Due in part to an emphasis on the ultra-casual gamer, the mobile gaming market is constantly being flooded. Unfortunately, many of these games are left feeling more like cash-grabs than enjoyable games. Developer Miniclip has clearly put in the effort to separate War Wings from some of these common mobile gaming pitfalls.
War Wings is an exciting PvP combat flight simulator, centered around planes from the World War 2 era. The player is granted access to planes from four different countries: the UK, Germany, the USA, and Soviet Russia. Within each country, there are different classes of aircraft which cater to individual playstyles, and the stat spread is significant enough to ensure diverse and dynamic gameplay for each match. Using credits gained through playing matches, players can customize and upgrade their aircraft, or unlock new aircraft.
Gameplay was seamless and satisfying. Queue times were always quick, and the controls were easy to learn. Like many other combat-style games of this type, each plane in War Wings is controlled via a virtual joystick combined with swiping motions. However, unlike many other mobile games these controls always felt responsive. Despite its simplicity, there was room for skilled pilots to truly have an advantage over less skilled foes. A clear skill ladder in this market is rare, and War Wings does this well. Matchmaking also seemed to be well done. In both casual and ranked play, players were sorted by plane tier, with both teams receiving an equal amount of players from each tier. Even the servers seemed to be a tier above the expected. Whether I was at home or on the go, I never experienced any issues with server failure, or even lag. All of this was accomplished while also never severely affecting my battery life. Even with a fairly heavily stocked phone, I was able to enjoy one or two straight hours of play at a time.
However, there were a few bumps in the road. Team deathmatch mode was fun, the PvE focused “Base Defense” felt slower less clear. The few times I played this mode, a number of the players did not know whether to go for the static objectives or for the enemy players, or how to go about destroying each objective, and as such these games always ended by the clock running out rather than by successful destruction of the objective.
Additionally, War Wings seems fall into the trap of being overly “pay-to-win.” The power that a player can gain through microtransactions makes it nearly impossible for free-to-play players to compete. There are ways for free players to purchase new planes and upgrades, but the ability to buy more damage, armor, and maneuverability is overwhelmingly powerful. A “Premium Account” system, incentivized by even more plentiful and rapid upgrades, adds even more pressure to spend money. Considering the opportunity for balanced competitive gameplay, this was disappointing.
Overall, War Wings was a fun experience, and an excellent entry into the casual mobile market.
Game testing was performed on an iPhone SE.