Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
It seems like the promise of the future of gaming is one where the device we play our games on doesn't matter, as our games will follow us wherever we choose to play them. Godsrule delivers on that concept, being playable on browser and on iPad, but it just doesn't really deliver on being the compelling experience that it should be.
Godsrule comes in two portions: a standard simulation-style city building game where players collect resources and increase the size of their city. These resources are spent partially on training units to go in to battle for the other half of the game, the battle half. Players sign up for either a red or blue faction, and wage real-time strategy battles with their units against a player from the other faction (or AI stand-ins) in real-time, trying to capture a rune at the center of the arena.
Players can only summon so many units at a time without temporarily increasing their summoning capacity by getting a unit to stand on tiles that increase the limit. Thus, getting to these stones and amassing a bigger army than the opponent in battle will help win, and help get control of the various islands back to the player's faction, with resource rewards for winning battles and controlling islands with every occasional time milestone.
Thankfully, the interface between the browser and iPad versions of Godsrule are built to be identical, so jumping between the two versions has little-to-no difficulty curve. Heck, the game was fairly touch-friendly even on my Surface Pro. Game progress transfers perfectly between platforms, too. The iPad client, at least on iPad 2, is a buggy mess though. All sorts of errors of unknown origin, and seemingly no negative effect, pop up frequently. The game seems to work just as well as the browser version when it does work, but that's not always a guarantee.
The key issue with the battle system is that it requires a lot of players to make for interesting battles, and I didn't see enough battling players to make the game interesting. One problem with jumping in to battles is that it's quite possible that the enemy will have summoned forth their maximum number of units, making it nigh-impossible to try and capture the rune at the center because they can just overwhelm someone entering mid-game. In fact, this means that it's usually always better to create a battle of one's own on an island; the NPCs are trivial to dispatch, and the rune can be taken in 90 seconds or less depending on how focused I am. With a better matchmaking system or AI that actually puts up a fight, the combat meta-game is really flawed.
Godsrule is a novel idea, but the execution just is not there yet. Seriously, making a game where PC and iPad players are on equal footing is a fantastic job by Gogogic - now they just need to make it fun.