Posts by tag: RTS
11 Bit Studios invented the tower offense genre with Anomaly: Warzone Earth. Originally released for the PC, this game made the most out of its friendly interface, responsive controls, and tactical brilliance; hence, we named it before as one of the best Android strategy games.
Heroes is the spin-off from Gameloft’s successful Order & Chaos MMO. It recasts that game’s cast of monsters, demons, wizards and warriors as pawns in the videogame genre du jour, the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena).
The rules of this deeply tactical yet action packed take on the real time strategy are simple enough to understand, but near impossible to master without dedication. You select one of the numerous heroes, a collection of weird and wonderful fantasy tropes ranging from Van Helsing style hunters to huge glowing Rock Golems. You team up with up to three others, either controlled by the CPU or found from the thousands who log on everyday, to hack and blast your way across the map to ultimately destroy the opposing team’s tower, as they do the same to you. There is a time penalty every time you die (which you will) but these can be skipped with purchased magic scrolls. Experience and cash are earned in each match, but does not carry over to the next one, so you have to constantly keep your avatar competitive with the rival team by upgrading on the fly with new gear and enhanced magic.
Playing with real people is the far superior option but it is advised that you acquaint yourself with game in a solo match first as the whole thing can be quite overwhelming for the beginner. There is no attempt to dumb this game down for the perceived casual mobile gamer; make no mistake this is hardcore through and through.
Graphically H O&C is on par with it’s big brother PC counterparts. The art style, while a pretty standard take on traditional fantasy settings with a dash of steampunk thrown in for good measure, is superbly realized on all levels. The broad selection of playable characters are well designed and the environments are rich with detail and are easily traversed with touch screen controls.
With five game modes on offer and plenty of room for expansion, Heroes is a great all-round package, giving you everything that you’d want from a MOBA while compromising nothing. Just beware, this is not an easy game for beginners.
In an interesting switch from the norm, Infectonator sees you at the heart of a zombie outbreak not as the savior of mankind, but its would be destroyer. The goal of the game is nothing less than global destruction, and all you have to start with is a single dose of zombie virus.
The concept is great, having played countless zombie games, it’s good to get a shot at playing for the other team. Things start with a somber world map and a single city highlighted – Beijing China. From this selection screen you’re treated to a concise tourist friendly info burst for the locale you’re about to destroy. You’ll get these little snippets for each of the dozens of places you’ll be ravaging, and it sets the darkly comic tone. To launch in to the game proper you press a button tantalizingly labeled “Infect”, then it’s on.
The game resembles a Snes era Japanese RPG, or one of Kairo’s management games. The game is viewed from an over head perspective of a bustling suburb, typical of the town that is about to be devastated by your zombie hordes. Beijing has crested arches, Rio has the giant Cristo statue, New York is dominated by Lady Liberty. even the places I was less familiar with such as Abottabad, appeared to have been rendered with an attempt to make things believable in a cutesy JRPG way. The citizens who mill about the streets voice their thoughts authentically, with speech bubbles saying “How are you?” or”I used to be a Zombie you know,” in the appropriate language. The Chinese ones passed me by, but the ones in English were a mix funny pop culture references, and cheeky jokes at which ever nationality they were. This attention to detail sets the scene perfectly, giving the varied little characters, well, real character, and makes the inevitable massacre all the more enjoyable.
You tap the screen where you want to start the infection. It’s best to aim for a densely populated area to maximize your chances as you only have one chance to get it right. If successful, you’ll set off a chain reaction that will wipe out the entire population in seconds. Once one of the pedestrians has turned in to a zombie, they attack passers by, who then are either killed out right, or themselves turn in to zombies and so the infection spreads.
There are several things that govern your ability to effectively complete each city, and money gained from completing region specific objectives such as kill five police, or even collecting it from the fallen, allows you to upgrade your zombies.
There are six different attributes to consider, lifespan, speed, resistance, and attack are the more obvious one, but it’s the chance of infection that is the most useful, and is the one that I focused on during the early game.
While it is possible to buy grenades and and traps to help give the massacre a helping hand, the most fun is had from watching the zombie virus spread. In the larger cities where there a lot of potential victims, you can quickly amass a huge wave of undead, washing across the screen like a tsunami of shambling corpses. It’s very satisfying.
