Game Insight has announced their new game Cloud Raiders, an “action-packed strategy game” that looks to use the formula that has propelled Clash of Clans to great success, this game has players building a giant base on a floating island in the sky, forming clans to help raid opponents to become the top cloud raider. The game, being developed by innoWate, creators of Game Insight’s My Country, will launch on Android first before hitting other mobile platforms and Facebook.
I canâ€™t say that I expected much from Elements Battle. The name is about as unimaginative as it gets, the art looked pretty but uninspired and to top it off itâ€™s freemium, which is a business model that Iâ€™ve never been entirely comfortable with.
As it turns out though Elements Battle is substantially better than I expected. The core game is a lot like Puzzle Quest. The bulk of it is a series of puzzle battles on a grid where three or more identical symbols must be matched each turn. Those symbols correspond to elemental spells which get fired at an opponent once enough of them have been matched. The opponent does the same and the winner is the one with health left at the end.
Outside of battles there are some basic RPG mechanics with quests to complete (though they all boil down to battles too), levels to gain and a store used to purchase additional spells and equipment.
Battles require energy to fight and that energy goes down after every battle (though it gradually goes back up again too if the game isnâ€™t played for a while). Spells also need replenishing periodically and they wonâ€™t recharge on their own. Both energy and spells can be bought using in game currency, which in itself can either be earned from completing quests or bought with real money.
New players are given enough energy and money to play Elements Battle for quite a while. If played a lot eventually the freemium side will rear its ugly head and a point will come where itâ€™s necessary to either spend real money or wait a while to keep playing, but itâ€™s not as stingy as many freemium games as it gives players enough gold and loot for winning battles and completing quests that I never felt like I really needed to spend money to keep going.
Elements Battle controls well, thereâ€™s loads of content and there are even player versus player battles, though itâ€™s not possible to communicate with other players, so itâ€™s not that much different to battling the AI.
So far so good, but while thereâ€™s certainly a lot of game here it quickly starts to feel a bit repetitive, as itâ€™s almost all battles and much of the time itâ€™s necessary to fight the same or similar battles multiple times over to grind for quests or loot.
The battles themselves could be better too, as thereâ€™s a time limit of around seven seconds each turn, which I didnâ€™t find was long enough to really think about a strategy. Iâ€™d have liked to be able to decide which elements to focus on or try and set up chain reactions by making additional matches from symbols that fall into the space cleared when a match is made, but generally thereâ€™s no time for that and often I found that Iâ€™d just have to go for the first match I could see.
Played in short bursts Elements Battle is good fun and wonâ€™t be too money hungry, but longer play sessions become repetitive and dull.
Tower defense games are hardly a sub-set of apps that’s in need of another entry. They’re a dime-a-dozen and odds are that you’ve got your favourite tower defense game installed already. It’ll take something special to stand out in this crowded marketplace.
Here’s where Game Insight’s Battle Towers comes into play. The fact it’s a tower defense title should give you a good idea of the aim of the game. Stop the enemy destroying your base whilst also trying to destroy the enemy’s base. What’s new?
Well, it’s all about timing in Battle Towers. A clock sits at the top of the screen displaying the time of day, being either sun-up, dusk or sun-down. When the sun’s up, the humans are stronger and when the sun’s down the orcs are stronger. Dusk is neutral. This means you’ll need to time your charges well, otherwise you could end up being in the enemies base when the sun goes down. That would be bad.
To win the battle you’ll need to grow your defenses and build up your army. Building up your base boils down to waiting for enough food to be churned out by your houses and your castle and there’s also ‘prayer power’ that builds up, which is gained by building temples or destroying the enemy. You’ll upgrade your buildings but this doesn’t really unlock anything, it just means you’ll get more of said resources.
Food lets you buy more soldiers and build buildings whilst ‘prayer power’ lets you cast spells. It’s a little disappointing that there’s not much you can control when the battle’s underway.
Your interaction with the game comes down to dragging buildings onto pre-defined areas of the field, dragging spells on top of buildings or soldiers and pressing the attack button. You can tell your soldiers to focus on particular enemy buildings, which can be useful to take out pesky guard towers first before you go on to destroy the enemy base.
The main problem with the game is that there’s not enough to it. Not enough building types or soldier types. It’s also poorly spaced-out in terms of the fact it’ll take you an absolute age to unlock the two soldier types and one extra building type that’s locked away.
The graphics are fine and my Nexus 7 was able to handle the hundred or so characters on screen at once. What lets the presentation down is the sound. Whilst the music neatly fits in with the transition from night to day, the sound effects are extremely repetitive.
Battle Towers is a solid game that’s lacking in content and locks away what is has in such a way that to see everything you’ll have to play for months or pay some cash. Worth playing, but not worth sticking with.
Free to play and freemium games are becoming huge business on mobile app stores. The revenue growth has been massive on iOS, and it’s starting to become big business on Android. Right now on the Android Market, 9 of the top 10 grossing games are all free to play games. Curiously, the only premium app on the top grossing list is actually a $4.99 game, Homerun Battle 3D. The first $0.99 app to show up on the list? Cut the Rope, at #17.
The top 2 games, Paradise Island and My Country, are both from one publisher, Game Insight. Both of their games, My Country, and Paradise Island, are social games that emphasize task completion and world-building. My Country launched on August 10th, and has over 500,000 installs as of publication. Game Insight is seeking to release more free to play titles on Android, with Crime Story set to be released soon.
As well, Stardunk developer Godzilab has reported seeing some financial success on the Android Market, as discussed in a recent blog post. While the average revenue per user on Android has been one-third that of the revenue on the iOS App Store, this has been mitigated by greater download numbers on Android. There is no paid version of Stardunk on Android like there is on iOS; all the revenue has come from ads and in-app purchases. Interestingly, Godzilab will be releasing iOS physics puzzler iBlast Moki on Android Market, but as a premium app.
Because Android Market’s in-app purchases are still a relatively new thing, the top grossing list might not even include all games supported by in-app purchases; developers using systems like Papaya could also be generating revenue that isn’t being tracked by the Android Market. If anything is to be learned, it is that the nature of revenue generation on mobile operating systems is drastically evolving before our eyes.