Warheads Medieval Tales offers familiar fantasy fun

Warheads Medieval Tales, developed by DNA Interactive Ltd and published by Glu Distribution, is a new fantasy roleplaying game for iOS devices. It’s available now as a Universal download from the App Store, and is a free-to-play title with in-app purchases.

The iOS version of Warheads Medieval Tales is loosely based on the tabletop game of the same name, in which protagonist Hugo of Deangard squares off against his arch-rival Gui le Batard. The tabletop game is distributed in an innovative manner — rather than being sold in a standalone boxed set, the game’s unfolding story and expanding ruleset is published in magazines that contain a series of two-player adventures in which one player may take on the role of Hugo and the other Gui. A series of miniatures are also available for use in the game, which features a distinctive, stylized cartoon aesthetic.

The iOS game itself captures the visual style of the tabletop Warheads game well, with crisp, clean art and smooth animation bringing the characters to life on-screen. Gameplay, meanwhile, takes its cues from Mika Mobile’s paid app Battleheart and Triniti Interactive’s free-to-play Heroes vs Monsters. Parties of up to four characters at once take to the field to battle against waves of incoming monsters who appear from both sides of the forced-perspective side-scrolling screen. By tapping on a character and dragging it to an on-screen destination or enemy, they will either move to the location or attack the enemy with their equipped weapon. The system is sometimes prone to misinterpreting drags if a lot of characters and enemies are occupying the same space on screen. The game is significantly less prone to this issue (and thus more comfortable to play) on the bigger screen of the iPad.

Characters will automatically start attacking enemies who attack them first, and as the player’s squad gains experience, they unlock a variety of special abilities to help manage the flow of the battle. Sir Hugo, for example, quickly gains a Taunt ability, which allows him to attract the attention of monsters away from the more fragile members of the team. Skills are presented in a “tree” system, allowing players to develop their characters down several different paths according to their play style.

Unlike Battleheart and Heroes vs Monsters, whose battles typically unfold on a single screen, Warheads’ skirmishes take place in several waves. Once the battle party has cleared a single wave of enemies, they automatically walk onto the next screen to take on the subsequent wave, and this is repeated until either the encounter is completed or the player’s team has been defeated. Either way, when this happens, players return to the “Village” screen, where they are able to level up their characters if they have gained sufficient experience; acquire new skills; purchase new equipment and healing potions; and hire new heroes at the Tavern. The player acquires set heroes at specific points in the game’s unfolding story, but the additional heroes available at the tavern allow a greater degree of flexibility when assembling a lineup to take into battle. These special heroes do, however, cost hard currency to acquire. This hard currency may also be used to purchase equipment and potions in the village if the player has not acquired enough soft currency through battle to afford them.

Being a single player game, social features are somewhat limited. OpenFeint is used for achievements, and the service also offers a “Fan Club” facility where the developer is able to post announcements regarding the game. At the time of writing, however, this area had not been used. Through OpenFeint, the player may also invite friends to play either using their iOS device’s contact list or their online OpenFeint friends list. Game Center is not implemented at all.

Warheads Medieval Tales features a generous amount of content for free coupled with a solid (if slightly expensive for users) monetization strategy. To follow the game’s progress through the App Store charts, check out AppData, our tracking service for iOS and social games and developers.