Developer: Red Robot Labs
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.14
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

There’s no shortage of freemium-based city building titles. Even once throwing in socializing features and ways in which to fight other players it’s an extremely busy genre on the App Store at the moment. What isn’t so fertile is the imagination used to conjure up such things, which leads me to how pleasantly surprised I am by Friendly Fire!

friendlyfire6The game has very similar principles to the aforementioned city building genre, but it implements such ideas in a much more entertaining way than most. Immediately adding a personal flourish to things, Friendly Fire! invites players to place their base in their actual home town. This has a few benefits. Notably, the roads of the real town are used to add familiarity as well as structure to the base layout. It also means that players can compete with other local people through some very extensive leaderboards. It’s immediately pretty cool to browse, even more so when looking at some of the smallest locales out there.

Of course, that would count for nothing if Friendly Fire! wasn’t also quite fun. It is, luckily. Things start a little slowly with the player establishing their base but it becomes increasingly more satisfying.

Upgrading and maintaining the base is much like in other city building games, with resource gathering starting things off before choosing which place to boost first. Defenses such as roadblocks and turrets need to be placed too, in order to withstand attack from opposing players. Throughout, players are guided to victory through the mission system which offers rewards for completing various tasks.

friendlyfire5There are plenty of in-app purchases available for those who choose to partake, but it’s quite forgiving. Gems are the premium currency here, moving things along as and when required, but they’re handed out for completing certain tasks – meaning with a dash of patience there’s no need to spend real money.

Crucially, it’s the real world side of things that makes Friendly Fire! truly stand out. With fictional places it’d still be fun, but there’s an added drive to things when being able to compete in such a personal way. Given the various timers involved, Friendly Fire! is a slow-burning but fun title. It won’t be long before one is drawn into longstanding rivalries with others around the world, and it’ll be surprisingly satisfying to do.

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