Red Rover, Red Rover, send a tank right over. The classic playground game, Red Rover, is now available for the iPad—albeit with a militaristic twist. Though Mantid Interactive‘s iPad version of the game is more complicated than its playground counterpart, it doesn’t have enough content to keep you interested for long.
Red Rover pits you and a friend (the game is multiplayer only) against each other in a military strategy game set in World War I. Each player takes on the role of either a German or British commander and has control over one half of an iPad screen, with each half representing territory. Each player also commands a compliment of WW1 era soldiers and weapons. The end of each player’s half of the iPad screen is considered the end of his/her territory. If one player successfully gets his/her troops to end of the other’s territory, that player wins the game.
As a commander, you are presented with a list of troops/weapons that you can use to attack your enemy. You can send tanks, planes, and cannons at your enemy. You can also send a platoon of soldiers to attack your enemy, or station the soldiers in ditches on your half of the battlefield to stop invading forces. Soldiers, tanks, and planes only move in straight lines. If your opponent wants to stop your forces from invading his/her territory, s/he has to put his/her own forces directly in the path of yours. Your opponent can also put wire fences, cement blocks, and stationary cannons on his/her territory to slow the progress of your troops. I’m afraid that’s about it when it comes to unit (and tactical) variety in Red Rover. The simplistic game is married to unimpressive visuals—2-D and not very memorable.
When forces collide, the troops just shoot at each other, but you won’t see any of the bruising or blood splattering associated with most video game fights. All soldiers, objects, and weapons come with health bars. During battles, you can watch your forces’ health bars to see how well they’re fighting. If you want to give your forces an offensive advantage over your enemy’s forces, you can pair your forces up. You can pair platoons of soldiers with other platoons, tanks with platoons, planes with platoons, or all three together to make them attack your enemy as one.
Unfortunately, Red Rover has a few big flaws. I find it annoying that the game doesn’t offer a single-player option. As most gamers should know, it’s sometimes hard to find a fellow gamer to compete with, so a computer challenger would make Red Rover much more accessible. An online option would also make Red Rover more versatile and appealing to a wider range of players.
Red Rover is also very thin on content. The game only lets you play on a measly one battlefield. The field is not very exciting or visually pleasing—it mostly consists of dirt. Red Rover only offers you seven units (weapons and soldiers) that you can use to attack or defend. Unfortunately, the units behave similarly (only really separated by their strengths) and their limited mobility means you can’t get creative attacking your enemy.
Red Rover isn’t an awful game. It delivers an intuitive interface and non-bug ridden gameplay. However, in its current form, it feels more like a demo than an actual game. If its developers were to expand its content, I am sure Red Rover would be far more enjoyable.
[Sam Felsing is an editorial intern for Macworld.]