Stalingrad (Review) iPhone/iPod/iPad

Stalingrad (Review) iPhone/iPod/iPad

Not only is this alleged 3D shooter awful, but it’s an insult to the ultimate battle of World War II.

There’s ambivalence about reliving war as entertainment instead of just blowing away the aliens in Doom, but gamers have made their peace with it for various reasons. As a history minor who’s spent  a good chunk of his career analyzing politics, I’m part of the classic school of wargamers interested in how battles might have ended differently and history altered as a result.

Stalingrad, for the majority of U.S. college grads who don’t know how NATO was formed to resist Soviet expansion, is widely considered the turning point in WWII. The Twitter summary is Hitler double-crossed and invaded Russia, but didn’t provide an adequate supply line for his winter troops. As a result, Germans occupied up to 90 percent of the city of Stalingrad, but the badly outnumbered Russian troops eventually dealt the Germans their first serious defeat of the war in a drastic series of battles.

The $2.99 Stalingrad app is billed as a “3D action shooter” where the player can take the role of Axis or Allies in four missions. The promo copy goes on to state “stand your ground as enemy hordes attack from all sides in this 3D action shooter!”

If only I’d realized how literally true that description is.

It’s unrealistic to expect an iPhone FPS to capture the detailed nuances of that historic battle. Instead, the obvious objective would seemingly be to either advance your German solider into extremely hostile enemy territory with limited gear, or drive an overwhelming number of Nazis out of your frigid and beloved hometown.

But this game literally never even gets into first gear. All the player does is rotate on a stationary spot shooting at enemy troops advancing from all directions, using one of two weapons offered at the start (each side gets different choices). Moreover, the sit-and-spin interface is clumsy and imprecise. You can’t aim without shooting, for instance, so there’s no saving your ammo for when troops are in your sights (there’s short pauses as clips are reloaded, but otherwise your starving troops have unlimited bullets). There is the option to power-weapons in various ways between waves, perhaps the one redeeming factor of the game.

Everything from the options screens (where overlapping text makes things unreadable) to disturbing crashes (at one point I had to do a complete reset of my iPod while trying to take a screenshot) reeks of amateurdom.

This would be a discard even as a free app. To charge $2.99 is cause for mutiny.

By Mark Sabbatini

Stalingrad by William Burgers
$2.99
Platform Reviewed: iPhone/iPod (Requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later)
Category: Arcade
Languages Supported: English

Rating: 9+ for Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence
File Size: 12.6 MB


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