Version Reviewed: 1.4
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Downfall: Clash of Factions shows just how important it is for a game to be interesting. Mechanically, it’s as good as all of these other freemium strategy games that keep popping up. However, what those other games do, and Downfall does not, is make the experience interesting enough to mask the number-crunching and cash-grabbing.
Downfall: Clash of Factions’ post-apocalyptic setting and premise may be a little generic but they are at least initially intriguing. However, soon the familiar strategic base construction becomes the overwhelming focus of the game. Players zoom and scroll around the map upgrading structures and building new ones. Of course there are also various resources to consider and certain structures can only be built on certain areas. It’s a routine process but here the confusing menus and convoluted tech trees make the whole experience less intuitive and accessible than it should be. Even just trying to build a basic tank feels like it takes twice as many steps as it should. Worse still, when players are finally ready to start expanding, the “battles” consist of merely watching some numbers change and some meters go up and down. It sucks all of the excitement out of the game.
Strategy games aren’t always the most thrilling things to play but they usually have something for the player to get invested in. Here though, the tedious grinding inherent to the genre is so meaningless and obvious it discourages players from even considering spending real money for something. If the game was deeper and rewarded more hardcore play perhaps the unnecessary complexity and overall dull tone could have been excused. Sadly though, that isn’t the case.
At least it looks good. While the gray, washed-out wasteland environments don’t do much to help give the game the energy it desperately needs, all the artwork is very detailed and well-drawn. Meanwhile, the pounding music admirably does all that it can to drive players forward and give them a sense of purpose.
However, all that can’t hide the most glaring problem: I found Downfall: Clash of Factions just too boring to play.