Shadowrun: Dragonfall Review

Shadowrun: Dragonfall Review

Feb 13, 2015

Shadowrun: Dragonfall starts off great. Players are offered a bewildering array of skills and races to choose from. All of them are clearly described and it is really possible to make just about any character you like. Rifle toting elven dignitaries, dwarf computer hackers and troll mages are more than possible.

Screenshot_2015-02-03-05-26-23Shadowrun: Dragonfall is a tactical RPG. Combat is all about good positioning and flanking attacks, using cover and picking off enemies smartly. Using your party to support each other is essential and running in guns blazing will result in death in record time. The game is difficult and fans of X-com or other rock hard tactical games should settle in for a long tough campaign full of exciting tactical gameplay.

A robust help system also teaches gameplay concepts in a fast and simple way. The game’s branching dialogue system is loads of fun and the game is very well written with lots of funny moments and character nuances. The game has a real magic vs tech feel to it as guns exist alongside mages and totem sprits. Shadowrun’s world is vibrant.

Unfortunately, nearly every other aspect of Shadowrun: Dragonfall on Android besides the character creation and story is a dismal failure.

Screenshot_2015-02-03-05-01-37Even on the biggest phones on the market, like the Note 4, Shadowrun is the definition of unplayable. Fonts are completely unreadable. Interface icons are so tiny it’s difficult to press the one you meant to and characters and enemies alike are indistinct, vague shapes on the large 5.7in screen. There is no excuse for this whatsoever. There isn’t even a zoom control. X-com Enemy Unknown, a simular (much older) game managed to be playable even on the smaller S4 and it is even better on the Note 4. The sheer smallness of everything in Shadowrun makes it impossible to see what skills do, let alone coordinate combat in a meaningful manner.

Things don’t improve very much when output to a big screen either. There is still no zoom control and you still need to use your phone to control the game’s tiny, tiny interface.

Shadowrun: Dragonfall looks poor. The game looks a year or two old and the muddy textures, flat colour palette and microscopic size of everything make it a dull looking game to say the least. The game is also extremely laggy. It takes multiple attempts to get taps to register and movement feels very stilted. The sound is very flat. Unexciting gunfire and quiet, subdued spell effects add no atmosphere to the game at all.

Shadowrun: Dragonfall takes a great PC game with a great story, impressive writing, fascinating skill trees and interesting tactical gameplay and ruins it with zero mobile optimization, appalling performance problems and one of the worst interfaces seen in an Android game in recent memory. By all means buy it for PC, but stay far, far away from this unplayable port.

New Turn-based Strategy Game Scrolls Unfurls Exclusively on Android!

New Turn-based Strategy Game Scrolls Unfurls Exclusively on Android!

Dec 12, 2014

Mojang, developers of the ridiculously popular mobile version of Minecraft have released their second game on Android. Entitled Scrolls the game promises “The best bits of card and board games, combined on your tablet!

Scrolls seems to be a hex based strategy game involving cards, known in game as scrolls. With over 350 scrolls spread over four differing factions, there is a recipe for some steaming strategic goodness here.

Scrolls contains IAP and is launching solely on Android at this point in time. A iOS release date has yet to be announced.

Expect a review of Scrolls here on Android Rundown in the near future.

XCOM: Enemy Within Review

XCOM: Enemy Within Review

Nov 25, 2014

XCOM: Enemy Within is a standalone expansion to the amazing 2013 game XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It is essentially the same game with a fair few new additions and some refinements that make it a better game.

XCOM: Enemy Within as said above is a lot like Enemy Unknown. It is an in depth turn based strategy game where players take control of XCOM, an anti extraterrestrial organization attempting to fend off a global alien invasion.

Screenshot_2014-11-20-16-40-34Players take control of recruitment, training and research and both air forces and ground forces when the need arises. XCOM couples base building and broad strategic choice with a turn based, squad based combat engine. Aliens completely outgun humanity at the beginning of the game, so developing XCOM’s technologies is a central part of the game. That is the super complex XCOM in a tenuous nutshell.

