“War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!” or so we’re lead to believe. Well when it comes to digital war it can either bring out the best or the worst side of video games. However, don’t make the mistake of using games to replace a history lesson otherwise you may think that BJ Blazkowicz single-handedly curb stomped every Nazi, American History X style from existence.
Games based on war when done right can be a way to transport us into a version of the past, the same way a book or film can help us to learn about the horrors of war through an interactive story ultimately reminding us how important it is to avoid past mistakes of humanity and learn our lessons from the past. They can also glamourise war glossing over the bad stuff. This is the by-product of a lazy developer eager to shift a few units exploiting history for a quick buck. LOOK AT ALL THESE GUNS! OMG LOOK AT THE GRAPHICS! SHOOT EVERYTHING! KILL EVERYONE! WAR IS GOOD!! These are the types of games I avoid.
This War Of Mine isn’t that type of game. This is a labor of love. This is when games become art for me and I can get really passionate about these games. I can tell 11 Bit Studios cared about what they wanted the player to feel, what they wanted us to think, and the message that they wanted us take from this the game.
It’s a heart wrenching view of war from a civilians view-point. You are not armed to the teeth with the latest weapons. Instead, you are just an ordinary civilian struggling to find food, medicine and basic safety to stay alive. Prepare for this game to destroy you emotionally.
The choices you have to make in this game can be unrelenting just to try to keep your initial trio of survivors alive. The game is split into two parts, exploring and scavenging/stealing necessary items to survive at night, and being forced to stay inside during the day for fear of being killed by sniper fire. The focus shifts to keeping your structure well maintained.
The game is now available on iOS and Android stores with a launch discount of 33% for £7.99. It’s best played at night in bed with some headphones. I honestly implore you to play this game and get sucked into the story I’ll say no more. No north Korean jokes from me this week.