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Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Review

By , on January 31, 2012


Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5

PROS

  • Perfectly chosen scenario to blend tactical gameplay with Mythos story elements.
  • Creepy art design helps to reinforce the otherworldly vibe.

CONS

  • Unresponsive controls.
  • Clunky interface and tactical gameplay design.
  • %'s for aiming sometimes feel arbitrary rather than concrete.

VERDICT

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is a great concept gone to waste as players are forced to deal with game design concepts that belong to another era.


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Those who regularly play or have experienced Tabletop RPGs that go beyond basic dice-rolling, numbers and statistics will know just how quickly you can become absorbed in the world you're exploring. Some players may find themselves exploring the terrible and fascinating worlds inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and may even use scenarios devised by the boffins at Chaosium for the 'Call of Cthulhu' series. Now regular iOS gamers can do the same with The Wasted Land, developed by Red Wasp Design, though a few changes have been made in the process.

Foremost is the switch to a tactical turn-based RPG setup. Given the game's WW1 trench-warfare setting it's a change that works in the game's favor, with players controlling several 'investigators' at a time, battling against the supernatural forces set against them.

Each character sports the usual slew of statistics ranging from fundamental values such as 'strength' and 'dexterity', as well as more specialized values representing a character's skill with certain weapons or items. These can affect accuracy with a weapon or item; how many 'action points' are available; and more importantly the character's 'sanity'. Lowered sanity can result in incapacitating or 'frenzy-ing' which are both ill-advised, however you may need to tow the line closely as 'spells' expend sanity (though the pay-off is often more than worth the risk).

However, battling against German occult forces is not as easy as it sounds, not just because the game itself throws up lengthy and challenging fights, but because the controls and interface make things far more difficult than they should be. In the release build used for this review, touching the screen resulted in a 50/50 chance of recognition of a tap. Swiping to look around the battlefield was seemingly not affected, but buttons, selecting individual units and attempting to double-tap to perform actions was painful to say the least. Coupled with an archaic interface that throws up numbers as though they impart meaning, it's a game designed with a certain type of tactical player in mind and not a broader audience.

This is a shame as the almost horror-survival feel of the tactical gameplay and trench-warfare scenario meshes well with the Lovecraft mythos of ancient cults and horrible creatures best left unseen. Sadly unraveling this mystery is made more difficult than it should be thanks to a clunky old-school tactical system and controls that, by this time in iOS game development, are frankly unforgivable.

Screenshots

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Comments

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redwaspdesign 2 years, 8 months ago

Hi there, I'm one of the developers of Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land and just wanted to note that we've released a version update to the game that fixes the issues and improves the controls system - you might want to check it out... http://redwaspdesign.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/call-of-cthulhu-the-wasted-land-updates-improves-controls/