Naked War

Naked War

Naked War

The latest indie gem uncovered.

Taking my cue from the title of this game, I've decided to lay myself bare on the internet. If you click on this link, you should be able to see all my intimate details. Not those intimate details! Honestly! You lot disgust me! No, the details you'll be able to see are my 'player information' statistics for Naked War. See, normally, when you read a review, you just never know how long the reviewer has deigned to play it for. Heck, when I was working for one high-profile games mag, a freelance reviewer submitted a review of a Game Boy Advance game that, to judge from the save games on the game cartridge, he'd only played for a marathon 34 minutes). Whereas if you click on that link, you'll be able to see for yourselves that (at the time of writing), I have completed seven games of Naked War, and sent 113 turns to opponents. And I've won a grand total of zero games. What you won't be able to see, because it's 'private information', is that (at the time of writing) I've played the game for 7 hours 40 minutes. Ample time for it to ensnare me with its addictive charms.

Appropriately enough, the developers of Naked War are also exposing themselves, a bit. Having built up over 22 years of experience in videogame development on classic games such as Aquaqua, Wetrix, and Plok!, The Pickford Brothers have decided to go ahead and create their latest game without the safety net of a publisher. Instead, they're publishing the game themselves, and they've devised an innovative pay-per-play sort of system to actually allow the quality of their game to determine their financial return. Basically, anyone can download and play the game for free, as long as someone else challenges you to a game. But if you want to start games yourself, you have to pay for a certain number of challenges, which you issue to other players (although there are various ways to earn free challenges, including inviting new players).

The game itself is also reasonably innovative: it's a turn-based strategy game, but players take each turn against their opponent over email. It starts with a quick game of paper-scissors-stone, to determine who will take the first turn, and after that, the action plays out between two squads of four solders over a cartoon-coloured island that's dotted with Crates, Tanks, Helicopters, Boats, and the occasional Gun Turret. The object of the game is ostensibly simple: to collect all of your opponent's 'doofers'. Each soldier starts with one of these, but if they manage to 'demob' an enemy soldier (by reducing their health bar to zero) they acquire any doofers held by that soldier. This can account for some pretty sudden reversals of fortune if the doofers become concentrated in the possession of just one or two soldiers, but that's just one of the game's intricacies.

Read more