There are no shortage of titles for gamers to get their fix while on the go. Battlestone, Zynga’s newest RPG-Lite outing is the latest in a long line of contenders for your time and money.
The first thing that stands out in the game are the visuals, the strike me as a semi-paired down version of World of Warcraft and that isn’t necessarily a detractor. The visual appeal and the audio of the game create an enjoyable atmosphere in the game.
Players are given a hero which they then direct through the level by placing waypoints that followed immediately by the summoned hero. As enemies and attackable objects pop up on the map the player can opt to tap to have their hero attack that single object, or do a swipe or draw a line through the enemies to essentially setup an attack queue. Your hero attacks in the order you swipe adding another level of strategy to fighting but the motion can become a bit tiresome.
sadly, after awhile the action of the game begins to wear thin. It’s not that the gameplay isn’t fun,it is, but more that there is nothing else to flesh out this world. The ads for the game talk about exploring environments, but all of the levels begin to ring of a particular “sameness”. To further aggravate an otherwise passable game, in order to heal your character you are forced to use the same currency used for summoning new heroes to your “deck”. If you don’t heal one of your heroes and they fall in battle you have the option to revive them instantly for wait for a timer. At which point you’re prompted to select a new hero to carry on with.
Normally such a feature might add to the gameplay mechanics and feed into a risk vs reward scenario but it is mostly just frustrating. The difficulty of levels will suddenly spike and if you’re obsessively healing your heroes, chances are you won’t have earned enough gems to summon new ones to add to your roster. It is through this method that the pay gate shows its ugly head, players can buy either gold coins (used to purchase upgrades and other items) or the gems used to summon better heroes.
While I never felt burdened by the cash shop, it was also ever present and I couldn’t help but feel that the game mechanics were singly designed around encouraging players to buy coins or gems. I don’t fault a company for trying to make money, but having cash shop features play such an obvious role in a game’s mechanics even further put me off the game.
The last thing that annoyed me was the online connection issue, the game requires you to be connected while playing so it can keep downloading as you play which is rather troublesome for a mobile game. To further aggravate the issue, the game by default will use either your phone’s net connection or when connected to a wifi hotspot. The game doesn’t tell you this is the case and in fact most games are specifically setup to only download or require connection for certain features or downloading content when you’re connected to wifi. Had I not noticed the setting to set an option to only connect when my phone was attached to wifi I would have easily racked up a huge bill from my coverage provider quickly turning this free to play title into one of the most expensive game I would have ever played.
All in all, the game started out enjoyable but I found myself growing bored of it rather quickly. Being unable to play unless I had a strong connection caused the game to be useless to me while I traveled. If I spent time away from home near a wifi hotspot that might have made this game a worthwhile diversion, but it’s design and practices made me put the game down as quickly as I picked it up. If you travel often and are in need of good games I would say give it a try, but I wouldn’t expect a miracle.