Developer: Bakumens
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

A Little War is not so much a game as it is like standing on an escalator. It’s a strategy game with little actual strategy. Players control an army with a hulking hero, and send them in battle against an orc army with a hulking hero. The objective is to take out the other hero, with the enemy army acting as a protective wall, essentially. Players can command their forces to move forward or pause, and unleash special abilities like arrows from the sky or cutting attacks that go straight at the opposing hero. Currency earned from completing battles can be spent on upgrades to the hero and army, such as being able to command a greater number of soldiers in the army, and to buy new soldiers to replace the ones that fall.

That’s pretty much it. Players go from battle to battle, occasionally tapping buttons, but otherwise watching the computer handle everything. A Little War just doesn’t have much in the way of agency for players. It’s just choosing whether to send units or have them pause, and activating special abilities as they recharge. It’s not as involved as a game like Legendary Wars or similar side-scrolling RTS games. Really, it feels like an assembly line: player hits the buttons to set the machine in motion, and occasionally add some more fuel when necessary.

The game is free-to-play, and its revenue-generation schemes can be a bit obnoxious. Essentially, it’s set up so that dying brings on a need to get more currency because if a lot of the grunts die, it’s expensive to replace them. The easiest way to get money is to beat new missions, pretty much. Older missions can be replayed but for a fraction of the value of beating it initially. Of course, upgrades to stats and unlocking new abilities is best done through spending money as well. However, the most obnoxious method the gmae tries to make money is the treasure chests: these are frequently-collected and contain riches, but the keys to unlock them can only be bought with real money. It’s practically taunting the player every time a chest is collected.

I don’t believe this is a “bad” game per se, but it just feels like something built to let the player do as little as possible, and there’s just not much fun to really be had from it because of that.

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