Some games are deep, strategic experiences meant to test you mentally, while others just give you a sword and a gun and send you forth to kill stuff. Warhammer 40,000: Carnage belongs in the latter category, and it does not disappoint one bit in that regard.
Set in Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 universe and developed by Roadhouse Games, Carnage is aptly named. Instead of a turn-based war game or a real-time strategy game like previous Warhammer 40,000 titles, this app is a side-scrolling, old school run-and-gun game. It might seem like an odd move for a franchise that originated with very tactical war games and RPGs, but this style suits the universe just as well.
If anything, Carnage is the perfect companion to those other games for the hardcore Warhammer 40,000 (or “WH40K”) fan. Even though it is a bit “expensive” as far as iOS games go, the current $7 price is nothing compared to the amount of money that serious WH40K fans have likely spent on all of the figures, rulebooks, and battle terrain boards. It’s even not that expensive compared to other WH40K video games.
Carnage is certainly worth the extra money. Carnage takes many of the tabletop games’ most interesting elements, puts them into a solid engine, and transports you into the middle of these epic, bloody battles. With very tight and responsive controls, you move your Ultramarine or Blood Angel through side-scrolling and platform-based levels, while shooting, stabbing, slashing, or bashing anything that gets in your way.
Prepare for a lot of things to get in your way. There are smaller enemies that only take one or two hits to kill, medium-sized enemies that take more than a few hits, and large boss-type enemies that take quite a few hits and require you to use all of your skills and tactics to destroy them.
With varying levels of success, finishing a stage is only the beginning. Carnage has a large map with a series of interconnected stages, and each one can be seen as a small slice of destruction pie. These stages are the perfect size for a mobile game, as you can tackle most of them in only a few minutes each. However, after you finish a stage once, you can replay it to improve your rating (out of three stars total), or take on two other challenge modes. These bonus modes can add extra health for enemies, or do even crazier things like pummel you with meteors as you fight.
Other features deepen the experience as well, including a player customization system with items to upgrade your character. These items give you stat increases like extra attack power or armor rating, and some of them even give you special attacks and abilities. It is actually quite addictive to collect and equip these items, and you’ll get a real sense that you are growing the strength and power of your character.
Warhammer 40,000: Carnage has solid and satisfying combat mechanics, a deep character customization system, and the visual quality that you would expect from a Games Workshop licensed game. It’s easily one of the most entertaining and enjoyable action games on iOS.