Tides of War the potential to be a tidal wave

Posted: May 20, 2009 in Tower Defense

The iPhone/iPod Touch is the ideal platform for tower and castle defense games so it’s no surprise to see so many options in the iTunes store. And, devs are becoming even more inventive in developing games that offer a different visual and gameplay experience. The most recent one is Tides of War in which you command Royal Navy troops against pirates. This initial release provides some surprisingly entertaining gameplay with some creative touches, and I can only guess how much better this game can be with a few additions.

Tides of War has 3 levels of difficulty: easy, medium and hard and offers a survival mode—survive as many attack waves as possible. The sound effects are adequate with the various attack and explosion sounds. As with tower defense games, everything is done by touch and drag. Each time a new game is started, a random map is generated, and currently, it only includes a forest setting. What may be worth considering is including different environments (e.g. swamplands, desert island) to add variety. A campaign/level progression mode with different environments and unlockables (e.g. units, buildings, levels) would add significantly to Tides of War.

There are various units and buildings that can be purchased and placed.

Units
Soldier—basic battle troop
Officer—enables cannon barrages
Sharpshooter—long-range shooter
Wench—captivates nearby enemies and prevents them from moving forward
Drummer—restores health
Builder—produces buildings
Cannoneer—shells enemies

Buildings (requires a builder)
Stone Wall—provides troop cover
Command Tent—provides extra resources
Flag—raises the damage inflicted on enemies
Barracks—protects nearby troops
Supply Depot—increases troop firing rates

Constructing a building is a two-step process where you must purchase a builder and then conduct a subsequent purchase of the actual building. The process just feels unnecessary and should be simpler. The game has a basic achievement system consisting of 7 awards based mostly on number of waves survived, enemies killed and building constructed. Hopefully, additional achievements are added in the future, but it’s a good start.

The game screen is pretty straightforward. On the top of the screen Waves and Kills are indicated as well as Lives remaining. In the middle is the Resources portal that shows how much you can spend. And, on the right is the Build Menu with a Hammer icon. The Build Menu is where you buy the various units and buildings. Once a unit is purchased for example, it appears at the bottom of the screen and you simply drag it to the desired location. One interesting touch is that the unit doesn’t automatically appear at the spot. Instead, the unit walks over to the location, and I think it adds to the feel of the game. Each unit has an individual health bar and is susceptible to damage by weapons fire so protecting them will be essential. As I mentioned before, when purchasing a building, a builder must be purchased first and then be placed. Then, a building is purchased and placed at the site of the builder.

Tides of War will challenge you, and the gameplay is good. Even on the Easy setting, this game requires some intricate and creative strategic thinking just to survive 25 attack waves. The AI feels balanced, and I’m keeping in mind that this is a survival mode game so obviously the difficulty will progressively ramp up This game is not a pushover, and it will keep you occupied for a while.

One of the best parts of the Tides of War is the voiceovers. As units are deployed and moved, each makes a comment such as “Right away, sir” or “Must get loaded and ready, sir” among other things. My favorite unit is the wench, and while she doesn’t comment, hearts appear as she’s cavorting with the enemy and preventing them from moving forward. As I mentioned, Tides of War offers survival gameplay so once the game is over, a statistics shows enemies killed, buildings constructed, etc.

All in all, I really like the concept of Tides of War, and the entertaining gameplay it offers. Visually, this game is one of the more unique ones I’ve played with and the foundation is solid. What the game lacks right now is depth, which I anticipate seeing in future updates.

Albie Meter: 4 stars (recommended for the challenging gameplay it offers now, and the bigger potential I see)

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