3.7 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • In “Battle Royal,” the goal is to be the last one standing. Each player only gets two respawns, so hunt down your opponents and hose them down fast before they get you! Try to sneak attack anyone you can by hiding in every nook and cranny you can find; or you can even jump up with the “Z” button on the Nunchuk to get to higher ground!
  • “Death Match” is a race to see who can get 10 KOs first. There’s no real limit to your respawns, but the more you get KO’ed by your opponents, the more notches they’ll have against you! Remember that weapons like the water shotgun are extremely effective at short range but a more powerful water launcher will soak your enemies faster and with less shots!
  • The “Treasure Chest” mode can only be played as a team match, which means you’ll have to work with a partner or multiple allies. The first team to bring back the opposing team’s treasure chest 3 times wins! A la capture-the-flag gameplay, you must find the glowing flags scattered on the map (the location of yours and your enemy’s base) and take their treasure chest! If an opponent takes the chest from your base, track down that thief and soak em’ in order to get it back!

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