Sky Wars: Archon Rises, aims to claim the throne of today’s online strategy games. Is SWAR just another in the long line of clones that led to Game of War and its ilk? Or does it offer an true experience where players can test their strategy and resolve against warlords from across the skies?
Of course SkyWars keeps with all the traditions of the genre. Upgrading buildings, training troops, raiding resources, most of the standard tropes are there. They are still missing a few things you would expect in a game now, such as alliance leaderboard, but we’ve been assured these things are coming soon.
The first thing that struck me about SkyWars was the art. This game is beautiful and really makes Game of War look like something made by a kid who hasn’t yet figured to color inside the lines. SWAR really sells their world of islands floating in the sky and finally show the player something original compared to the thousands of medieval-fantasy games. The highest tier of troops are the Divine angels, and the whole game has an ancient, spiritual flavor.
Part Clash of Clans, part Hearthstone, Clash Royale burst on the scenes with more hype than the royal baby. The game pits players against each other, 1 on 1, in a series of 3 minute matches where you deploy troops from the Clash of Clans IP to destroy your enemy’s tower, while he attempts the same. Unlike “of Clans”, both players are online simultaneously and have to manage both offense and defense. Winning matches and just being around earns you packs of random cards / troops that improve your abilities in the match.
What did they get right? What did they get wrong? And is it strategy?
After a very long journey, your vessel, the Ark, reaches New Eden. Your crew has trusted you to get them this far, but it is just the beginning. It took all of your supplies to reach this new world, the Ark is low on energy, and enemies approach from the strange horizon. Do you divert energy to the shields, or to bring soldiers out of cryo? Or do you send out an expedition with a chance to bring back enough energy for both?
This is the premise of Ark of War, one of the latest Online Strategy Games to hit the app store. Unfortunately… it hardly delivers on all this potential. Instead you get yet another cookie cutter OSG.
As part of my service to the world of online strategy games, I’ve recently played through several of the latest iOS strategy titles. And once I had finished I realized I had not made a single decision. I just clicked the next thing in the “recommended path”, upgrading anything and everything with no thought as to why.
And then I found Dominus. A free browser based strategy game. The true heir to Travian?
Empire Z is Ember Entertainments latest entry into the zombie genre. Despite the splash screen showing a group of zombies attacking four heavily armed heroes perched atop a taxi, Empire Z plays as a standard mobile city builder / strategy game and has little to do with zombies.
The idea of zombies could have made a very interesting strategy game. A severe lack of resources, risking the people and equipment you have to go forage for needed supplies, having to sacrifice any of your soldiers who were bit or risk everyone turning into zombies. But alas, despite the different art this plays like your cookie cutter OSG, rather set in space or antiquity.
Last War is the first attempt at a freemium game by Gamevil deviating from their successful retro action RPG style of games. I struggle a bit to really classify this style of game, but lets call it a hardcore menu-based World War II tactical game.
Stormfall was one of the better online strategy games on Facebook during the platform’s height. Plarium recently released the game on iOS, which gives us the perfect opportunity to review it.
Stormfall has a beautifully rendered city-view, with a lot of humorous animations playing all the time, which gives your domain a nice sense of life. There are soldiers marching around, a dragon flying around, a dwarf floating down the river in a barrel, etc.
Innogames, who brought us Tribal Wars and Grepolis all those years ago, recently released Forge of Empires for the iPad, and OSG1 is here to give it a test-drive. It’s a online strategy game whose design relies heavily on player engagement. Plan and build your city, train a few troops to do battle, and tap, tap, tap for resources. Conquering new territory is performed by way of a turn based battle with NPC enemies. There is even some PvP in the form of turn based duels.
Forge of Empires has a strong single player campaign, and complex city planning which is what this game does well.
Boom Beach is a free to play strategy game from Supercell, creator of Clash of Clans. I mention Clash of Clans because this is the same game with a new wrapper and no chat. The setting has changed, and the graphics are much improved. The gameplay itself is extremely similar mixing city building with strategy. It does have a slight story …. Something about evil invaders or the like. The main objective being to capture as many bases scattered around yours as possible.
If you take a look at the App Store, you’ll see a lot of games in the strategy category. But are any of these actually strategy games?
What then is strategy? Max McKeown argues that “strategy is about shaping the future” and is the human attempt to get to “desirable ends with available means”. Okay, that’s interesting, but could just as well applied to shaping a future where I am not hungry by eating this biscuit. Maybe we’ll have better luck with “Strategy Game”?
Wikipedia says that “A strategy game… is a game in which the players’ un-coerced, and often autonomous decision-making skills have a high significance in determining the outcome.” This is still bollocks though, because decision-making skills is so vague that we’re not saying anything.
A strategy game is a game in which each player’s ability to anticipate their opponent’s move has a high significance in determining the outcome.
This means that, contrary to what Apple would have you believe, Cookie Jam is not a strategy game.