Warfare Incorporated - PalmOS & Pocket PC Strategy Game

Reviewed by: Lianne Reitter, February 2004, send e-mail
Published by: Handmark (developed by Spiffcode), go to the web site
Requires: PC running Winds 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP or Mac running OX 8.5-9.x, Palm Desktop; PDA running Palm OS 3.5 or higher or Pocket PC running any Windows Mobile for Pocket PC
MSRP: $29.99 (both platforms)

Handheld Computing Magazine awarded Warfare Incorporated honors for Best Game of 2003. Not bad - especially considering that only a few years ago the mere concept of something more than 256 colors in a legibly bright display was the ultimate goal. It's not displays that are the problem any more however, but rather the search for surprisingly complex and detailed games which challenge the small format of the typical Palm OS-based PDA.

I love my PDA. I love the fact that I have all my contact information at the push of a button. I grin every time I convert liters to gallons. I even refer to it for my grocery list in the middle of the cereal isle – secretly mind you; I don't want to look too geeky out in public. I love playing a game or two. Solitaire and Yahtzee have been long time favorites and I'm sure you play something similar. But we have to admit it - most PDA games thus far have been great time killers, but there hasn't been anything as exciting as a really robust real time strategy game. Until now.

Spiffcode and Handmark have just injected some long needed thrills into handheld gaming with their recent release of Warfare Incorporated. It's a serious release that has left very little behind on the design table.

Warfare Incorporated takes place on the newly discovered planet of Icarus, the surface of which is just littered with a new valuable mineral, Galaxite. You play Andy Whitmore, a Security Trainee for Acme, the mining conglomerate that discovered Icarus. As the only available warm body anywhere near this new found cache, you are called upon to land on the planet and start up a mining operation.

Unbeknownst to everyone, Acme’s rival, Omni Corporation, has also landed on Icarus and it's mining every bit of Galaxite in sight and undermining the claim your company has staked. Is it your job to open up peaceful negotiations? Do you fire off an angry e-mail to your Congressman? Hell no boy! You do what all other corporate rivals do: in the words of your boss and mentor, annihilate everything! Yes friend you have gone from Security Trainee to Mercenary Capitalist Freedom Fighter and are you ever equipped to do the job!

Like all great RTS games you start by building the structures (in this case Galaxite processors) that are going to keep the money coming in to allow you to build and expand your army of guards, troopers, cannons and tanks. Build a big enough army and then let them loose on the enemy. But it’s not all raze and destroy. Nope. Sometimes you have to be very stealthy, and using your Corporate Raiders, take over your opponents' buildings. Sometimes, you are going to have to go it alone and really use your wits to out gun and out smart your opponent. You have objectives to reach and believe it or not a world to save as you find out there is a lot more going on around this little planet than just a mining squabble. There were others here many moons before you arrived and they left a few things behind.

Spiffcode has an incredible game here. Using every available millimeter of the PDA screen they have created rich colorful alien landscapes, beautifully detailed buildings and really great sound effects to make this a full RTS gaming experience. I really love the tongue in cheek humor too. I mean, Acme? Corporate Raiders? Come on, that’s funny! How about their rewards? As a corporate employee, you don't go from Private to Corporal to Sergeant to Lieutenant to Captain. Not here. Kill enough of the bad guys in Warfare Incorporated and you get promoted to Acme Up-and-Comer, or Operations Fast-Tracker!

There are 14 single player missions and for some this may seem like a short game. However, Spiffcode also includes 6 bonus challenge missions. I've also been checking out the message boards and there is some even better stuff planned for the future. Along with free upgrade releases, Spiffcode currently has both multiplayer functionality and a map editor in beta testing. They will reportedly deliver the multiplayer functionality for both WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled PDA’s. You will even be able to challenge your buddy across handheld OS platforms - Palm OS devices playing against Pocket PC's. Could this get any better? Spiffcode is working on it.

I played Warfare Incorporated on my color Sony Clie using Palm OS 4.1, a Palm Zire 71 using Palm OS 5 and a color Compaq iPAQ using Pocket PC v3. The game worked flawlessly on all three except for some display instability in the map cursor when running on Palm OS 4.1. However, if your device is MediaQ compatible, you can install MQGX.prc (you should find a copy on the Warfare Incorporated CD) for a performance boost.

If you are into RTS games or just in the mood for something a lot different than your usual PDA fare, I highly recommend Warfare Incorporated. The game is terrific as-is. With the plans its developers have, it stands to have a great future as a must-have game for your PDA.

Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: whine@kickstartnews.com




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