First person shooters have often faced criticism because of their increasing level of violence and realism. I don’t want to get stuck into the argument about whether games encourage kids (or people in general) to be violent, what I do know is that Water Warfare for Wii is the first FPS designed for children that I’ve ever seen and it’s from Hudson Software. Let’s delve deeper in my review of Water Warfare for Wii.
My first ever experience of a first person shooter was a game called Gloom for the Amiga in 1995 and since then I’ve played a fair few more FPS games. So many in fact if I tried to write a list now I’d probably end up racking my brains trying to remember them all. Ever since those days the steady progression of technology as well as consumer demand has seen these games become gorier and more realistic than ever before. Many people are concerned that FPS games are too violent for children and I can see their point. Water Warfare tries to bridge the controversial gap with a game that uses the same style of engine as you’d find in any typical adult FPS game but is instead coated with a family friendly skin revolved around water pistols and summer fun. You will still find pistols, rifles and bazookas here but this time they are brightly coloured plastic toys that fire water at your fellow child like opponents. I’m sure you’re used to having a health bar which depletes as you get hit, well not here. Instead as you get splattered by water your shirt gets wetter and wetter you run and jump slower until you’re eventually KO’d and forced to change your shirt (until you’ve run out). Even health packs are replaced with towels which you dry off with and items such as umbrellas and raincoats act which act as as shields or invincibility. To a FPS veteran this will probably sound bombastic but here’s the truth; IT WORKS.
Right at the start you’re asked to create your avatar (sadly no Mii support) and whilst you only have a small choice of manga style character models to build from at least you can attempt to recreate yourself here. Next you can choose to start the mission mode, a one off match or multiplayer (both locally and online).
Mission mode is a collection of four pretty arena maps each with random spawning items but before you head into the; kids playground, sunny beach, shopping plaza and Nature Park you’ll have to complete the training missions. Each map features 8 different missions which all involve you shooting at water pistols at enemies until they’re out. Thankfully though there are different themes to vary the gameplay a little.
Sometimes you’ll be shooting static targets, others you’ll be trying to take over and defend a base or even stealing treasure chests in a capture the flag style game. It even could be running through the map hitting checkpoints before you opponent (squirting them to slow them down) or even taking on the role as a sniper to protect your team mates reach the other side of the map before the baddies squirt them. The 8th mission on each map is a boss battle where you’ll take on a solo enemy who is typically faster and more skilful than the other CPU characters you meet. If you defeat them you not only unlock the next map but get to use that character in custom matches.
As you’d expect you get to run around these colourful area’s jumping around the environment squirting opponents and sometimes defending team mates, you don’t run out of ammo as such but you will have to refill your water at a stream or fountain but beware not to jump in and get soaked or you might lose a shirt (remember your shirts are your ‘lives’). Scattered around the map are many different weapons to pickup (sometimes even dual wield) and items to find. Some of my favourite items include; a cork to plug someone’s ‘gun’, the water balloon and the special item which turns the arena pitch black requiring some squinting to see.
You can play multiplayer locally with 2 players in split screen mode either as a team or all for one against the CPU. It’s works well and the framerate stays smooth which is handy. If you don’t have a local friend you can head online and play with up to 8 other random members or those you share your friend code with. Water Warfare is quite fun when you have a match full of people and even without voice chat you can still have a fun few rounds. There are also online rankings to climb though the website to view them is marked as coming soon on the site but hopefully that will be up and running by the time you read this.
Overall even despite being for kids I still enjoyed Water Warfare. The controls work rather well with IR pointing showing that dual sticks are the poorest way to play an FPS game – it’s the closest you can get to mouse and keyboard control on a home console. Everything looks and sounds fine here, it’s all perfectly suited for younger gamers but even I loved running around the adventure playground like a big kid. There won’t be any graphic or sound awards but then this is the Wii after all before you even factor in the child friendly look. If you played Hudson’s previous FPS title Onslaught; then you’ll know Hudson have a nice sturdy FPS engine here and whilst it’s not technically going to match triple A titles such as Call of Duty it’s good to know that you’re not going to get left frustrated with awful controls and a chugging gameplay.
I don’t recommend anyone younger than say 12 years old buy it as their primary FPS but if you have a younger sibling or child and would like to let them play an FPS game that’s suitable for their sensitive mind but still fun then this is perfect. You can even let them go online without fear of being groomed by pervies because it’s not possible to swap any personal data at all with the only communication being about 15 set phrases which you can send back and forth to the whole group. If you’re a core gamer then steer clear because this game isn’t for you but Water Warfare for Wii scores 8 out of 10 for being perfect for its target audience (younger gamers/families) and doing so rather well.
Get Water Warfare now
New: Buy Water Warfare from Amazon.com