Features & Use
SketchWars is quite clearly an Asteroids clone, but as mentioned in the teaser the original has been completely re-interpreted. You are no longer navigating a spaceship, trying to dodge asteroids and UFOs—you are now controlling what is basically the tip of a fountain pen.
The setting has also changed: a sketch pad has replaced outer space. The goal is to evade and/or gun down a varied cast of enemies. Once an opponent has been taken down he leaves either a blob of ink or a squiggly line behind.
To make sure that your enemies don’t rise from the ashes you have to be sure to white out the ink stains with Tipp-Ex (Wite-Out) and rub out the lines with an eraser. You’ll find both the Tipp-Ex and eraser in the upper part of the screen and can access them easily from there.
Opponents will just keep pouring on to your sketch pad, so you have to be pretty crafty at avoiding them, shooting them, whiting them out, and erasing them. You have only three lives; if an enemy manages to touch you or the tip of the fountain pen slips from the sketch pad you lose one of them.
The game is all about staying alive as long as possible whilst collecting as many points as possible. You receive points every time you shoot an enemy as well as by collecting the ink stains left behind by vanquished opponents. Some ink stains give you Power-Ups so that you get more ammunition or an extra life.
As you can see in the video, the visual design is pretty awesome, and the soundtrack isn’t bad either.
It’s been a while since I last doled out a five star rating, but SketchWars definitely deserves it. The developers have really managed to make the Asteroids gameplay relevant and contemporary.
Screen & Controls
You’ll find the following options on the start screen:
And you can also access all options via the menu button:
(The latter three are the Extras on the start screen.)
You can select the degree of difficulty (Easy, Medium, Hard or SketchCore) under Options, as well as set the Sensor Sensitivity. You can also switch the sound effects and vibration mode on or off.
The sensor is calibrated at the beginning of each new game; this means that you have to hold your device in the way that you want to use it throughout the game. You control the fountain pen tip by moving your phone, and in order to shoot you need to tap the direction you want the shot to go. This took some getting used to for me. I found that what works best is to tap rather far outside of the display, because otherwise you actually block off you’re your view of where your enemies are. When I first started playing I also accidentally pulled the eraser onto the sketch pad a few times. The eraser (as well as the Tipp-Ex) is located in the upper right corner; grab it, then wipe it across the line until it’s been rubbed out. Same goes for the Wite-Out/Tipp-Ex.
I had a good time testing SketchWars: the gameplay is really awesome. And the application has even managed to convert me: I am now an Asteroids fan! And while I can’t say that I’ll start playing the original version any time soon, I can definitely see myself playing a few rounds of SketchWars!
Speed & Stability
The app ran very smoothly throughout the testing phase -- absolutely no problems to report.
You can download SketchWards from the Market for € 0.99 or $1.25.