Stragea offers more than your typical tower defense game

Posted: May 29, 2009 in Tower Defense

Many of us have a great many tower and real-time strategy games, and based on previews, one of the more promising ones is Stragea. After playing through it and learning the controls and mechanics, the game offers a solid foundation that I think many will enjoy. The game does have a few rough spots, but beyond that, Stragea should meet the needs of strategy fans.

First off, I’m pretty satisfied with the 3D graphics, animation and epic soundtrack in Stragea. They combine to effectively deliver that battlefield experience, and from the structures to the surrounding environment, I don’t think you can ask for more from a game of this type. There are two issues: one problem is that you don’t ever have a full view of the entire battlefield which can be problematic especially when several skirmishes are occurring at the same time. While you can touch and drag to other areas, it can be somewhat difficult with everything that is crammed into the screen. The other is the real estate itself, which can be fairly limited. The edges of each battlefield are straight lines, and beyond those boundaries is darkness. This is not a deal breaker by any means, but worth pointing out.

Stragea is game where the focus is on defending your base and winning battles and not about managing resources. As the Archon of the Red Cloth, you must defend against two other factions: the Blue Vain and the Yellow Wood Clans, and along the way, the occasional dragon.

Two things to keep in mind throughout the game are:
1) You control the Archon, the builder unit, and he must be protected. Without the Archon, the game is over since you won’t be able to build anymore units.

2) The first thing to build is the Crystal Mine since this will be the primary source of funding for your army and structures. Once the mine is up and running, it becomes an automatic money machine, and you will need to protect it.

If either of these are captured or destroyed, it’s game over. But you have a good variety of different towers, weapons, armor, structures and troops to help you along. I really like how the devs have built this out, and you won’t get bored on this front.

Stragea has two gameplay modes: Campaign and Battle. Campaign must be completed to unlock Battle. In Campaign, the game offers three levels of difficulty: easy, medium and hard with 8 missions (Battle has three selectable maps—Goreth, Rendale and Rohan—with fog visibility settings):

Base Camp
Blades a Foot
Armored Arrows
Siege the Day
Rolling Thunder
Time Lock
Wings of Fire
Battle of Rohan

At the beginning of each mission, objectives and a piece of the storyline are provided. Of note, there is also a crystal counter that appears in the upper right corner showing what funds are available as well as a mini map in the upper left corner. To enlarge the mini map, tap on it, and you can scroll/drag through it.

The controls take a little getting used but they’re not difficult to learn. In fact, once I played this a while, they make perfect sense. The Archon has two main controls: Move (Arrow) and Build (Hatchet), and he also has a life bar. Tap the Archon to bring up the controls, and he even responds with some voiceover to confirm. Once you decide to build something, a series of different structures appear down the left and right sides of the screen. After a selection is made, a grid appears on the battlefield showing where the structure can be placed, and tap to place. With other structures involving troops, you have to build for example barracks first and then build up the troops in which a sublist appears providing stats in terms of speed, agility and hits for the different types of available troops. It is a fairly intuitive process and something you get used to after some practice.

The gameplay can be frantic as you build armies and battle troops all while protecting the Archon and the Crystal Mine. Even on Easy, Stragea is challenging, but quite entertaining as you watch troops battle and weapons inflict their damage. It can be an immersive experience, which is why I hope the dark areas beyond the boundaries are addressed. I’ve seen this in other games, but it really isn’t the most ideal. The game offers good variety when it comes to the battles although I would like to see different environments added in future updates.

Overall, Stragea is an entertaining game that will keep your attention and get your mind strategic mind working. I think if you’re looking for a new challenge or an addition to your RTS library, Stragea won’t disappoint.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (recommended for people who like tower defense/turn-based/real-time strategy games with a little more oomph)


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