Developer: Imperia Online .LTD
Price: free Download on the App Store
Online Artillery (subtitled Medieval Multi-player Fortress Siege) takes an aggressive approach to iPhone online gaming by only pitting the player against online opponents. The online battles are generally fun and challenging, however, Online Artillery needs a bit more polish before it can be truly recommended.
Playing the game requires setting up a new account with Online Artillery. This feels a bit redundant given there are good third-party options like Open Feint for handling this task; although it may not give the developer as much control over tracking the leaderboards. Hopefully the iPhone Game Center will streamline multiplayer gaming for the iPhone/iPod touch platform through one account.
The game play is fairly solid. The object is to destroy your enemy's castle with enormous cannon. Making a direct shot is contingent upon positioning the angle of the cannon and accounting for the wind and distance to the target. Three direct hits destroy the castle. There are over 30 different maps that will place one or more of the castles on a hill or hidden in a valley to differentiate the challenge. This really makes each match unique and keeps repeated play from getting dull.
Unfortunately many parts of Online Artillery are rather rough. For example I experienced several crashes when setting up the account and trying to upload a profile picture (It could be that the servers don't like the higher resolution pictures available from the iPhone 4 camera).
Also, after the account is created you are instantly thrown into battle. The Online Artillery controls are easy enough to figure out but a tutorial or a few menu options would be nice before the battle begins. Once you're playing the online matchups work rather well. I was able to find an opponent every time I wanted to play the game with almost no wait. I did miss the ability to play against a computer and work my way through unlocking different levels, but this will probably be a matter of preference.
Online Artillery keeps track of plenty of stats both inside the app and on its web site for those who want to compare themselves to the rest of the community. The graphics are pretty basic and will appeal to fans of older video games and computer code. With a bit of touch-up this game could also be a good option for strategy fans.