Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

The War of the Worlds

Review: The War of the Worlds

5:00 PM on 11.01.2011 // Conrad Zimmerman

In 1898, H.G. Wells published a tale of invaders from another world, descending upon Earth's cities with a terrible force. The War of the Worlds has been adapted into every form of media since that time, including a couple of videogames. The latest attempt to tell the story has arrived on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, bringing tripods and heat rays with it.

The War of the Worlds [PS3, Xbox 360 (reviewed)]
Developer: Other Ocean
Publisher: Paramount Digital Entertainment
Released: October 25, 2011
MSRP: $9.99 (800 MS Points) 

The War of the Worlds tells a similar story to the one found in H.G. Wells' classic novel, though with different characters and set in the mid-twentieth century. Our narrator, Arthur Clark, must make his way across the burning city of London as a martian invasion fleet is attacking. Throughout the game, the plot advances with past-tense narration from Arthur, expertly voiced by Patrick Stewart (who lends considerable weight and dignity to a decent script), and radio broadcasts discovered in stages.

Presented as a 2D side-scrolling game, Arthur runs, jumps and clambors across debris, over and through buildings and even one of the martian towers. The faded, largely black and white visual design is effective at being a bit on the creepy side. Shadowy tripods, barely visible through fog, march in the backgrounds and look really cool. Some foreground elements don't really hold up their end of the bargain, though. Arthur's movements, for example, are serviceable but seem unnatural and most of the already alien invaders look really out of place against the environments. It does help in the sense that your eye is drawn towards active elements in the game but that's merely a silver lining.

Arthur is a common man and not the sort of super-powered figure we're often accustomed to playing in games. He can run, jump, crouch and roll but that's about it for his repertoire until acquiring an axe mid-game (and even then, he's no warrior). He's frail to the point where falling more than twice his height could mean death and is no match whatsoever for the advanced weapons of the martians. About half the game is spent hiding from spotlights or running from them when stealth isn't an option and the timing on these sequences is nice and tight.

Maybe it's a bit too tight at times. There are a few parts where the timing can be so exact that death can happen dozens of times before you get it right, the margin for error so low that it's hard to believe you haven't made it. The War of the Worlds provides checkpoints within levels where you'll return when Arthur bites it and they're very frequent but it can be frustrating for those without patience for this kind of action/platform game.

When you aren't running or hiding under a piece of rubble in the hopes that a flying saucer will pass you by, there are some light puzzle sections featuring the deadly black smoke choking the city. It seeps into buildings and you must be quick to use switches that open and close doors and vents to escape. Occasionally, you'll have to explore a bit to find your way through a structure, usually riddled with some sort of nastiness or another. Bloodsucking ivy and spiders hide in these places, the only two enemies in the game that give you reasonable opportunity to defeat, and provide challenging obstacles.

There's another, altogether weirder puzzle in this game which is rather interesting because it actually does force you to think outside of "switch A opens door B." I don't want to spoil anything about this particular moment, as I find it to be the highlight of the game and much of its charm lies in the discovery.  The reason the puzzle is interesting is that it's wholly different from anything else in the game and all the pieces are there for you to discover. You can figure out what needs to be done based on several clues but it won't hold your hand and just point out the way.

That one puzzle is very refreshing. The rest are pretty basic, with environmental hazards likely to be a greater impediment to success than figuring out what the correct course of action is. The martians are doggedly persistent in their objective to exterminate all human life. Tentacles with sweeping laser beams will pop through walls to clean out rooms where they think you might be hiding. Being seen by a spotlight from a saucer means you have little time to move, though it is possible to escape them. Some of the best thrills from this game come from areas where you're being pursued. 

It's decidedly from the old school and some of the stickier problems of classic platformers it pays homage to (such as Out of this World or Flashback) are present here. Arthur moves stiffly until you can get him going and has a hitbox that does not always seem clearly defined. The War of the Worlds is thankfully forgiving when it comes to grabbing ledges, which is a step in the right direction.

The War of the Worlds winds up being a competent action/platform game in the end, and a fun one for fans of the genre. The debatably antiquated gameplay style and mechanics might be a turn-off for some, but those who enjoy those trappings should be satisfied.



The War of the Worlds - Reviewed by Conrad Zimmerman
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Conrad Zimmerman, Moustache
 Follow Blog + disclosure ConradZimmerman Tips
An avid player of tabletop and video games throughout his life, Conrad has a passion for unique design mechanics and is a nut for gaming history. He can be heard on the comedy podcast () and str... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
The War of the Worlds

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

How YOU can save DOAX3 (with diagrams)

Recap: Metal Gear Solid 2

Backward Compatibility Is More Important Than Ever (Maybe)

My beef with Sony

It's beginning to look a lot like censorship.

Solar Pony Django's Review on: Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival

Indivisible exposes why forced diversity and its proponents keep failing

Steam Controller Review

RAE - Back in Town

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Well, my Bloggers Wanted post is up, but it timetraveled back to Sunday behind Zetta's blog or will only post two days from now otherwise. Mrgrgr.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Yeah I still can't take the new Batman and Superman seriously, Batman just looks so stupid with his cowl lol.
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
This near final build of Nuclear Throne is going to bring back my eye twitch.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
When I was a lad, I loved this game something fierce. [img][/img] Anyone else ever play the tie in Small Soldiers games? Maybe it's nostalgia, but I remember them being not too bad.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Finally got my surface pro 3. Holy shit I love this little guy. And Windows 10 is better than I thought.
Putting more effort into iOS game review than African American history book report. This is not what Dr. King died for. Or maybe he did, I wouldn't know because I'm not doing the book report. Wha-hey!!
Lawman avatarLawman
More info and footage on that cancelled first-person THQ Avengers game is shown. The heartache's still real.
Archelon avatarArchelon
DailyFloze avatarDailyFloze
So just dropping in, just finished my first hands on with the new Bloodborne DLC..... in one word...Potatoes!!? #theoldhunters #dropitlikeitsyarnham #aintnothinglikeafromsoftwarething
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Indivisible's campaign just made it to $1.300.000! if you can back it please consider doing it.
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Slow day at work. [IMG][/IMG]
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
22/31 missions completed on Prototype, fun game with a ton of destruction but crashes on my desktop PC and barely runs on my dad's laptop. And it's distracting me from playing more Fallout 4. But hey, I can slice+disguise as tank commanders and that's fun
Virtua Kazama avatarVirtua Kazama
Virtua Fighter month begins tomorrow! First blog will be coming sometime this week (mostly Wednesday).
voex avatarvoex
*Sigh* time to figure out how much a Fallout 4 capable PC upgrade is gonna cost me...
ooktar avatarooktar
Ordered this on Thanksgiving and surprisingly got here today. The case is amazing and Now I got all the Persona Cards. [img][/img] [img][/
Jiraya avatarJiraya
You probably already saw this - but it is gold - Fallout 4 One Punch Man Mod [youtube][/youtube]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
I just got my new Mega64 Blu-Ray! But now I have a problem... Do I watch that or keep watching Claymore...
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Hey, my new blog is up! A few days ago! Go read it! Before......before its too late. Please. *walls start crumbling, reality starts oozing out, things begin to eeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Alright so I'm looking for a few games for my newly repurchased DS. I'm already set on RPG as it's all I have pretty much. Were there any good puzzle games? I've heard good things about Professor Layton.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I made chocolate and banana cake because why not.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -