Developer: Phyken Media
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

WizardOpsTactics-1Amazingly, the turn-based strategy game has seen a resurgence thanks to mobile platforms. Thanks to the rise of asynchronous multiplayer and to developers that try to shrink the concepts down to be friendly for even those who are diving in to the genre for the first time. Wizard Ops Tactics tries to be that kind of simple turn-based strategy title, but it winds up just lacking.

After the tutorial, players jump in to games with other players, building up an army of wizards to take on other players. The goal is to either defeat everyone on the opponent’s team, or to complete the objective in play, either to control a certain spot or to capture the enemy’s flag. Players start off with small teams of just 4 each, with limited action points that need to be used for different attacks. The game’s smaller teams and small maps mean that players don’t have to wait for a long while before reaching their opponent and getting into the action, thankfully. The Facebook login works for logging in quickly and across multiple devices, and there’s cross-platform play with the Android version.

WizardOpsTactics-5However, this game can just be aggravating at times. The way that movement and attacking is planned, by queuing up actions, just seems unnecessarily convoluted for the sake of a nebulous multiplier whose effect is never really explained. It feels satisfying to chain up all the moves, but trying to do so while essentially blind, working from theoretical unit positions, just adds a challenge to the game without much in the way of tangible benefit. The game is also exceedingly tedious, with slow animations when moves are queued up. The queuing up works in a sense because the game is built around fog of war, but it’s all just handled in such an annoying way that just doesn’t feel fun to play.

The tutorial is too long and confusing to be of much help either. Spending money on gold, while not a huge part of the game, feels like it could make it too easy to spend money to build out a more powerful army. Of course, the tedious pace of the game may make it difficult to want to get to that point, either. It also loads extremely slowly on older devices, and push notifications don’t work, only email ones do.

While there’s interesting conceptual elements to Wizard Ops Tactics, it’s otherwise just a more frustrating title than it has to be. If Hero Academy and Outwitters have gotten old, then this free download may be worth it, but it doesn’t live up to the genre’s best.

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