InnoGames is a MMO game specialist that hosts popular online titles such as Grepolis and Forge of Empires. They have recently brought a new version of their browser-based MMO game Tribal Wars to iOS and Android. The iOS version now works on all iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices that have iOS 4.3 or newer, and it's optimized to run sharply on the new iPhone 5. A medieval based strategy game, Tribal Wars lets you build your own kingdom starting with a small medieval village and follow an upgrade path to build 15 kinds of buildings, recruit an army and defend your village or plunder others. The game has the basic elements of a good MMO game though it starts out incredibly slowly.
The gameplay in Tribal War follows the popular formula of Massive Multiple Online strategy games: you build a village with different production buildings, then you build military buildings to recruit and keep an army. There aren't many supporting building, a warehouse, a market, a hiding place and a statue to hire military leaders such paladins, and in later worlds, a church. You can upgrade the buildings to 20 levels, and certain buildings require other buildings to get up to certain level before you can construct or upgrade them. There isn't a tech tree for the building upgrades per se, but before each upgrade or construction, the game gives you a hint on the requirement of other buildings. You'll need to have enough resources such as timber, iron, clay and villagers to buy these upgrades. The higher levels these production buildings are the faster they produce the resources. This means you want to upgrade these buildings as early as possible, but it also means the game has a very slow start when every building is on the low levels.
Tribal Wars does offer some "tasks" and when you complete them, you get rewards often in forms of resources or sometimes flags which provides you with extra benefits such as faster production speed, higher defense ratings for your village, etc. These resource boosts help speed up the gameplay a little bit, but not enough to get you to the point where your village runs sufficiently to keep you busy. So the gameplay is set up for those who have a few minutes to kill and assign a few upgrades, then come back a couple of hours later and assign more. It doesn't help that the game doesn't offer a "grace period", so when you're still defenseless since you haven't built up the military building in the beginning, your nice neighbors can bring their huge army and attack your village and take your resources away. So now it's more waiting for the resources to accumulate.
One thing you can do to quickly remedy this is to join a tribe. Like many MMO games today, Tribal Wars follows the wisdom of "we're stronger together". So if someone from neighboring villages attacking you because they're more advanced with a large tribe behind them, the best course of action is joining in on that tribe and your attackers suddenly turn into your friends. There are many worlds already in Tribal Wars on iOS, and the game is set up to encourage you to wage wars on your neighbors. There are some barbarian camps you can raid which is nice since you won't upset your neighbors and suffer retaliation of their tribes, but many players do attack other player's villages as that provides chances of gaining more resources and special weapons for your paladins. So your village won't stay quiet for long.
Graphics & Sound
Tribal Wars plays in a top down 3D graphics with animations of village or militia members performing their tasks. The graphics look clear and building designs fit the period. As you upgrade the buildings and walls, they change into bigger and more imposing looking structures with your upgrade. The animation breaks the still scene providing some interesting visual. The game offers polished UI that's mostly easy to understand and easy to use.
Surprisingly there's no sound in Tribal Wars; that means no background music, no special effects and no voice over. You'll build your village, form alliances and wage wars in silence!
While it's not as sophisticated as some MMO strategy titles we've seen on iOS and Android such as Castlecraft or kingdom Conquest, Tribal Wars offers casual gamers the ability to pick up the game and play for a few moments and come back to it later in the day or the next day without worrying too much about lagging behind. It's easy to play and it doesn't rush you too much in the beginning. The game pace is slow to start, though the new world just opened offers more speedy options, and it gives you plenty of opportunity to spend real money via IAP to get ahead. The resource producing, the fighting, the alliances and warring nations are all there to make it an interesting MMO game. The graphics is nice and sufficient, but startlingly the game offers no audio. If you're a strategy game fan it's worth checking it out for free.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -4- Top down 3D view of your village, nice UI and menu screens. Sound: -N/A- There isn't any audio. Controls: -4.5- Responsive and intuitive. Gameplay: -4- Gameplay pace is on the slow side. You often need to wait for resources to ramp up, unless you want to spend lots of real money.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Focus on building and upgrading your village first, but don't forget to build the troops when you can. Your neighbors will attack you. Be social, join a tribe.