Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
It’s time to enter the dungeons with Dungeons & Dragons: Arena of War, a new battle arena title with a bit of a strategic angle. Players get to choose from a number of characters to take into the depths to fight against different types of enemies. This includes bosses who take a few more hits.
Gameplay is rather simple as players tap and hold on their character, aiming at an enemy, then release to watch them run into their target and attack. It’s turn-based combat, so players must make their strikes count. In the beginning combat is easy and has players doing a lot of one hit kill strikes. It gets more difficult as players progress and that's when more strategy is involved. Each level features explosives on the small arena map where players can aim their runs just right, hitting the bad guy into one and killing them. Players can also aim just right to take out two enemies with explosives during just one turn. I like this type of combative play, but the beginning levels are pretty basic and not very well designed for strategy.
Arena of War provides interesting gameplay, especially when players use special powers to increase their strikes. Special powers are achieved by earning items, then fusing them together after a quest has been completed. Characters can only use them every 30 turns or so, limiting the player. It doesn't matter too much thanks to the bland level design at the beginning, though. It’s only interesting when facing tougher enemies and that’s only because players don’t know if they’ll be strong enough to defeat them. There isn’t a lot of strategy in those situations as players just need to try hard to strike enemies into explosives and against walls.
Arena of War is free-to-play and uses an energy system while questing. Each quest takes a lot of energy and the player only has 100 points to use, though 1 point is restored every 3 minutes. This is pretty ridiculous when players begin playing quests that only last a few minutes but take 20~25 energy points. Basically, it comes down to where players can play for maybe 10 minutes before they have to wait hours or purchase more energy through in-app purchases.
What makes this worse is that, towards the end of the first quests, things begin to get very difficult and players are forced to replay earlier levels to try to earn more items and increase their power. These quests take up anywhere from 10-20 energy each. Basically, at this time players reach their stopping point and must either play the waiting game or buy items through in-app purchases. I must say that while I found the combat interesting, there wasn’t a whole lot of intrigue here that made me want to continue playing. I may have been more enticed if the levels had been laid out better, but that’s just not the case.
Dungeons & Dragons: Arena of War looks and plays interesting, but the lack of energy is an in-app killer.