The main addition of Enemy Within is the Meld. These canisters of orange goop are the key to unlocking a number of powerful new abilities for soldiers. One use of Meld is to upgrade soldiers with genetic implants that can boost their stats or endow them with abilities, like buffing the whole squad after a kill.

The other path for Meld use is to construct a Cybernetics Lab that can transform soldiers into giant, armoured killing machines with heavy weapons.

Both of these are fun and let players boost their favorite soldiers in new and exciting ways. You can do things like have elite ocular enhanced snipers popping aliens or have a MEC lead the way, absorbing all incoming fire while shotgun-wielding pheromone releasing assault soldiers cover it.

There are new enemies like the new Seeker which can cloak itself and strangle soldiers, rendering them helpless unless it is killed or the soldier dies.

Screenshot_2014-11-20-06-46-51A great new addition is medals. Medals can be awarded to any soldier and function as combat buffs. These can do things like raise their stats by completing missions without soldier deaths or cause a soldier to never panic from allied causalities. This is a good idea and helps make soldiers feel even more like individuals.

The game looks about the same as it did before. There are a few new pieces of equipment and some nice new environments, but they are more of what you’d expect from XCOM. Of course Enemy Unknown was an excellent looking game so it’s not like this is a bad thing.

The sound is improved. There are new soldier acknowledgements, speech and new ambient sounds. Sometimes you’ll roll into a sector and hear a nice ambient saxophone playing in the service station as your soldiers trade fire with aliens and plasma bolts reduces parts of the building to rubble. Other than that, the game retains XCOM’s excellent weapon and environment sounds and disturbing alien sounds. Great stuff as always.

XCOM Enemy Within adds a lot of interesting feature to the still fantastic gameplay of the original Enemy Unknown. Players who played the original to death will still find fun in the new features, while strategy fans who missed the game the first time around will be in turn based heaven.

Civilization Revolution 2 Review

Civilization Revolution 2 Review

Nov 18, 2014

The original Civilization Revolution was a flawed game with a bad interface and rather lopsided battles. It was saved mostly by its multiplayer and the fact that it was civ on mobile. Now Civilization Revolution 2 is upon us. Does it fix any of the original’s problems?

Screenshot_2014-11-15-01-54-22Civilization Revolution 2 like the other games in the series tasks the player with taking a civilization like Russia or the Aztecs though history and building them up from a few scattered hunter gather types to a wondrous civilization of the future, either crushing all rivals or simply proving their superiority to such a degree that the entire world falls under their control.

To do this the player creates cities and armies and researches new technology to unlock new buildings or units that can be used to defeat rivals or push the borders of your empire outwards with your cultural might, eventually simply absorbing other cultures under your enlightened rule.

Compared to its PC brethren, Civilization Revolution 2 loses a lot of depth. Terrain improvements are gone as is any real diplomacy. Enemy civs are kind of stupid and often don’t seem to research much of anything or keep up with technology. The complete lack of any multiplayer features further exacerbates the shortcomings of the AI.

The interface, while simple isn’t terribly intuitive. There is no world map, which can make it difficult to work out just who owns what. The diplomacy screen doesn’t even tell you who you’re at war with! Civilization Revolution 2 feels very dumbed down. There are some positive interface elements however, like the way the player can set a destination for a unit and it will move each turn. The Civilopedia works well too and is an interesting read.

Screenshot_2014-11-15-01-25-06Civilization also presents an air of immaturity. World leaders are clichéd, wildly gesturing oddballs, spies look like superheroes, the dialogue is often very silly and it is hard to take Civilization Revolution 2 seriously as a strategic game when it insists on unfunny jokes and animations. Sure other games like Great Little War Game and Romans in My Carpet! are less than serious as well, but CR2 seems to err on the side of annoying and silly, rather than amusing.

An old problem with Civ is its random battles. Civilization Revolution 2 is no exception Watch as catapults get mysteriously killed off by half dead archer units and warriors run up and kill defending archers. The civilization games are famous for this kind of idiotic combat and the fact that’s it still hasn’t been fixed after two decades is a bit ridiculous. It was about the time one enemy archer unit in a city defeated a catapult, two legion armies (six units) a unit of my own archers and two units of knights one after the other that I wondered how the game was released in this state.