If this all sounds a bit icky, trust me it really isn’t. The game is presented in such a light hearted way that it’s impossible to be offended. Adding to the comical feel of the game are the additional zombie types you can recruit. An early recruit is Ill Kim Jong, a barely disguised former North Korean leader, who has a couple of body guards in tow. Others include Reinald, a tribute to a certain hamburger endorsing clown, the Christmas hating Greench, and Jackon who makes the other zombies dance with him. Each new zombie has it’s own specialty that will assist you in certain scenarios, but the basic unit is always the most fun. That said the sight of Friday the thirteenth’s Jason Voohees chasing Santa across the North pole is laugh-out-loud funny. The game is full of funny cameos, from the famous to the obscure (Freddie Wong?) some who appear as overpowered enemies that will take down your zombie army before they’ve had time to flourish.
Infectonator is free to play, and you can boost your coins with in app purchases, however I managed to complete the game once and unlock the harder difficulty setting in a couple of hours without spending anything. There was a lot of content still to explore, (I still want to get the Demon from iD’s Doom) but I felt fulfilled with what I had. Infectonator does have a lot to offer and is endlessly replayable, and above all deliriously fun. You can get stuck in for a marathon session or simply spend a minute or two wiping out Cape Town. As a maniac hell bent on global destruction it’s entirely your prerogative.
I tried to get in to MOBAs, I really did. I dipped my toe in to DoTA, courted League of Legends, I even got a beta invite for SMITE, and gave Super Monday Night Combat a whirl to see if we could be friends. There’s something in me that just rejects these Android games, my body’s natural defenses see them coming a mile off and make me feel ill every time I try to play one. Maybe it’s being reared on Quake III: Arena that did it, but any multiplayer thing that looks like it should be a frenzy of circle strafing mayhem, but is actually a considered and rehearsed tactical game puts me right off.
Call me a heathen, an uncultured luddite with no respect for all that is true and right. Take away my ‘”Hardcore gamer’s” certificate and lock me in a room of match three puzzle games, but I have to say I really liked Plants War. Let’s get one thing straight, it is a MOBA. A hugely watered down one, that relies heavily on micro transactions (name one of these games that doesn’t), for sure. One that simplifies the genres tropes so as to be reductive in the extreme? Perhaps. Does it wrap everything up in a cloyingly cutesy Japanese kawaii veneer in order to reel in the casual market? You betcha. Is it hella* fun? Yes, sir. Yes it is.
The set up is that you’re a Leafy, a forest dwelling plant sprite, like something from a Studio Ghibli knock off. You have to defend your base from the onslaught of animals that emerge from their own base on the other side of the map. In this world where humans have abandoned Earth, your goal is to take down the animal’s base down by fair means or foul. Mostly foul. Well, exclusively foul.
It’s a variation on the RTS, based around constant attrition, and gaining ground. Rather than focus on resource management, it’s getting kills which fuels your progress, which keeps things ticking. This is a sprint, not a marathon.
You take direct control of you ‘hero’ Leafy who you control directly by tapping where you want it to go, and what you want it to attack. You start with a generic hero, but more advanced types can be unlocked which favor different attributes. You can choose from tanks, ranged specialists, splash damage enthusiasts, and a host of other variations. As you gain experience within a single match by defeating enemies(it resets to zero for every bout), you’re given the opportunity to boost your stats by assigning a level point, or unlocking and developing certain special abilities. These range from targeted strikes that focus on a single unit, to more devastating multi-target attacks each using magic which replenishes over time. Knowing what particular upgrade path to go down is just as much part of the strategy as your movement and actions in the level. If you decide to build up your hit points at the expense of say a lightning strike, you might be the hardest thing in combat, but you won’t be able to beat the opposing force’s hero with your underpowered attacks, because as soon as they dip below a health threshold, they retreat to go and heal leaving you in deadlock.
Focus to heavily on attack however and you just might make it through the first few battles, but there’ll come a time when the opposing team’s creeps (the sundry rank and file troops) will overwhelm you, where you’ll incur a heinous time penalty before you respawn. You can avoid the penalty through judicious use of health potions that are won as part of the spoils of war, or you could even use the handy teleport spell that whisks you back to your base where you automatically heal. For those with really short tempers, a instant revive spell is on hand in very limited quantities.
A balance must be struck between offense an defense, luckily you have a cohort of veggy buddies at your command. Separate from the battle to battle leveling, there is hero progression where you upgrade their permanent abilities like speed, magic, defense and crucially the limit on how many of your own creeps you can take with you in to combat.
These AI controlled warriors span the gamut from high defense/short range behemoths, to speedy snipers and more specialized troops that use magic. Each unit type cost a certain amount plant points, so you could have a range of weaker unit types, or through in a couple of high level plant warriors. That is if you have unlocked them with either of the game’s two currencies.
The dual currency is the hallmark of the free to play game, making sure that excessive grinding alone won’t make the whole game accessible to you. It’s possible to go down a slippery path towards unlocking everything the game has to offer, and I’ll say right now that it probably isn’t worth the sums they’re asking. I liked this Android game a lot, but not that much.
