App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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When goblins attack, it’s lane defense/survival meets tug-of-war. At least it is in Warmongers’ case. It does a surprisingly fantastic job of marrying a number of elements from defense, survival, and role playing games, but sometimes it can be a little too tough for its own good.
Players are given control of a human army and charged with defending against the goblin horde. Then promptly overtaking them. Tapping in a given lane will select it, while tapping on a unit’s icon will create and unleash it. Assuming there’s enough mana, that is. The challenge comes in balancing defending against the goblins (i.e. using units to keep them from crossing the left side of the screen) and going on the offensive (i.e. sending units across to the right side of the screen. A bar at the top represents progress, and each soldier that clears the side will cause it to shift in the player’s favor. However, the same can happen for the goblins should they get through. And once the goblins’ manage to fill the bar, it’s Game Over.
This push and pull tug-of-war mechanic makes even the most dire situations survivable with the right amount of planning, resource management, and luck. Unlocking new units types such as archers, as well as upgrading those that are already available, also goes a long way. Of course it’s also important to strategize properly. Sometimes it’s best to simply keep a rather active lane of goblins at bay rather than clear them out, as it affords the opportunity to shuffle off a bunch of cheaper units along the sides with little to no opposition.
Where I take issue with Warmongers is in the difficulty spikes. Each level has three iterations that need to be cleared before a goblin camp is destroyed and, as expected, each iteration is tougher than the one before it. Getting through the first section is usually a breeze up until the end when it starts to become something of a challenge. Getting through the second section feels nigh impossible almost from the start what with the massive horde of goblins that just never stops coming. Getting past these scenarios requires a ton of luck, planning, and patience. I’m not even entirely sure if the second and third renditions can be cleared without unlocking or upgrading units, and that takes more cash than can typically be earned in one or even two games. The general concept I can get behind, but I think it could stand to be dialed back a bit.
Warmongers is definitely a cool and challenging game, but it might be a bit too challenging for some. If nothing else the requisite grind is something of a, well, grind. It is fun and it does sport some cool concepts, but it could stand to loosen up a little.