Civilization Revolution 2 at least looks pretty nice. Bright 3d graphics add some flair, although they may be too cartoony to some compared to the original CRs more restrained graphics. The sound is nicely done as well with some good musical stings and solid combat and movement sounds.

Civilization Revolution 2 is a mixed bag of shoddy battle mechanics and missing features. It might be fun for casual fans of strategy, but the vast amount of better games on Android, like Ravenmark or Great little War Game dim its appeal a bit.

Star Fleet Deluxe Review

Star Fleet Deluxe Review

Aug 28, 2014

Star Fleet Deluxe is a tactical game that apes Star Trek more than a little. Taking command of a huge starship, the player stands alone against a huge force of murderous aliens, hell-bent on eradicating any and all humans in the galaxy.

Star Fleet Deluxe is a very in-depth, turn based strategy game. The game takes place over a huge area, 81 quadrants of galaxy space to be precise, filled with stars, colonies, planets and starbases.

Screenshot_2014-08-24-21-18-32Star Fleet Deluxe has the player defending a vast universe. Using a slick icon based control system, the player zooms around the universe, seeking out and destroying the warlike Krellan that serve as the game’s primary foes.

Combat is quite in-depth. The player has both phasers and torpedos at his/her disposal and after targeting an enemy the intensity of phasers or the number of torpedos in the spread can be controlled. This allows the player to either destroy or disable targets. Disabled targets can be towed back to a starbase to capture the ship and take prisoners, both of which are usually required for mission objectives.

Screenshot_2014-08-24-16-21-35As the player cruises the universe, reports come in of colonies and starbases coming under attack. Colonies must be protected and starbases, while armed, may need aid as well. Both starbases and planets can resupply the player, so keeping them safe is important to surviving as well as passing the mission. Colony defence and supply management is the whole point of Star Fleet.

Unfortunately Star Fleet Deluxe sucks every iota of fun out of the gameplay with its insistence that every single vessel and base is destroyed in the time limit. It is extremely disheartening to spend twenty minutes on a mission, only to fail because one or two enemy bases on planets couldn’t be found in time. Never mind the fact the player just destroyed 40 ships single-handedly and saved all colonies and starbases, if there’s a single enemy ship or base anywhere, the mission is failed and the game must be started from scratch. This is terrible. There is no need for this exactness. Why not simply base it on the amount of met objectives rather than having to get every single one?

Also the way that boarding combat is handled is completely arbitrary. There is absolutely no control over it. Space Marines may simply flat out fail to take the smallest fighter or take it with nearly no causalities.

Star Fleet Deluxe’s graphics aren’t special at all. Like many strategic games the player spends most of their time reading text and thinking, not gawking at graphics. Star Fleet has a very good interface with plenty of detailed reports to help the player keep on top of their task. A series of icons is used to execute orders and it works very well.

Star Fleet Deluxe is a good strategy game that demands perfection just a little too much. With a less draconian mission structure this game could be great, but it is still a competent strategy game and worth playing.

1941 Frozen Front Review

1941 Frozen Front Review

Aug 6, 2014

When looking at the 1941 Frozen Front page on Google Play you may notice a few 5/5 ratings in the game’s description that aren’t actually attributed to anyone. They aren’t real. This sets the tone for Frozen Front, which looks like a strategy game, but actually is anything but.

Screenshot_2014-07-29-07-15-24The coolest thing about 1941 Frozen Front is that it allows the player to play as Germany, instead of the umpteenth game about the Allies in WW2. The game covers the invasion of Russia by the Germans and the player will use tanks, Stormtroopers and halftracks among others to wipe out the Russians.

1941 Frozen Front has all the trappings of a strategy game. The game is turn based and uses a familiar hex system for movement. Combat uses a rock paper scissors system where heavy tanks beat light tanks, which beat infantry. Anti-tank infantry counter tanks to an extent. Forests provide cover from attacks and units run out of ammo and fuel unless they are resupplied regularly.

