Jun 3, 2011
Paring down a game so that it works on a touch screen phone is a difficult job. Essentially, you have to utilise the space you have on screen as a control system as well as a display. In other words, whatever a player’s fingers are doing, it can’t get in the way of the action that’s happening in-game. One way to counter this is to make a player’s finger taps and slides an integral part of the gameplay itself.
Such is the path of Battleheart, a new RTS/RPG hybrid from Mika Mobile. Eschewing story for a charming art style and simple character progression, Battleheart lets you control epic fantasy battles with a few swipes and taps on the characters involved. It’s not quite an intuitive system, but it does work very well. Most of the time.
Battleheart is a lovely game to look at, full of quirky, cartoony detail and charm. It wears its fantasy cloak with a wry grin and a cheeky wink and never takes itself too seriously, which is good for a game that deals with wizards, rogues and barbarians. The game itself is pretty simple â€“ you hire mercenaries, wipe out any resistance in a level, rinse and repeat. Of course, there’s more to it than that, with levelling up, team balancing, roles, gear and skills all to be taken into consideration as well. Micromanagement of funds, characters and equipment is the key to victory, as well as some nimble fingers and a keen eye.
The game doesn’t quite get its control system right, unfortunately. There are times, especially when the screen is full of enemies, when getting the right person to do the right thing becomes too much of a chore. That’s a far from ideal situation for an RTS to find itself in, but it’s a minor price to pay for what is a lovely game.
Battleheart is a perfectly bite-sized mobile game that’s deep enough to get lost in if you want, but has enough pick-up-and-playability to appeal to the less tactically minded as well. Add to that a great art style, a wicked sense of humour and a smooth UI and it becomes a no-brainer. You should play this game.
Note: The Android Market version of the game doesn’t work on some devices, such as Galaxy S phones, because of download cache issues. However, the Amazon Appstore version should work for those devices affected.