Version Reviewed: 1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
It's not hard to see why real-time strategy games work so well with the free-to-play model. Their slower pace and emphasis on resource and unit gathering easily go hand in hand with gradual micro transactions. However, games like Goblin Legion HD remind us that pairing those two doesn't always end in success.
There's nothing wrong with the core mechanics. Players harvest resources, raise armies and expand their empire in one phase and try to destroy the enemy whenever they want in the other. However, figuring out how to do all of that might prove to be a bit of a challenge seeing as there is no initial tutorial. RTSs are a notoriously complex genre and that combined the unintuitive touch controls makes Goblin Legion's learning curve especially steep. It's one of several cases where the player has to actively fight against the game itself to enjoy it.
Eventually players will figure it out, but once they do they'll be in for another hurdle: the waiting. So many things in this game from the construction to the harvesting to the quests (when they aren't crashing) take forever to complete. Being a persistently online game means one could perhaps make some new friends and chat while they wait for their upgrades but that isn't much of a consolation. Being a free to play game means one could also spend real money to speed up the process but again, that isn't much better.
However, beneath all that is a fairly decent strategy game. There's a nice variety of units and structures and a good amount of content overall. The game may take far too long to get going but once it does repelling the enemy with defensive towers only to scout them out and unleash your own horde of ogres and assassins is legitimately entertaining. The graphics and sounds are something one might find in a browser game but the fantasy aesthetic at least has some personality.
There's a good game at Goblin Legion's core. Too bad it's drowned out by all of its near-crippling issues. Fun is there but finding it takes too much work.