Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds: Minigame Adventure in Review – Isn’t That A Long Title?

The War Of The Worlds is one of those properties that in my opinion has never really been used to its full potential, except for possibly the radio broadcast that scared a nation in 1938.  I must admit that I never would have dreamed of anyone turning the saga into a musical, however, let alone making a mini-game extravaganza out of said musical.  Sadly, the concept is much better than the execution and little things like interface inconsistencies and constant crashing make the game not very much fun to play.  Boring mini-games don’t help either.

The game is divided into 12 chapters – one of which has not been released yet – each chronicling the related segment of the musical.  In most cases you have the option of skipping the story, though I would not recommend this since often the story is the best part of the sequence.  The story is told through silent videos that are overlaid with a narrator speaking, and it actually works quite well.  Once you get into the games themselves, however, things start to fall apart.

You can play any chapter at any time, but if you follow them in sequence the first chapter is done up adventure game style, and it is quite fun.  After that sequences include such things as manipulating light to strike a particular lens, escaping a laser beam while collecting other survivors, and reclaiming land from the “red weed” via an Othello style game.  In theory this should work because it means there would be something for almost everyone, but the reality is that only some of the games work well, and not all of those are interesting.  Of the seven chapters I’ve played I didn’t care for three of them at all, and the light manipulation and Othello games were just weak implementations of each genre.  The adventure game was decent, and a Tap Tap Revenge style game was enjoyable only because the music was good.

Control schemes depend on the game being played, and for the most part work well.  However, games that require tilting to move your avatar don’t.  The explanations of how to play the various games aren’t always the best, and most of them are over in a matter of a couple of minutes.  In cases where they aren’t you might wish they were.  One game in particular requires you to first stave off Martian invaders by moving your troops around a board, killing the machines one by one.  The next phase of this game requires you to move your troops around the board while trying to get the Martians to kill you.  Not only does that not make sense, but when the game crashed on me during the second phase, I had to repeat the whole thing over again.

That was a big issue for me.  The game crashed on me at least 4 times, two of which were after a clean boot.  Plus, this game was the only one I had played after that reboot.  I don’t expect games to be perfect.  Even some of my favorites like Dead Space (TMA Review) have crashed on me once or twice.  So many crashes over so little time playing, however, is not all that acceptable to me.

The visuals are a mixed bag.  I like the cut scenes, and while I believe they are actual videos with live people, sometimes they appear to be computer generated.  Either way they are the best part of the imagery.  In some cases the mini-games are actually decent, like the adventure game segment.  More often than not, however, it feels like the graphics were ripped from an intermediate level game development book.  The audio is okay for the most part, though many of the mini-games don’t have music playing in the background, which is a bit odd given that this game is based off of a musical.  The music between games is quite nice, though, and in some cases helps tell the story.  The other high point of the audio is the narration, which is very nicely done.

I would really love to recommend this game.  I think the concept is sound and the use of mini-games to convey the action parts of the story is quite creative.  Unfortunately, the stability issues and lack of polished production value greatly diminish any positive value the overall game has.  Add to that the fact that a large percentage of the mini-games aren’t much fun and there’s not much to give a thumbs up to.  I would consider grabbing the game if it ever goes free, but at the current asking price I’d save your cash.

App Summary
Title: Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds: Minigame AdventureDeveloper: Softeq Development Corporation
Reviewed Ver:Min OS Req:4.2
Price:$4.99App Size:
  • Interesting concept
  • Cut scenes look good
  • Music is neat
  • Many mini-games aren’t interesting
  • Several mini-games don’t have in-game music
  • Tilt controls aren’t very good
  • In-game graphics tend to be blah
  • Crashes too frequently

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  • http://www.zgames.com/ zGames

    Thanks for taking the time to review our game. We’re sorry you experienced some crashes…we’ve since addressed those and released the final minigame as well. While not free, it is on sale for 60% off this weekend, 2/03-2/05. I think you’d agree that 12 games for $1.99 is a pretty good bargain!

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