Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Lead Wars ($0.99 Universal) is a wartime strategy game where you literally draw out your army unit’s movements on the battlefield: in the game you actually move your units by pushing a lead pencil across a piece of paper.
This game is all about mastering the touchscreen mechanics within the game. The battlefield is drawn out for you ahead of time. You can clearly see where your units are located, where the enemy units are, and what obstacles stand between you and them. Your units are vehicles like tanks, artillery and planes. All are at your disposal for each battle. To win a battle, you must have at least one unit still standing, and your opponent must have none. You take no prisoners in Lead Wars.
To move one of your units across the battlefield, you start out by using your finger to balance a virtual pencil on the paper map of the battlefield. You then start to tip the pencil in the opposite direction you intend to move. The idea is to make the pencil slide out from under your finger, forcing the lead tip of the pencil to leave its mark on the paper. That mark is your move. The concept works with real pencil and paper as well, which was the inspiration for the game.
You fire each vehicle’s weapon the same way, skidding the tip of the pencil across the paper battlefield. There are tutorials that show you how to elongate your shot and even shoot around corners. It is all about how you finesse the eraser end of the pencil.
It is important to note that when firing upon other ground armaments, with either tank or artillery, you can skid your pencil past your intended target and still hit it. However, when firing upon ground armaments from a plane up in the air, the mark of your pencil skid must stop exactly on top of the target. If you run out of ammunition, you can sacrifice your vehicle kamikaze-style and ram it into the enemy vehicle destroying both you and the enemy. This of course does not work when your weaponless tank on the ground wants to eliminate a flying plane up in the air.
Each battle is fought in a turn-based style of gameplay. You make your moves and take your shots, then the enemy takes their moves. Each round has a maximum number of moves and shots that you can take. Likewise each vehicle you control on the battlefield has a maximum number of moves it can make each turn. If you do not make all of your alloted moves in a given turn, you can save them until your next one. The number of moves you can make with each turn is configurable, and part of how you can control the difficulty level of the game. Another element that affects the difficulty level of the game is the complexity of the map selected for battle.
There are 12 maps to choose from. And when you grow tired of leaving your mark on each of the stock maps that come with the game, you can create your own. When creating your own maps, you can add your own units, enemy units and sprites to each new map you create. Sprites are things like trees, bushes, rivers and walls, whereas units are either tanks, artillery or planes. With each map you can add up to 200 different elements. Each of these maps, including the ones you create, can be used in local gameplay against the computer in single-player mode or head-to-head against human opponents in online multiplayer mode.
There are two forms of multiplayer. The first is tabletop fashion. In this version, you and your opponent share the same device in pass-and-play style. There is also online multiplayer that uses Apple’s own Game Center to invite your friends to play against you. In both styles, you can establish the ground rules for the battle by agreeing upon the map and the number of moves you can make with each turn. Once you agree, you can start tipping your pencils at one another until there is only once pencil left standing.