Monster Wars Review

Monster Wars Review

Jun 3, 2014

Monster Wars is a fun tower defense type of game, combining RPG-like customazition options for the units and hack and slash gameplay to make the package more than just that.

If Android gamers are familiar with Legendary Wars that came out a year ago, they will feel right at home with Monster Wars. It is essentially a tower defense kind of game. The action is presented in 2D and requires the players to think ahead and plan his units strategicaly accros the battlefield. Games like these always reminds me of Ronimo Games’ Swords and Soldiers, in my opinion the best 2D real-time strategic game out there. I’ve been playing the Wii U version a lot lately, so I had no problem with going deep in Monster Wars. Not that it has a difficult learning curve or anything; the game has similiar basic rules. And they are solid as ever.

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To keep things interesting, Monster Wars offers a hack and slash section, where players can collect coins. With these coins, they can upgrade their units. This is really necessary, because later on, the game gets really hard. Sadly, the game doesn’t offers many spendable coins or so called soulstones (with these, players can unlock new characters and other cool stuff). So I felt I had to spend money to progress a bit faster in the huge campaign mode, which can take dozens of hours of your time. Luckily, coins, gems and soulstones collected in the endless modes, where players fight of waves of monsters until they are defeated, are spendable in the campaign mode. It softens the idea that I need to spend real money a bit, but not by much.

One of the biggest features in Monster Wars is the ability to level up and even evolve the characters in the player’s team. There are more than fifteen characters and everybody has his own special quirks. It offers a lot of depth, because players can choose which character they want on their team and which one should be more powerful. But again: leveling up those teammates costs a lot of time and – if players don’t want to do that, but do want to progress – a lot of money. Furthermore, the game controls very well, looks and sounds very good and really has a nice pace overall.

When I think about Monster Wars, I think about Swords and Soldiers, only the direction developer Liv Games has taken is a bit different. It has the same solid base, but offers more character customization, endless modes, a fine control scheme, beautiful graphics and a good gameplay pace. Sadly, I felt cornered in a way that I had to spend money to improve my progression throughout the game, because the game doesn’t offer enough in-game currency to wipe that feeling away.

CastleStorm – Free to Siege Review

CastleStorm – Free to Siege Review

May 15, 2014

It is quite impressive what Zen Studios has accomplished with the port of CastleStorm on Android: the game looks as good as ever and plays very similiar as the console version.

In Zen Studios’ CastleStorm, players get the task of defending its own castle, while crumbling the opponents. The game combines this tower defense gameplay wth real time strategy elements from games like Swords and Soldiers and even real time battling. Like the player, the computer controlled enemy can do the same: the can also deploy units on the ground, fire spears and other objects from one castle to another and bring in the heavy stuff with special attacks.

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CastleStorm has a meant to be cheeky story with dialog that isn’t a burden to read; it’s actually very funny and handy. It gives the player a sense of progression in the story, even though the game opens up at a very enjoyable peace with his fine difficulty curve. Its mayor difference between the Android and console version is that the ballista isn’t controlled like players are used to: the Angry Birds style of slingshot gameplay has made place for direct point and click control.

Technically, one could say this works better on mobile devices, but I would beg to differ. Later one, precise shots are needed to advance, and with my thumb constantly being in the way of my view, I could not control the battlefield as I prefer – or as the game wants you to play. Because, just like the console version, players need to combine the three above mentioned gameplay mechanics all the time and without a good flow, the game isn’t working like the developers imagined.

But the graphics and the sound are so well done. It is really impressive what Zen Studios did with the available resources. It fits the gameplay and the story also so good. I could nog imagine it being something else than this, with the cheeky story in mind. Combine that with the awesome combination of the gameplay, and CastleStorm is one game not to overlook when browsing any digital store. Sadly though, my thumb was sometimes in the way of the action, but that’s the only downside to this game.

Warhammer 40,000 : Storm of Vengeance Review

Warhammer 40,000 : Storm of Vengeance Review

May 2, 2014

Being an avid fan of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, but lacking the option to enjoy it on the tabletops, I catch every single piece of digital Warhammer entertainment that comes out. So, naturally, I was incredibly excited at the opportunity to review WH40K: Storm of Vengeance. Not only is it a Warhammer game, but it’s a strategy, and a paid one! My excitement reached the squealing point, but instead of exploding in a fountain of geeky drool, it got quickly pinched and leaked into an unpleasant mass of disappointment and frustration. I have many issues with WH40K: Storm of Vengeance, but they all can be summed up with “Who do they think will pay for this?”

