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.
The city is built on a grid system, with each building taking a different size and shape of space. This gives a puzzle-like feel to the placement of each building, road, or decoration. Creating the most efficient layout for your city can be fun, and as a city builder this game has a lot of positives players will enjoy. Similar to Civilization, players progress from one era to the next by doing research. Each new research opens new elements to the game, and each age has a different set of art for the buildings that really makes it feel like your empire is progressing through time.
Speaking of TIME, prepare to spend a LOT of it! This is not the type of game where you can see how your empire is progressing and make important decisions about your strategy. This is the log in every 15 – 30 minutes to micromanagement the upgrading of all your buildings and tap tap tapping to claim your resources, since your townspeople I guess are too lazy to move them from the mine to the warehouse if you’re not looking over their shoulders.
The drawbacks of the game though are the slow resource production, slow leveling, and very limited PvP play.
Players can choose to attack each other by clicking on the players icon in the HUD, but this is more like the Clash of Clans style attack, as there is no world map where you have to grow up with your neighbours, through words or war. Instead you will get to attack whoever the game presents to you, and the winner can Plunder one building from the enemy. Alternatively, players can negotiate peace for crafted resources. Also, whether you win or lose the attack you can only attack another player once every 24 hours.
The main use of the battles are the NPCs on the world map (which only shows territories and NPCs.)
Once in a battle though, there are a lot of tactics involved. The battles take place on a large hexagonal grid. Armies start on opposite sides of the grid, and as each piece has their turn to act the grid system lights up to show grids the troop can move to and it also shows the range of weapons. The battle continues to the last enemy standing. This is a lot of fun, but beating the computer AI just isn’t as satisfying and besting a human opponent.
For those looking for a slow paced city building game that has a single player campaign Forge of Empires will give hours of enjoyment.