Developer: Game Insight
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Many of us have personal fantasies about ruling a kingdom. Interestingly, those fantasies don’t fade as we age; probably because they’re so versatile. We can imagine ourselves slaying dragons and meeting elves in the same dream sequence that puts us in close company with voluptuous maidens and heroes with big swords. The Tribez and Castlez by Game Insight offers the chance to build a kingdom and take part in heroic quests. Unfortunately, despite its colorful graphics and light sense of humor, the game doesn’t inspire much whimsy. It’s a solid city-builder, but the long wait times and repetitive tasks keep it cemented squarely in reality.

castlez_02When a time-travel experiment flings the Professor and Aurora into a magical kingdom, they resolve to do what they can to learn about their new surroundings. Within moments a prince named Eric enlists their help to rebuild his kingdom, which has been laid flat by Gobuls, Trollums, and Wickerwolves. The Tribez and Castlez is as bright and cute as a city-builder can hope to get. There are neat graphical touches everywhere. The shadows of dragons even skate over the buildings and crops from time to time.

The problem with The Tribez and Castlez is its mechanics, which are as common as mead spills on the floor of a tavern. Houses are assembled for peasants that, in turn, take care of nearly everything that’s to be done around the kingdom. This includes harvesting food, tending to crops, assembling trade-related buildings, and exploring caves. Typical of a city-building game, some tasks in The Tribez and Castlez take ages. It can take hours for crops to grow, or for some ruins to be explored. Tasks can be sped up with blue crystals, which are earned by completing certain quests. A seemingly generous number of crystals are allotted at the start of the game, but the stash depletes far faster than it’s built up – though buying more crystals via an in-app purchase is always an option, of course.

castlez_03Completing tasks isn’t simply a matter of waiting around, either. Nearly everything the peasants do requires them to consume a certain amount of food. Growing food is a bit of a pain though, because it’s another chore that can take ages to complete – and then sometimes harvesting is put on hold because the town’s warehouse is full. But upgrading the warehouse requires the player to be at level 11, and the process of upgrading also gobbles up a lot of resources.

The Tribez and Castles is a solid city-building adventure. It’s just a shame it’s not more than that, given its mythical setting and promises of magic, danger, and adventure. Players that are wild about city-building games and don’t have any major objections to waiting around and/or spending money on in-app purchases might enjoy spending time in Game Insight’s kingdom. Everyone else should seek out their princess in another castle.


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