Screenshot_2014-07-29-06-55-03Other than that though, 1941 Frozen Front is less a strategy game and more a slugfest. There is just little to the game’s combat except rushing in units until they or the enemy are blown up and then doing it again and again until one side wins. The enemy gains reinforcements quite quickly and there is just not enough of a difference between units to use effective tactics. Anti-tank infantry for example still die from a few tank attacks and take multiple shots to destroy even the weakest tanks.

Jarringly, the game includes a freemium resource, gold which is required to do just about anything in game. The player needs gold to buy new units or repair existing units. A small amount of supplies for repairing units is provided for free, but this is never enough to finish a mission easily and every unit that is destroyed must be replaced with gold. Gold trickles in very slowly from supply camps the player can capture, but this is never enough to win the battle.

A huge black mark against the game is its reliance on ads. A huge banner ad dominates the top of the screen at all times during gameplay, making it difficult to enjoy the game. Often during gameplay a pop up obscures a portion of the screen, asking the player to watch a video for gold. This happens every few minutes and cannot be dismissed. It removes any atmosphere the game might have had by reminding the player that it’s a game.

1941 Frozen Front looks pretty good. Tanks and infantry are drawn well and the environments look nice enough. It is difficult to appreciate the graphics with the continual ads blocking the view however.

1941 Frozen Front has a lot of levels and online multiplayer but the game just isn’t any fun to play and its reliance on in app purchases makes it less like playing a game and more like pay to win.

1941 Frozen Front is less STG44 and more Luger and should be avoided.

Great Little War Game 2 Review

Great Little War Game 2 Review

Jul 21, 2014

Great Little War Game 2, much like the first game in the series has the player taking control of the blue army vs. the ever present red army menace. Using infantry, tanks and artillery the player will fight across deserts, beaches and forests to wipe out the enemy.

Screenshot_2014-07-20-12-53-02Great Little War Game 2 is all about using the terrain well and using units together so they can support each other. Units on elevated terrain can shoot further and thus can avoid return fire. Using artillery well, covering base approaches with snipers and backing up your grunts with medics among other tactics is both fun and vital to success.

Great Little War Game 2 features no in-app purchases whatsoever. All sixty levels are available from the beginning and unlocking new units to use boils down to collecting bonuses during levels and beating missions. Once the player earns enough battle points they can spend them on both unlocking new units, like better tanks or infantry or improve the ones already available. There are no shortcuts here. If a level is lost it is always down to improper tactics or a lack of skill, instead of not spending enough money on the game. This is a wonderful feeling and sure to be a big boon to players.

Screenshot_2014-07-19-16-51-58A minor downer in Great Little War Game 2 is the removal of the often funny and always interesting mini cutscenes that provided so much entertainment in the first game. No longer do players get to see the latest ridiculous reason the Blue Army goes to war for or the latest pervy comment at female soldiers. Each mission is simply served up with a screen showing the map and the objective. This is an understandable sacrifice given that there’s a massive 60 missions in this game, but it’s still hard not to miss the window dressing. The complete removal of multiplayer is a somewhat larger sacrifice however. Hopefully this is restored in a future update.

Luckily, the game still features lots of highly amusing banter and snide anti-war snippets thrown in as units blast the stuffing out of each other. Hobo turd indeed. The game also looks very good, nearly identical to the first game although with better terrain effects.

Great Little War Game 2 has tons of replay value. As said earlier with sixty missions, loads of unlockable units and addictive tactical gameplay GLWG2 will last for a very long time.

Great Little War Game 2 is a fantastic game both for newcomers to the series and veterans eager for a boatload of new missions to play. A premier mobile game, it is a must play.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Review

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Review

Jul 7, 2014

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the legendary tactical shooter of yore has sure had a long time between drinks but at least this cracking, if highly challenging series of games has graced Android. Is the magic intact?

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is all about dealing with hostile aliens invading earth for unknown purposes. Working out just what they’re after is high on the agenda, but so is blasting ton of them into goo.

