I’ve never been a big mobile game player, but I ended up working in a mobile games company (opinions are my own etc), so I’ve been trying to expose myself to more games in this market and attempt to gain an ever-better understanding of them. One of the ways I’ve been doing that is in trying out new games, seeing what they do wrong and right, and try to draw conclusions from them that I can use in the future to make our games better. One of the resources I’ve been using for this is TouchArcade (not sponsored), and their columns listing the new iOS games of the week.
This resulted in me playing a lot more new games during my daily bus rides, but I also feel the need to discuss them somewhere and keep a log of my thoughts instead of just internalising them. So, Commuting Cognition. These will be brief, bus-ride-long thoughts on these games, and should be seen less as reviews and more as first-impression brain dumps. They also may not be daily, depending on how much i have to say and how full the bus is that day, but i may still post bite-sized thoughts on twitter.
Mighty Battles is a Clash Royale-like that actually attempts to improve on the formula instead of just reusing it.
The core gameplay will sound very familiar: you have a hand of cards that you can drag to the screen to summon units, who then move forward toward the opponent’s base in order to attack it. Units who intercept each other will fight until one wins and continues on its way. The cards cost energy, which you acquire gradually throughout the match. Whoever takes down the opponent’s base first wins.
The most immediately noticeable change to the format is the addition of a permanent turret in the player’s base. This turret automatically fires at the units closest to its owner’s base, but the player can also tap on any unit to focus fire on it; if the opponent has no units, the turret attacks their base. It’s an interesting addition in a couple of ways.
First and foremost, the turret ensures that you never feel helpless while enemy units are descending upon you and you’re out of energy to summon defences. I imagine turret damage / unit health were balanced in order to ensure that the gameplay impact is minimal, so that it doesn’t threaten to make summoned units useless; i can’t accurately determine this without more extensive play. Additionally each base automatically and periodically summons weak units on its own, mainly to serve as cannon fodder for the turret.
Secondly, the turret provides an excuse for another class of cards: ammunition. This functions similarly to spells (fireball et al) but, because the turret can be both used to dispatch units or attack the base directly, there’s an added flexibility that allows for more meaningful decisions when building your deck.
There’s another change that seems less noticeable but has a greater impact on the game’s flow. Instead of summoning units at whatever position you wish within an expandable range, here you can only choose to summon them on the beginning of either the left or the right lane.
This may have been done to increase the potential effect of the turret, or in order to give the players greater response time due to the angle at which the game is displayed; a slanted 3D view, instead of a top-down 2D view, means that units will quickly become covered and hard to distinguish when there are too many on the screen.
Most importantly, however, it streamlines the game, albeit at the cost of meaningful decisions which potentially have a big impact on strategy. The few sessions i played were very quick, much quicker than Clash Royale matches, and any strategy i had just boiled down to continuously summoning units on either lane.
While searching for gameplay videos i found that most of them seemed to be from an older version that featured a controllable turret, instead of the static one in this version, forcing you to manually aim at the units or the base in order to shoot them. I’m interested as to why they felt best to remove that feature, as it would’ve made the game a lot more unique.
My assumption is that it would become unwieldy to handle the manual aiming while keeping an eye on the whole battlefield and summon units, in addition to a potential loss of balance by allowing you to aim straight at the opponent’s base while ignoring their units.