However you choose to take on leveling up your roster of arboreal avengers, Plants War offers a lengthy campaign with 40 levels at the time of writing, and more on the way.
*I apologize for using this term. It’s what Americans say, am I right?
In Rymdkapsel, creator Martin Jonasson has found the essence of strategy games. By stripping all the unnecessary elements that clutter most modern bloated titles, Rymdkapsel highlights the core of what makes resource management so compelling. This is the RTS made pure, but no less challenging.
The title is Swedish for space capsule, which I can only assume refers to the small cluster of exposed rooms with which you start the game, floating lost in the cosmic void. From these humble beginnings you must grow your capsule to a fully operational space station. To start you’re going to have to expand your base of operations. To do this you drag tetrominoes — basically the shapes you find in Tetris — and bolt them on to the structure to form corridors. This haphazard collection of random shapes forms the basis of your station, and the skeleton on to which you can stick a small selection of rooms which provide food, extra personnel and building materials.
The rooms are also the familiar geometric shapes, and working out the best possible position for each is a lot more important than it first seems. Once you commit to a certain layout, it’s hard to reconfigure and you might find that you’ve scuppered you chances for success at an early stage. Initially there are only two minions available to you to do your bidding and they are responsible for everything that goes on. You must assign them to different duties by sliding their icon to the appropriate job description on the menu at the bottom edge of the screen. You’ll want to put them on to construction to start, then move them food duty and eventually defense and research.
All of this takes resources, so your first priority is to start mining the limited resources available to you. It’s entirely possible to run out of materials far too early on the game, so you have to keep an eye on just how you use what you have or face a no win situation. There’s no point building a crazy space folly, this is about economy.
Once you have enough to build the crew quarters and your minions multiply, the games take on a larger scope. You can split you men in to different groups favoring one part of your station over the other. A general rule is that once you’ve established the resource gathering, you can focus on expansion, which is essential to completing the game because spread over your small quadrant of space are a number of alien monoliths which when researched give you small yet significant bonuses, such as improved crew speed. It’s tempting to let your station run itself after you’ve settled in to a groove, and just watch the hive of activity that you’ve created, interceding only to branch out in to a new area of unexplored space. It’s not all plain sailing though.
If balancing the various assignments wasn’t enough to keep you on your toes, there’s the added threat of attack from alien invaders, that streak across the screen in their red arrows, taking pot shots at you crew. A red progress tells you the time until the next attack which become more frequent and more intense.
To fight of these attackers the only thing to do is construct a defense room or two, then when the proximity alarm sounds (you’ll come to dread it) you scramble your men to take up arms.
Rymdkapsel bills itself as a meditative space strategy, but during the later cycles, when the attacks come every few minutes, and the arrows swarm the play area, it’s anything but. If you incur heavy loses, most of the time between attacks is spent repopulating your station, which prevents you from doing anything else. The first play through will make you appreciate the importance of the early game, where planning ahead is vital. You don’t want a convoluted base that takes a long time for your crew to run to their new assignments, especially if there’s an imminent attack.
The simplicity of the gameplay –or rather purity– is matched by the visual style. The shapes fit pleasingly together and make an attractive colored patchwork against the sparse background. The pieces that you are given to build your base are all randomly selected so no two bases will be the same. It’s possible to become attached to the tiny crew men, little more than white rectangles, especially when they’re hunted down and shot at.
There’s only one ‘level’ in Rymdkapsel and you have to conquer, which makes the Android game quite short. A single session lasts for about an hour. But this isn’t about a huge campaign, or unnecessary frills, bells and whistles. Rymdkapsel forces you to consider exactly what you are doing at every moment, because every move counts. Getting the balance between defense and expansion has always been the main thrust of RTS games since Command and Conquer, and here it is brilliantly distilled and brought to the fore.
Special mention has to go to the score by Salkinitzor, an appropriately minimalist mix of percussion and drone that enhances the atmosphere with deep, spacey electronica.
Calling Ionage a tower defense game only goes so far in describing the superior tactical space battle that you wage against your opponent. It’s your duty to defend a floating modular platform, that can be built upon with weapons and shields to adapt to your needs. You can extend it in pretty much any way you want if you have enough resources. It’s almost like an organic living process the way it spreads across space, adapting to the enemy who has their own platform, often right next to yours. It’s as much about conquering real estate as it is filling every node with cannons. It’s possible to annexe off certain parts of the battle(star)field if you dedicate your resources in to building. This tactic prevents you opponent from developing their base, but may leave you without enough offensive power. It comes off as a duel between two cumbersome space stations, locked in an arms race. There’s nothing else quite like it.
