REVIEW: Rabbit Wars, an EXCELLENT, multiplayer-enabled game!
Itís pretty hard NOT to like AIM Productions
í games. In the Bible of Pocket PC GamesĖ Part I
, (use Ctrl-F to search for ďAIM Productions
Ē) Iíve reviewed most of their titles and was very happy with most of them. For example, despite its being at least five years old, it was me that, as the Nominations Manager
, nominated both their Toki Tori
both last and this year for the Smartphone & Pocket PC Mag Best Software Awards
. I really recommend giving their titles a try Ė youíll find most of them VERY good. Donít be afraid of some of them being pretty old - as Iíve stated, even their aged games are definitely worth a try.
(Note that in addition to Part I of the Games Bible
, you will also want to check out THIS
review of their Gyroid
review of their Frosty Factory
Their latest title is Rabbit Wars
, a turn-based, multiplayer-enabled (!) strategy title. Yes, itís multiplayer-enabled, which is great news for all Windows Mobile players not really having many games to play against other Windows Mobile users. In addition, it also supports MS Smartphones (not only Pocket PCís).
1. Availability, price; free desktop Windows version!
Itís available for purchase / demo download HERE
. The restrictions of the (mobile) trial is the complete lack of multiplayer and being restricted to one map only (also meaning you wonít be able to test the advanced units like the Medicopter). The full version costs $19.95.
Note that, thanks to leading Windows Mobile gaming site PocketGamer.org
, you can download the desktop Windows version for free (as opposed to the mobile versions). See THIS
thread for more information on this. I really recommend this Ė the desktop version, while itís pretty much low-resolution (being pretty much a mobile port), is still fun to play, particularly in multiplayer mode, which it fully supports.
2. Solo mode; whatís the game is all about?
As a generic overview, I heartily recommend THIS
review by Solsie (it has a French translation HERE
). In here, I only discuss questions not present in that review.
Also note that the game has a very good help (accessible right from the main menu; the in-game help is pretty much useless Ė for example, it doesnít contain any information on the different capabilities, range etc. of the units, which is essential information on coming up with a decent strategy) you WILL want to read. An example screenshot:
2.1. A quick overview Ė what itís like?
Despaired of the fact that PDAMill
ís excellent Snails
is no longer playable in multiplayer mode (as its central server / lounge has long been stopped)? Donít like the fact that the otherwise excellent Atomic Cannon
doesnít support multiplayer? Looking for a lighter, multiplayer version of X-COM UFO Defense
(a.k.a. Enemy Unknown
)? While thereís a free (!) and pretty decent port of UFO by Russian developer SMK
, you may still want a, by gameplay, pretty similar, but much easier-to-master and multiplayer-supporting game.
This game an optimal mixture of these games: Snails (and other Worms clones), Atomic Cannon and X-COM UFO Defense. And, again, it has (as opposed to Snails) working multiplayer support!
Also note that the homepage of the game
has a decent animation. As itís Flash (and not a, say, animated GIF), I canít directly link it in here (Object tags are refused / ignored by the engine).
3. Multiplayer support
Itís mostly multiplayer that can make a game a kick-butt one. For example, I didnít particularly like
the Pocket PC port of Call of Duty 2
because it just canít reproduce the atmosphere of the original game on the desktop. Not with the (LAN) multiplayer version, which I loved
. The same stands for several other, multiplayer-enabled titles.
This is particularly true of non-action games (that is, games where connection lag isnít a problem) playable over the Internet, even through slow and/or lagging connections like GPRS. Examples of these games include probably the best Pocket PC game today, Orions: Legend of Wizards (and its expansion pack, Orions: The Second Age) reviewed HERE
, which is, being also a turn-based strategy title, is also playable over lagging connections.
Fortunately, the title supports all the three kinds of most important multiplayer technologies: lounge-based Internet play, local LAN-based multiplayer with multicast discovery (no direct IP entering necessary, which is great news) and, finally, the (currently, not really working) native Bluetooth.
Please refer to the Multiplayer Bible
for more information on all these modes, shouldnít you know what this all means. Also, itís from there that Iíve linked in tutorials on setting up for example Wi-Fi or Bluetooth PAN peer-to-peer networks.
3.1 Initiating / joining multiplayer games
In the main menu, go to New / Duel, and, depending on the type of the game, select Internet (for central server / lounge, typically long-distance games), LAN (for local games when you have a direct, even peer-to-peer, network between the two devices) or Bluetooth. (Note that the latter is, at the time of writing, may not work on all / most devices).
After this, the game will search for available games. After a while, it lists them all (in native Bluetooth mode, it lists all the Bluetooth-enabled devices in the vicinity) and also enables the ďCreate serverĒ button at the bottom right. If you plan to start a server, tap it, select a map (screenshot HERE
) and press Go (again at the bottom right). The server will start waiting for incoming connections.
Now, the client handsets can go to New / Duel, select the appropriate game type (Internet lounge / LAN / native Bluetooth) and, after some searching, the server will be listed. Just click the name and the game starts.
In the three subsections that follow, I elaborate on the three multiplayer modes.
3.2 Lounge (central server)-based multiplayer
In addition to (Internet-less, peer-to-peer) LAN games, this is the most important form of multiplayer gaming, making it possible to play anyone else from anywhere. The lounge- (central server-) based approach makes it possible to avoid directly entering remote IP addresses (unlike with Internet-based games lacking the lounge model like that of Orions or a great Stratego clone, Napoleonix, reviewed HERE
) and also help for running into strangers wanting to play others, should you just want to look around for an opponent.
In the following screenshot, you can see the Internet lounge showing two games waiting for opponents:
There, you only need to click one of them and the game starts.
3.3 LAN (local) play
Fortunately, the other most versatile and important multiplayer mode, that of LAN play, also works and, what is more, supports multicast discovery, which means you wonít need to enter IP addresses anywhere, unlike with, say, the excellent Doom port DoomPPC / DoomGLES, which is very hard to configure
, particularly if thereíre more than two players in a game.
LAN play also includes Wi-Fi peer-to-peer gaming (this is supported by the vast majority of todayís handsets Ė only the lowest-end Windows Mobile phones come without Wi-Fi). Bluetooth PAN is also supported (as one would guess Ė after all, the networking architecture is totally transparent to multiplayer games Ė all they see is a local network where they can discover others / the server using multicast discovery protocols).
This is the game type that you will want to play if you donít want to use your PDAís phone (and/or itís not a phone / you donít have a data plan) and your opponents are nearby Ė say, in the same room, during a boring meeting. Of course, you can still use Internet play in this case too if both of you have Internet access.