Warhammer 40,000: Carnage Review: A Bloody Good Time
Players looking for some fast, brutal action in the App Store could do much worse than to try out Warhammer 40,000: Carnage, the new game from Roadhouse Games. It is a straightforward game that makes good use of its licensed content.
There’s nothing particularly deep about Carnage. There’s a brief plot setup — basically, one of the leaders of the Space Marines has been captured and you play a lone Space Marine out to find him — but it’s a plot that only frames the action. I stopped paying attention to it pretty early on.
The game itself is a side-scrolling shooter. Your Space Marine runs across various future apocalyptic levels laying waste to everything in his path (mostly Orks early on). He has a gun, a sword, and a jump skill, each represented by its own on-screen button. It’s basically run, shoot what’s in your path, slash when they get close, jump when needed, rinse, repeat. The whole game is played out in well crafted graphics and with fairly responsive virtual controls.
The design is almost simplistic, but it makes up a bit for the lack of originality by being very quickly paced. You’re not going to take too long to get to the end of a level. And that’s good, because there’s a grind built in here. You will find yourself playing each level more than once, most likely, in the quest for 3 stars and enough credits to upgrade effectively. Luckily, the game has built in little variations after you beat a level, to make things more challenging after several run throughs.
And you WILL need to upgrade to survive. Early on the power curve to credits earned ratio felt pretty balance, but as the game got harder so did my ability to keep up with the curve. I could have made things easier by purchasing credits via IAP, of course, something I hate to see in games with a price tag like this game has. You’ll know when the pressure starts; it’s when you begin to hit bosses you can’t seem to defeat fast enough with your gear on hand even though you just upgraded before the start of that level.
Incidentally, there’s also a promise of multiplayer action in the game. Sadly, it’s not ready to go yet. It sounds promising, though.
Where Carnage really shines, though, is in the way it reflects the Warhammer 40,000 world. The trappings of the game are true to the license, and as a former player I was quite happy with the 40K “vibe” I got playing it. One place where the vibe is particularly strong is in the character upgrade system. The game has a very robust customization scheme. Customized upgrades are common in games nowadays, and it’s actually a perfect fit for the Warhamer 40,000 license. The original tabletop game thrives on customizing models and equipping them with special weapons and armor. And credit to the developers for including items in the game that are actually from the tabletop game, as opposed to just dropping generic power-ups into the mix.
Really, the excellent leveraging of the Warhammer 40,000 brand is part of what elevates this rather straightforward combat game into something really fun. I’m sure fans of the Warhammer games will find enjoyment here, and I think any iOS gamer who likes quick, violent action games might like it too.
Our Score: 4 out of 5