Mining is done by aiming guns at asteroids, cleverly streamlining the process, and adding strategic nuance; there’s a whole forum linked to in game where you can discuss strategy. There’s a lot going on with Ionage, and new elements are meted out over the course of the first few levels, so the game becomes richer as you go.
Upgrades can be obtained by completing levels, and additional bonuses are awarded if you can complete them under certain requirements, such as beating a time limit, or only using missiles .
Although free to play, purchases are well handled, and you don’t really need to spend more than $4 without unbalancing what swiftly becomes a quite challenging game. You can even buy a ‘Hardore’ mode, if you’re a real masochist.
The first thing that is a little weird about Cowboys and Zombies is that it doesn’t quite know what game it is. I don’t mean that it is confused about what genre it is, its a pretty blatant Battleheart clone – and knows it – no, what I mean is that it literally doesn’t know what game it is. On the Google Play Store it is listed as Cowboys and Zombies. The APK name and title screen menu display the name Howdy Zombie, which is a fine name too I suppose, it’s just a little confusing.
Moving past the name confusion, there is actually a pretty solid game here with Cowboys and Zombies or Howdy Zombie or whatever it wants to be called. It is, as mentioned, a Battleheart clone, but that isn’t a bad thing. Battleheart received 4 woofs from us (with a 4.5 tablet score) and what Cowboys and Zombies is, is an exact clone of Battleheart, put in a Western Theme and slapped onto a freemium framework.
It can be argued that Tentacle Wars is not just a real-time strategy (RTS) game but a puzzle game as well. This fascinating single-player strategy game is actually based on a popular Flash Game with gazillion of fans in which you control antibody cells in an organism and you have to attack the bad cells to save an alien from extinction. This Android game was really challenging, fun and can be compared to another game – Galcon – though Tentacle Wars is by far more appealing both in visuals and audio. Galcon uses an outer space theme focused on players to capture planets while Tentacle Wars utilizes an alien body where you have to fight off bad bacteria for the host to survive.
Good cells are colored green and you are tasked to capture enemy cells. To improve your chances, you have to secure gray neutral cells. Keep an eye on the power of the cell as indicated in its center. This separates Tentacle Wars from other RTS games as you have to use the tentacles to link up and transmit antibodies. If the number is low, the tentacles will be short to reach your targeted cell. The tentacles can extend its reach for as long as you have the power (high number inside). To start launching an attack, you just have to draw a line from your green cell to your preferred target. You can aim for the enemy cells and drain its health, zero in on neutral cells to claim it or direct to your own cells to move energies. Also, each cell has a power limit. It cannot absorb more than its threshold and has limit on the number of connections it can make which causes you to create a strategy on the fly. For me, it is a numbers game. You just have to time perfectly your moves to run over and defeat the bad viruses.
There are just some games that will not work on a touchscreen. There is either too much going on, or the precision needed is just too much for touch buttons to work well enough to be enjoyable. Castle Crashers, it could be argued, is one of those games. Hardcore Beat-em-ups require some split second movements and the idea of your character sitting still and taking hits because your thumb fell off of the virtual stick it can’t even feel, isn’t appealing.
Rather than try to pigeon hole a similar experience onto touchscreen controls, Battleheart takes everything that we loved about Castle Crashers (minus the co-op) and gives it a brand new feel and a few extra levels of depth by giving it a control scheme that is designed from the ground up for touchscreens. In doing so developer Mika Mobile has made a game that is completely unique and a ton of fun. It is a bit like if you mixed Castle Crashers with an RTS and threw in a few extra RPG elements to round it all out. The result is addicting and captivating.
HD is a weird thing to put in the title of a game. I thought we had seen the death of this trend in the last couple years, since most media displays in hi-def now, but I guess I was wrong. It isn’t a completely silly idea for Eufloria, though; the focus is on the aesthetic in this twist on the RTS genre, so it does need you to know how good it looks. Anyone convinced to buy a game from the Google Play Store even partly because of the HD moniker will not be disappointed by the beautiful art in this game, anyway, though the required time investment might keep a lot of players from ever seeing all of it.
Eufloria’s visual dissimilarity to anything else on the Android platform might is easily its biggest strength. There’s nothing that looks quite like the seamless blend of papercraft and watercolor styles in this game. Tree-laden asteroids churn out anthropomorphic seeds that fly to other asteroids, bringing them alive with color on an almost parchment-like background. Simple shapes of blue and yellow swim against each other, battling until only the scraps of one seedling army remain to transform the battleground into an asteroid of their own. Though not supported by a thorough narrative, the simple subject and style come together poetically to form something that is, at least, wonderful to look at.