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Any good points that I might have, stop at the front door, because the door has a 5 dollar fee to enter. There’s only a handful of mobile games that cost this much – and most of them have reasons for that, like top-notch graphics, or great artistic talent behind them, neither of which are present here. I didn’t bring the price up because I think it’s too much. Too much is spending five bucks on a game, where there are two available fractions, and each of the other fractions requires FIVE MORE DAMN BUCKS to unlock! You can purchase this game and three of the currently available DLC fractions for it, or you can buy Warhammer: Dawn of War 1 or 2 on Steam, both of which come with at least five different races.

Oh, and WH40K: Storm of Vengeance kinda stinks. Firstly, it’s almost impossible to play on my Asus Memo Pad HD, or on my Samsung Captivate because of the constant lag. I know they are not WH40k Storm of Vengeance 2Galaxy Tab 4, but the game has below average models, up to whopping 15 units on the screen, and rotating gray circles for explosions – not exactly a level of graphics that requires a Tegra-powered device. Even the main menu lags! Secondly, gameplay owns most of its features to Plants vs. Zombies. There are five lanes. Both players need to build a structure on every lane, train units, summon them on the lanes of his choosing and try to destroy any enemy units or structures that are there, using whatever abilities they have unlocked for their units. The task is to destroy the enemy encampments on three lanes and capture them. There are several buildings and units with different abilities. Each side is different, but certainly doesn’t call for a five bucks price tag. There is multiplayer mode, by the way, which is probably the only positive feature in the game.

The last problem I have with Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Vengeance is that it has absolutely nothing to do with Warhammer. There are space marines, and there are orks, and there is the Imperal Guard, but the campaign is as generic as possible – just another world being overrun by orks. The gameplay has nothing to do with WH mechanics, and there is only a handful of units that can be changed to generic space opera copies and not suffer a bit. For Emperor’s sake, the dialogue in the campaign isn’t even voiced! In other words, if you are okay with paying five bucks for a below-average lane strategy just because it’s a Warhammer franchise, then by all means, try WH40K: Storm of Vengeance out. It’s not absolutely horrendous, but I just can’t get past the disappointment.

1849, a 19th-Century City Manager, Confirmed to Release on Android on May 8th

1849, a 19th-Century City Manager, Confirmed to Release on Android on May 8th

Apr 21, 2014

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1849 is inspired by classic economic simulators like SimCity and features 20 different growing cities in California that the player needs to improve and manage, facing all the challenges of living in the time of gold rush. The game will be released on the 8th of May, but you can already play its early access version here if you are in a supported country: 1849 on Google Play. More details can be found here: 1849 Website.

Game Insight Releases a New Free-To-Play Multiplayer Strategy, Cloud Raiders, Released for Android

Game Insight Releases a New Free-To-Play Multiplayer Strategy, Cloud Raiders, Released for Android

Feb 28, 2014

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Cloud Raiders is a real-time strategy in which the player control giant floating islands that in time become fortresses, equipped with deadly defenses and raging armies. Then they fight against others’ islands for gold and glory. The game looks fun and pretty, and is available for free from here: Cloud Raiders on Google Play.

Casters of Kalderon Is A New Free Mobile MMORTS

Casters of Kalderon Is A New Free Mobile MMORTS

Jan 24, 2014

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This medieval strategy offers a greatly detailed, deep multiplayer gameplay, and looks mighty good. The player needs to build his own castle, and fight to defend it, or enrich it, creating unions with other players. It’s still in beta, and looks very complex and unusual. Check it out for free here: Casters of Kalderon on Google Play.

Galaxy Factions Released For Android

Galaxy Factions Released For Android

Jan 22, 2014

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The new free-to-play space strategy, fresh from iOS, has now arrived on Google Play, letting Android users play along with iOS users in a colorful and complex real-time strategy. Galaxy Factions offers nice visuals and a persistent multiplayer. It can be downloaded for free from here: Galaxy Factions on Google Play.

Amoebattle Review

Amoebattle Review

Jan 17, 2014

Amoebattle is, perhaps, the first original mobile real-time strategy that can be called that without any stretch. Most of the real-time strategies are either too simple or too flawed, and the ones that are working, are mirror copies of older titles. Amoebattle manages to be neither. And it manages to do so without ridiculous production values.

