BulkyPix Wins the Hill With New WWII Strategy Game for iOS

Hills of GloryBulkyPix is a 2008-founded studio based in San Francisco and Paris that hosts an impressive portfolio of iOS releases across both the iPhone and iPad platforms. Its most recent title has only been around for a short time, and goes by the name of Hills of Glory: WWII Premium for the iPhone ($0.99) and iPad devices ($3.99). A cartoonish take on World War II, it may not be featured on any of the top lists, but it certainly warrants a look.

A sort of tactical defense game, Hills of Glory is not a game that really fits in any one genre. Perhaps most comparable to a tower defense title (with simply one really big tower), the game boasts a moderate amount of humor mixed with a simplistic and amusing level of game play with its variety of extravagant weapons. That in mind, the game doesn’t exactly follow the history books in terms of World War II accuracy, but such is not an issue in terms of the app’s overall enjoyability.

Players take control of a small team of soldiers in the middle of World War II with the objective being to defend a singular point as swarms of cartoon Nazis work their way toward it. Like a tower defense game, they have no real strategy of notice, but pretty much just throw themselves into one’s line of bullet fire. Well, that’s not entirely true, they do employ ingenious tactics such as coming from multiple directions and attacking in groups or lines.

In order to defend against these “formations” (and the term is used loosely), players are granted a pair of special attacks based on what allies they have one their team (more on them shortly). Each attack is triggered utilizing a specific gesture on the iDevice and will perform a corresponding attack. To note a few examples, a tap on an enemy will fire a single shot, while a vertical slide will create a spray of machine gun fire along that line. Now, this example comes from the first ally players acquire, and they can host up to three types on their team.

Vertical AOEEach character performs a certain role which, generally speaking, consists of a shooter, a gunner, and a support character. The shooter class typically allows players to fire single, powerful shots with a vertical area of effects. The gunner usually involves single-shot explosives and horizontal area of effects. And the support character has more radial area of effects (e.g. a pinch gesture will plant a short lasting circle of napalm in a patch of land for one of the early chacaters) and powerful super attacks.

Depending on the strength of the attack, the longer it will take to reuse, and as such it is prudent not to waste them. More than just numbers, enemies will not always die in one hit (instead they attack in their skivvies), swarms will trigger at certain points in the level, and the occasional tank will work its way into the fray as well — which are a tad harder to kill. Players do have time to handle it all though, as enemies will take time to stop under cover before attacking. Should they successfully reduce the player’s defensive position’s health to zero, the game ends.

With each kill, players also rack up a score which appears to affect how much gold is earned at the end of each level. More over, this can be augmented by using a “taunt” ability that will add a score multiplier to kills, but in turn, will trigger several dozen more enemies to attack, creating a controllable level of difficulty. The level ends once all enemies are killed.

Ally Character ClassesAlso, at the end of each level, earned gold can then be used to unlock new characters as well as upgrade old ones. Regardless of choice, the expenditure increases their overall effectiveness in terms of damage, but it is often more fun to purchase new ones for more absurd arsenals. That said, these characters (as well as some Campaign levels) can only be purchased with earnable in-game gold should the player be a high enough level (experience looks to be earned in the same way gold is earned). Should users not wish to wait to earn higher levels, they can buy virtual currency in app in quantities ranging form 40 to 650 at costs ranging $0.99 to $11.99.

One of the most entertaining elements of Hills of Glory is the over-the-top nature of attacks and the fact that this game is very far from being a “World War II” game. Just to paint a bit of a picture, there are weapons such as teasla coils, UFOs, Vietnam-era helicopters, and so on. It is this variety that makes the game worth playing.

To add a bit of longevity to the game, there is more than just its fairly short Campaign mode (a string of missions tied together with a very basic storyline). Once a campaign is completed, users can play “Fire At Will!” which is a repeatable generic mission in which users can utilize whatever characters they have unlocked and compete in leaderboards via Game Center or OpenFeint. Beyond this, there are also several achievements for players to unlock.

In the end, Hills of Glory: WWII Premium is a great new game that is certainly worth playing. Truth be told, there are really no complaints to be had, with the only possible issue being that the iPad version feels a bit pricey compared to the $0.99 iPhone copy. Even so, it’s only $3.99 and is nicer to have the bigger screen. If for nothing else, it is easier to target incoming enemies. It just goes to show, that it doesn’t take a top ranking position to be a fun game.