Developer: GREE
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.8
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

It doesn’t feel that long ago that most freemium empire building type games were sociable, friendly affairs. I suspect the success of Clash of Clans has changed all that, which is how we find ourselves with War of Nations: a title as aggressive as it sounds.

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The latest hopeful title from the almighty GREE, War of Nations is all about constructing an impressive base before expanding to take over the world, or at least those enemy units around the player’s base. It’s possible to train a variety of different military units for the purpose, research new technology, and mine for valuable resources to make this all possible. This isn’t a game that can be solely played for a day, but it is a quite satisfying game to dive into a couple of times a day.

There’s a fair amount of flexibility to War of Nations, allowing players to develop their base however they wish. At first, the player is immune to attack too, at least for the early few days, although this is removed the moment that they decide to strike out. This gives the player plenty of time to develop a strong base, alongside a plethora of different offensive and defensive units. Commanders are also recruited, offering extra bonuses and powers, as well as the chance to upgrade individual pieces of equipment.

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It’s all quite well plotted out, ensuring there’s always something new to do. A list of mission objectives includes reminders to research specific types of weaponry or machinery, as well as more aggressive ideas such as to capture a base nearer the middle of the map. In each case, money and resources are given to the player for successful completion, ensuring a steady trickle of reasons to keep pursuing them.

The map itself is potentially huge, with a surrounding slice of it offered to players wishing to expand. Battles are fairly hands-off once the units are deployed, but it’s possible to watch an action replay afterwards. Alliances can be formed with other players, giving extra protection and a sense of camaraderie.

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It’s all really quite fun, if sometimes restrictive. These restrictions come from the in-app purchases that remain so popular for such games. Every action takes a certain length of time, with it sliding upwards depending on the size of the job. For instance, while upgrading an oil derrick from level 1 to 2 might only take 30 seconds, researching an important tool can take hours. For those willing to spend money, there are plenty of shortcuts that can be taken. I didn’t feel I was missing out too much by resisting, though.

Due to such timers, past the early stages, War of Nations isn’t a game to play for hours on end, but I did feel an urge to go back to check in on my troops and keep something ticking along throughout my day. While I suspect money is near essential for those who genuinely want to rule the in-game world, it’s still possible to control a slice of it and enjoy the progression aspects, without paying out.

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