Indie Spotlight – This War of Mine: The Little Ones

What will you do to survive? Would you steal from others? Would you kill just to save the people you loved? This War of Mine poses these questions to the backdrop of a war-torn country inspired by the events of the Bosnian war. This War of Mine is a survival strategy game that forces the player to make difficult decisions in order to survive.

I want to mention right off the bat that This War of Mine is not my kind of game. Strategy games tend to focus on planning moves far ahead and item management. These things alone are not usually very fun for me, so this may have colored my perception of the game. It didn’t help that the controls were very limited. During the day, you’re confined to a shelter and given the opportunity to craft items and fortify the base. You can use the action button to do most things for this part. However, at night you’re able to venture out and scavenge for supplies. It’s here where they introduce combat because you have the option to attack other NPC characters for their provisions and this involves pressing the trigger buttons. It’s easier controls wise if you are passive during these situations, but that depends entirely on your play style. Simply moving a character can be frustrating. This War of Mine being on a 2-D plane, means you’ll have to maneuver your character to the background and foreground of areas. More often than not I would assume certain areas were blocked off when they weren’t or my character would suddenly start moving in an unwanted direction, all because it was never clear how to initiate moving your character back and forth between dimensions. Granted, I did play the PlayStation 4 version so the PC version may have more customizable controls. Still, it won’t be easy for a lot of disabled gamers. There are subtitles available and as far as I can tell there is no spoken dialogue in the game. So I do think gamers with hearing impairments will be fine.

I appreciate what the Polish development team of 11 bit studio did to make This War of Mine have a realistic warlike atmosphere and thought-provoking survival decisions. However, the gameplay and controls didn’t measure up. If you really want to try out This War of Mine, I suggest playing the PC version. Otherwise, maybe leave this one alone.

Written by: Michael Matlock

Michael Matlock developed a passionate interest in technology and has sharpened his love of video games since the ripe old age of four. Though born with the autosomal genetic disorder, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, honing his tech and gaming interests helped him cope with the ongoing degeneration of his spinal motor neurons and weakening muscular system. Michael firmly believes in the validity of gaming as an art form and enjoys both the atmosphere and soundtrack of a title as much as the gameplay itself. While entertained by a wide-variety of games, the Horror and Role-playing genres have repeatedly piqued Michael’s interest. The Persona series, in particular, had a profound impact on his life. After writing reviews for ablegamers.com for several years, Michael created his own YouTube channel, using The Crippled Critic alias, to highlight the importance of game accessibility. Most recently, Michael was asked to speak on the topic at Gwinnett College. The lack of control options in games and the tendency get rid of legacy controls, motivated him to help give other disabled gamers information about a game before they buy it. Today, Michael finds a lack of auto-aim to be a particular design annoyance. And though rapidly changing, Michael favors games developed on the PlayStation 4 and the PC platforms due to the additional options disabled gamers have to address a publisher’s oversights.

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