Screenshot_2014-07-04-21-53-41XCOM is divided into two parts. There is base management and combat. Base management involves building new facilities for X-COM’s secret underground base, researching new items and recruiting new soldiers. Bases require power plants, engineering areas to manufacture researched items and satellite arrays to detect aliens in flight and intercept them.

Combat takes place whenever an alien UFO is downed if the player chooses or when the aliens themselves decide to attack.

Combat in XCOM is gripping and strategic. It uses a tried and true turn based system. There is plenty of cover to hide behind and flanking and keeping your men in cover is essential to winning. Aliens are quite smart and don’t hesitate to cover each other and use grenades. Reaction shots a are huge part of X-COM. If an enemy is suddenly exposed due to moving or their cover being destroyed allies and enemies can fire at the exposed enemy, so cover fire can be very effective. There is also a morale system and too many deaths or some alien abilities can lead to soldiers running away or shooting their friends.

Like in the original XCOM: Enemy Unknown, soldiers that survive combat rank up and gain stats. They also gain a number of abilities and are assigned a class. Snipers for example can use a very powerful headshot skill to deal massive damage and can share sight with other squad members, while heavy machine gunners can suppress enemies and launch rockets. Abilities are vital to success in X-COM and picking the right ones so a squad works together adds a lot to the game.

Screenshot_2014-07-04-21-45-13XCOM: Enemy Unknown revolves around research. From the word go humanity is completely outmatched by the aliens. Their conventional weapons are cutting edge, but compared to lasers and plasma rifles they might as well be firing pillows. Wiping out aliens and capturing them and splashing UFOs allows the player to research myriad different projects. There is, for example flight capable armor or heavy laser rifles. Flying laser snipers and stealth suit wearing shotgunners and more are possible.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown looks fantastic. Aliens look really menacing and environments look great without looking artificial. Soldiers vary nicely and some of the more high tech gear is really cool looking.

Compared to the console versions of XCOM, the Android version takes a graphical hit, but this is mostly limited to lower resolution textures.

The sound is incredibly well done as well. Aliens scream and moan disturbingly and weapons have all the bangs and cool sounding zaps expected of sci-fi weapons. The music is really good as well, particularly the music during actual combat.

X-COM: Enemy Unknown is a no brainer for any fan of tactical shooters. It is huge, deep and full of satisfying gameplay and for the price it is an absolute steal.

Romans In My Carpet! Review

Romans In My Carpet! Review

Jun 9, 2014

Romans in My Carpet! is a new turn based strategy game form the boffins at Witching Hour Studios, the fine folks who bought us the hardcore Ravenmark series of strategy games.

Romans in my Carpet! however is somewhat less serious. It features the Romites an imperialistic army of dust mites verses the brettles, a barbaric army of beetles. Yes this is an amazing concept for a game.

Screenshot_2014-06-04-12-50-05Romans In My Carpet! is a lot like the Ravenmark games if they were developed after dropping some serious acid. Troops are divided into units like swordsmen and slingers and each have their own ability and are good against a different kind of enemy. Legionaries for example excel against spearmen, are very slow because of their heavy armour and can throw pila once every 3 turns for a ranged attack. Spearmen on the other hand are defensive units, kill cavalry and can use spike wall if they don’t move for extra damage.

The great battle system is woven into a fun campaign which sees the Romites attempting to conquer the nation of Petesroom from the barbarian menace. Amusing battlefields like AD&D maps and corn chip strewn desks set the scene for the fun tactical action on offer.

The AI is quite smart as well. It is very quick to punish you for mistakes and always seeks to engage your weaker units with its stronger ones. It rarely makes blunders but is easy to beat with the right tactics. Campaign missions never feel unfair or too hard.

Screenshot_2014-06-04-13-52-58Asynchronous multiplayer is also available and while opponents are difficult to find the game supports Facebook so you can play with your friends. Since the game is asynchronous, matches are all about predicting what your opponent might do and trying to react to it the right way, much like real combat.

