Warpack: Grunts is a top-down shooter that takes place in a “generic South American jungle”. It has a cartoon-like look and feel reminiscent of the tower defense game Fieldrunners. It will feel immediately familiar to anyone who played the Cannon Fodder series of games on the PC. Though it manages to dazzle with its intricate visuals, it handicaps itself a bit with some control and design decisions that detract from how fun the game should be.
In Warpack: Grunts you control a squad of four soldiers by having them follow your finger around the screen and double-tapping to stop them and begin shooting. You get to pick up special weapons such as sniper rifles, bazookas and grenades as well as medical packs and extra men. These are useful when up against the tanks, pillboxes, and other heavier enemies you will encounter in the game. In later levels you get to occupy a tank or helicopter, which is a nice break from your usual infantry squad.
Break out the marshmallows, men.
Despite its comical theme, Warpack: Grunts looks great. There is a ton of detail, from the splashing water of the swampy ground underfoot to the swaying of the jungle as it is blown in the wind. Explosions look very cool, and there are plenty of them to see.
These visuals are paired with excellent and immersive sound effects. The ambient jungle sounds and the punctuated reports of your machine gun add a lot to the game. Unfortunately the setting is almost identical from level to level and you will be left with the feeling that you have seen it all before once you are a few levels in.
The controls are where Warpack: Grunts starts to suffer. Using your finger as a guide means that it is quite often in the way of the action. By the time you realize that an enemy is near and switch to firing at them you will likely have already sustained some damage.
This is also due in part to the lack of strategic options in the game. Since you can’t move while shooting, or seek cover, you have little choice but to walk up to the enemy and try to kill them faster than they can kill you. This rather bland interaction is made worse by the fact that your enemy may not even be on the screen when they start to shoot at you. The whole process ends up being not particularly exciting.
Tanks for the memories.
These issues are partially made up for by the large amount of content in the game. You can select any level that you want right out of the gate, so if you are bored or stuck on a particular level you can easily jump ahead and try a different one. The game also features online leaderboards, which may give you a reason to go back and play a level again.
If you see a screenshot or movie of Warpack: Grunts, it looks like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, when you actually get your hands on it, the game starts to feel a little repetitive and methodical. Sure, it’s fun to see a half-dozen infantry blown sky high when you light up an ammo dump, but it’s missing some of that white-knuckle excitement that an arcade game should have.
Warpack: Grunts is not a bad game, and is probably worth the $.99 price tag to fans of the genre, but there are plenty of more entertaining options on the App Store.