Developer: Ordinary People
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.8
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

As I look over my town, I can’t help but smile. The apples are coming in, crisp and delicious. My cache is filled with gold, ensuring that I have the resources to provide for my citizens. And in my barracks, dozens of warriors train for the moment that I unleash them on my unsuspecting neighbors in a furious tide of swords and arrows. My little slice of paradise.

IMG_0434Age of Fury does not break ground with its formula. The whole ‘design/upgrade your town-resource management’ thing has been done dozens of times before. What makes Age of Fury fun is how well it is implemented. The visuals are cartoony and wonderfully bright. Attacking enemy bases feels exciting, and watching your target’s apples and gold come flying out of their caches and into yours is satisfying. The camera controls are also really nice, letting you zoom and pan around with near-total freedom.

You will build up your town by adding and upgrading structures, all geared towards marching armies into enemy bases to destroy buildings and steal resources. There are missions against pre-generated bases, as well as an online feature that lets you test yourself against player-built forts. Your army is entirely AI controlled once it is deployed, and the real challenge of the game is designing a well-balanced attack force and deploying them smartly during the quick, timed skirmishes. Each of the game’s dozen units has a different priority system, with Knights throwing themselves at enemy defenses, Thieves rushing supply caches, and Miners focusing on destroying enemy fortifications. Unfortunately, since you cannot control units once they are deployed, it can be absolutely maddening to watch as your army spreads itself too thin and is picked off one by one. This frustration can be mitigated with better team design and deployment.

IMG_0435Of course, there are also the normal pitfalls with this particular breed of free-to-play design. Everything you do, from training troops to upgrading structures, takes time – however, you can spend mana to instantly complete build times. And while you can obtain miniscule amounts of mana from completing challenges, it’s really intended to be purchased. Also, the build times can get ridiculously long – for instance, upgrading my barracks will take 10 hours, during which I cannot train soldiers and therefore cannot continue to engage opponents. I could complete this instantly for some mana, but for now my hands are tied. The game is essentially holding itself hostage, waiting for me to spend some real money on it – or build a second barracks, which will also take time. And of course, there is the truly unfortunate ‘always-online’ requirement, though it feels less arbitrary in this game since you spend so much of your time engaging real-world opponents.

Despite its flaws, Age of Fury is absolutely a fun game. While I’m not one to spend loads of cash on something like this, Age of Fury works hard to earn my dollars through its fun visuals, engaging combat, and intuitive gameplay.


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