Hedgewars is an open-source game that has been around for some four years; a turn based strategy title that’s more than inspired from classic Team17 games and closely resembles Worms 2. Not that there’s anything wrong with taking inspiration from one of the finest artillery games that’s been produced, but this game doesn’t really have its own identity.
Indeed, it features high-pitched voices, pink characters, in places almost identical user interfaces and shares many of the same weapons albeit with different names. You have the homing bee instead of the homing missile, the watermelon bomb instead of the banana bomb, and a hellish hand grenade instead of a holy one. You can play on a randomly generated map or pick one of the pre-rendered scenarios, and you can setup different weapon sets with a fine level of control over ammunition and chances of appearing in a weapon drop.
This all translates to a game that, for all intents and purposes, plays exactly like Worms. But being a straight port over from the desktop, it has a few interface issues; one, there doesn’t seem to be a way to switch between team members before you start your turn as the tab key is omitted from the game, nor can you tap the hedgehog you want to fire with. The virtual controls work well though for the most part even if they may be a little counterintuitive, but it’s mostly using weapons such as airstrikes that can be the most problematic, as you have to pan the screen with the weapon selected, then tap a button that appears below the strike icon when you’re done. Panning in this way is a little too sensitive.
Happily, the game is as customizable as Worms is and even includes extensive hedgehog personalisation with hats; there are dozens to choose from and each of your hedgehogs can have a different hat if you so choose. The voice sets can be customised too; mobsters, robots, surfers, pirates and more which gives you a good variety to choose from.
Graphically, the game is a bit patchy; some maps look great, some look fairly average and some of them are quite rough around the edges; same goes for the various fortresses that you get to pick from in the game. There’s no real cohesive aesthetic here, just a collection of artwork by contributors to the project; none of it has been optimised for the iPad which is a shame as it shows especially at higher magnification.
You’d be hard pressed to find a game of this type that has this much entertainment for the price asked for; the AI puts up a good fight and pass and play multiplayer works as well as it does for Worms, but in effect you’re paying for a poor man’s version of the game. Hedgewars lacks an identity of its own and simply photocopies Team17’s work and the result is not as good as the original.