Version Reviewed: 1.2.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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There can be a very fine line between making strategy games accessible without making them spammy. Simplify the mechanics too much and the best path to winning may become just to play as many units as possible and hope the RNG (random number generator) rolls in your favor. Battlehorn attempts to raise this line and it’s hard to say if it does so successfully. Strategy certainly matters, but spamming can be just as effective at times. Either way the overall experience is fun, if a bit shallow.
In Battlehorn a kingdom is under siege by a necromancer attempting to gain control of an ancient power to destroy the world and all living in it. Troops must be deployed to defend against the undead onslaught and the kingdom and all it stands for must not fall. The story is told in game with dialogue boxes popping up periodically as a councilmen gives hints, tips, and general knowledge of how to defeat the advancing army of rotting corpses.
A rock-paper-scissors type formula exists within units. Archers attack from a far and can weed out soldiers before they get too close, but a cavalry can advance fast enough to avoid arrows. Knights are too tough for cavalry to deal much damage to and can hold the line in front of a row of archers. As the game progresses more and more units are unlocked which counters the units earned before them. Units are summoned in battle by spending coins which are earned over time and by defeating enemy waves. Power-ups can be used which range from a boost of coins to clearing the whole field of enemies. Once per battle you can clear the field. Doing it more than that requires an in-app purchase.
Not quite real time strategy, not quite tower defence, Battlehorn is an interesting hybrid. Many battles become a war of attrition where having more units is the key to winning. Choosing what amount of which units to summon is about as deep as the strategy gets and even then it’s still a numbers game. Levels are a good length for short burst gaming and overall there is fun to be had, just don’t expect to high a level of strategy.