The great thing about Romans in my Carpet! is that it is completely tactically sound despite its odd subject matter Swordsmen rip up spearmen just as they did in real life and if cavalry move to reach the enemy when told to attack they attack twice, once for their charge and once to symbolize when they reach melee and attack hand to hand. If they attack from directly beside an enemy they don’t get the bonus as they are already in melee. It’s really neat how well the game mimics actual battle tactics given that you’re fighting with bugs.

Romans In My Carpet! looks impressive too. A nice pixliated style might seem rather par for the course for a mobile game, but the way that legionaries appear in formation while barbarian units are scattered shows a keen knowledge of the period. Even shields and weapons look very similar to real ones.

The game is also packed with jokes, internet memes and just plain great dialogue. The Codex that describes the units has a lot of funny stuff in it.

Romans In My Carpet! is a imaginative, tactics rich take on TBS and is a winner any way you look at it! A must play for fans of Ravenmark and newcomers alike!

Heroes of Steel RPG Review

Heroes of Steel RPG Review

Feb 19, 2014

Heroes of Steel tells the story of four warriors and their efforts to escape the dungeon of an evil king after being unjustly imprisoned. With dozens of guards and other creatures between them and the exit, it will be a long, hard slog to escape.

Heroes of Steel is a fairly traditional turn based strategy game enriched with a meaty slice of RPG and a good story thrown in. The party consists of a squishy rouge type character, a very weak wizard, a healer and a warrior, the only one who can take damage worth a darn.

Screenshot_2014-02-09-20-57-17Thus the game is about using your party’s unique talents in tandem to defeat enemies as effectively as possible, Healing potions and other items are in fairly short supply, so smart tactics are needed to avoid chewing though them too quickly. The death of any of your party members is enough to end the game, but the game saves frequently.

The frequent battles in the game are the main attraction, but there is also a good bit of dungeon crawling and treasure looting. A steady stream of things to kill and new, more powerful items keeps the game rolling at a good pace.

Screenshot_2014-02-09-19-23-05Heroes of Steel’s gameplay is satisfying and offers plenty of strategic fun for any TBS fan. Besides the excellent gameplay, a great story is woven into the game. There are constant conversations about the game’s lore or just extra insight into the characters. The dialogue does a great job of giving the party personality and it is always interesting to see what happens next.

The only downside of Heroes of Steel is its presentation. Using a basic top down view, the game sports somewhat old looking graphics. This doesn’t detract from the game much and is indeed preferable as it doesn’t drain battery life the way games today often do. The game is far from, ugly just not technically proficient. This doesn’t diminish the gameplay on offer in the least. The character art in particular really nails it and it even changes with story events.

The developer has also seen fit to cram some IAP characters into the game. Luckily they aren’t necessary so they can be safely ignored. The game is free and the next episode with hours more gameplay is only a dollar, so it’s hard to begrudge this minor amount of IAP very much.

Heroes of Steel is an excellent RPG and what it lacks in graphics it makes up for in other areas. It’s rare to see a Phone RPG with this level of character development and it’s a great purchase for traditional RPG fans.

Hero Academy Review

Hero Academy Review

Jan 7, 2014

Hero Academy combines ever popular asynchronous multiplayer with tactical combat. Does it succeed?

Hero Academy’s gameplay is simple and fun. The game begins with a randomly chosen battlefield. Some are basic grass squares, while others have different gimmicks that can be used to influence the battle.

Placing units is as simple as dragging and dropping them to a square. Some squares can boost hero stats if they walk onto it. Attacking enemies and healing allies is accomplished by tapping on a hero and then tapping on an enemy or allay as appropriate.

Of course the crux of Hero Academy’s gameplay is how units are used together. Sorcerers for example can damage multiple opponents if they are adjacent to each other. They are great for hanging back and zapping a group of enemies after they have been goaded into attacking other heroes. Knights can soak up punishment and knock back enemies, which can be just perfect for setting them up for sorcerer spells, or bumping them back into hazards. Archers meanwhile can do immense damage from afar with their arrows. They work well for backing up sorcerers. Clerics are vital units as well, they’re the only units that can heal and revive other heroes, making them prime targets for enemies most of the time.