Amoebattle is a tactical RTS, where events happen on a micro-scale. I’m still not sure about the actual story, but the player controls groups of single-cell organisms that fight against mutated organisms in some sort of micro-world, trying to keep the infection at bay. The setup is really unusual, and the gameplay is on board with it. The player doesn’t have any production plants, and his cellular army is grown from itself. When an organism reaches a certain state, it can divide itself into two exact copies, consuming some of the energy that the player can harvest in various ways. An organism can also mutate into a different one, with different characteristics and attacks. There is a cap at 25 different amoebas that the player can have, so it’s impossible to just crush the enemy with pure numbers – the player needs to try different combinations for his army, and manage the amoebas so that they don’t get killed.

The biggest wonder of Amoebattle is, of course, its controls. I actually still find it hard to believe how Amoebattle 3comfortable they are. Not only is it easy to understand the control scheme, it also allows the player to micro-manage his army in plenty of ways. The player can choose units one by one, select several of them by circling his finger around them, select units of one type, add or remove units from selection, create up to three quick selection groups, and it’s all without bulky interface. The interface is a work of genius, and is definitely setting the game above many other RTS games present on the platform.

As a final word, I should add that Amoebattle will probably only be interesting to the fans of real-time strategies. It’s not very pretty, although the micro-scale makes for some wonderful and unusual atmoshpere. It’s also very difficult: the fourth mission in the campaign left me frustrated like very few things manage. I actually cursed out loud at the game, so I’m really hoping that the developer will create difficulty modes in the future. That said, it’s an incredible, unusual, and perfectly designed RTS, the likes of which are very rare on Android. I definitely like it.

Castle Raid 2 Review

Castle Raid 2 Review

Dec 19, 2013

To say the truth, I’ve only played original Castle Raid for a little while, so my experiences with this sequel aren’t really comparable. I’ve seen enough to suggest that the games aren’t wholly different. Castle Raid 2 is just as fun, has a bit better graphics, more units, and a larger campaign – but the gameplay only differs in details. It’s still a hellish time-sinker, regardless of whether you play it with a friend, or against an AI.

Story in Castle Raid spins in a surprising direction from the original. While human armies are fighting against each other, the whole kingdom and nearby lands get overrun by orcs that drive the humans off their own land. This forces the old enemies to band together, and claim their lands back. This means that the blue units are now people, and the red – orcs, both having distinct armies with different looks – although they’re still completely identical in powers, abilities and costs. Honestly, my biggest – and probably, only – peeve with Castle Raid 2 is that I really wanted to see at least two sides with unique units and abilities. That would turn this fine strategy into an amazing one.

The two sides are resting on different sides of the screen in their castles, protected by two towers. The task is always the same: Castle Raid 2 2to destroy the enemy’s castle, and stop him from doing the same with yours. To do this, the players can summon up to five kinds of units, with a cap of 16 units on the field per kind. This is actually pretty grand, and the battles look pretty impressive, disregarding the relatively small scale of the maps. Also, there’s a lot more unit types available, but the player has to pick five of them, before starting a map. To spawn the units, player has to have enough gold. The gold is slowly dripping from nowhere, and can also be obtained from trees (don’t ask) by workers. Units can be summoned anywhere near the player’s castle, and move by themselves to the enemy side, attacking any enemy they encounter. They can get level-ups either by killing enemies, or if the player spawns three units of the same kind together, making one of them more powerful from the start. There are also two towers on both sides of the field. After a lengthy recharge, one can obliterate a certain area near the player’s castle, and the other can rain fire across the whole map – if the player aims it correctly. Players can’t order units around the map directly, but there’s a couple of small tricks that grant some sort of field control.

Describing Castle Raid 2 in detail requires a substantial amount of writing, so I’ll wrap it up. I didn’t note issues with the game, because frankly, I didn’t have any. Maybe the graphics look a bit simple, and the two sides are identical in properties, but apart from that – it’s an awesome strategy that manages to combine simple, unique rules and easily understandable mechanics with an incredible strategic depth. It contains tons of challenging levels in single-player, each one with three difficulty levels, and with two challenge modes – and when you complete all that, there’s also an ingenious single-device multiplayer. Castle Raid 2 is easily the best mobile strategy I’ve enjoyed playing, in months.