Screenshot_2014-01-02-06-59-47The gameplay is good stuff and quite strategic while remaining lightweight and fast, perfect for mobile devices. Hero Academy’s matchmaking is fast and effective, always finding an enemy to fight. Facebook friends can also be used.

Of course the units above are only for the Council faction, the only one that is usable without paying money. Other factions have their own units and abilities. While this might seem frustrating, the teams are only $1 each and they are the only in app purchases in Hero Academy, besides a largely unneeded single player mode and pointless things, like avatars.

Screenshot_2014-01-02-10-51-54On the downslide though every paid for team is much more powerful than the Council. Whenever it’s raising allies from dead enemies or just plain higher damage attacks, other teams have abilities the Council simply can’t counter. The Council has absolutely no strengths. Playing Hero Academy pretty much requires money be spent on one of the other teams, which is unacceptable. Sure it isn’t much money, but it’s kind of a cop out.

Another potential problem is the randomness of the items given each turn. If the player needs more warriors on the field and is given nothing but buffs they are screwed. The same is true if nothing but sorcerers appear while a melee enemy is standing next to where warriors spawn. This can sometimes be annoying.

Hero Academy looks really good. Super sharp 2d sprites are the order of the day with flashy magic effects and snappy loading times adding to the fun.

Hero Academy is worth playing, despite the obvious push to buy a team. There is no other freemium stuff in HA and it offers some fun combat.

Mechs vs. Aliens Review

Mechs vs. Aliens Review

Nov 13, 2013

Mechs vs Aliens tells the story of yet another invasion of earth by aliens. Rather than tanks or Hollywood actors, humanity has turned to huge robots for Earth’s defense. There is plenty of plot exposition between missions with various characters blabbing at each other, but the game’s dialogue feels rather stilled and poorly translated.

Screenshot_2013-11-09-16-54-06Regardless, a good story isn’t really needed when the rest of the game is about smashing freaky aliens into paste with an array of explosive weaponry right? Well there are plenty of explosions and attacks on offer in the game’s turn based combat. Each turn the player and their enemy can pick from a variety of different attacks such as ranged attacks or melee strikes, a glorified version of rock paper scissors. Defensive moves are also on offer.

The problem is that it is nearly impossible to predict what attack or defense an enemy will use, making combat largely luck-based. Whenever an attack smashes an opponent with a critical hit, or is blocked completely is down to chance and little else. Combat is fun to watch at least, there are lots of cool weapon animations and some imaginative attacks, like how the Russian mech uses mini tornadoes to throw enemies around.

Despite the game’s impressive selection of mechs, each of which is themed after a country, all of the mechs except one are locked behind a paywall, some mechs will take literally months of gameplay to access. Only the Russian mech is unlocked from the beginning of the game.

Screenshot_2013-11-09-16-51-32Saving up for these mechanical death machines is further hampered by having to pay to enter most single player missions. While a few early missions in the game cost nothing to play, later ones cost in game currency. Mission 4, the first one that asks for money costs 3000 ores. The average money gained from a battle in Mission 3 is 80-100. And prices only shoot up from there. It’s nearly impossible to save up for the locked mechs when money must be used to progress and this necessitates loads of mindless grinding of previous missions to scourge up the cash.

Mechs vs Aliens also includes upgrade modules that will boost a mech’s stats. These are quite expensive in terms of in game currency. It remains to be seen if use of upgrade modules will unbalance multiplayer or the single player campaign.

Mechs vs Aliens looks and sounds great, full 3D graphics abound and there are plenty of missiles, explosions and lasers to fill the screen. While watching the same combat animations can get dull, it is a pretty game. The sound suits the game well, featuring lots of loud booms and zaps as the behemoths slap each other around.

Mechs vs Aliens is a game that is big on graphics and spectacle, but short on actual gameplay. The continual grabs for cash aren’t great either. It is much more fun than other freemium laden games, like Castleville, but it could have been a lot better.