iPad Review: BATTLEHEART

The small development company Mika Mobile hits a home run with their third-ever title: Battleheart, an iPad Game of the Week. Available across the iOS platform, Battleheart retails for a paltry $2.99, a seemingly small reward for those who created such a delightful game. Mika Mobile’s two previous titles Zombieville USA and OMG Pirates, although similar in animation style, really just feel like training-grounds for Battleheart.

Battleheart begins simple enough with a “defend us from the monsters” theme, a quick tutorial with a Cleric and a Knight, both to keep, and you’re off. The plot consists of missions through three different lands, each of which contains an arena, for gaining extra equipment, a sub-boss and boss. You can bring up to four characters on each mission, but after the initial Cleric and Knight from the tutorial you must recruit other characters for a fee. There are a range of choices from fireball throwing Wizards to saber-wielding Barbarians. Mission strategy revolves around choice of characters and their deployment on the battlefield. Over time your characters will gain levels, gain skills every five levels (a choice of two each time) and obtain new equipment to wield. A successful balance between action and tactical RPG, Battlebeart redefines the elegance of simplicity.

Game Mechanics

Battleheart’s two basic modes consist of in-battle missions and a homepage, from which everything else can be managed. From this homepage you can recruit more troops, set their in-battle skills and shop for better equipment. Rather self explanatory, the homepage is easy to navigate allowing for quick stops between missions, where the real action is.

All missions are essentially just large battle that commence with your characters trotting onto a richly colored 2D backdrop. Your characters never move outside this backdrop but rather the monsters are all to enthused to come to you. With the exception of the Cleric, battle controls easy to understand- simply touch your character and draw a line on the iPad screen to move your character, or draw that line to an enemy and the your character will attack. With the Cleric draw that line to one of your allies and she will continue to heal them until commanded otherwise. This is the basic battle concept; your characters will do what they’re told until you tell them to do otherwise. A character’s special skills are available in the upper right-hand of the screen once a character is selected. All this sounds rudimentary enough, but soon your fingers will be dashing across the screen giving commands to heal, retreat, buff, or charge as fast as you can move

The lines you draw across the screen are remarkably accurate for a touch game, allowing quick, decisive commands to be delivered effortlessly. The only difficulty comes when multiple characters overlap each other. This can get tricky since its hard to tell which character you will be selecting, it’s better overall to keep your characters well spaced for easy access. Except for that one difficulty, the battle mechanics are incredibly accurate and responsive.

Game Mechanics        Score   4.5 / 5

Ambience

Game music is fun, but in heat of battle it tends to get overlooked. The graphics are bright and colorful with a playful animation style running throughout. The in-battle backdrops and enemy designs share this theme, although many of the menu options are a bit lacking. While the battle locations are varied, the map of the three lands is lacking in detail, consisting of lines connecting boxes on a yellow background.

Once past the tutorial the storyline all but evaporates. Not that much motivation was ever required to join battle against orcs and ogres and slime (Oh My!). There are too few cut scenes or dialogues to resemble a well strung plot. The homepage between missions consists of a simple touch menu with nothing to explore, nor NPCs to interact with. This is also where the action ends and the game loses its grip. If anywhere, this is when you’re most likely to set the game aside, although I bet you won’t.

Ambience                    Score   3.5 / 5

Fun Factor

As stated before, this game is light on story, as well as other traditional RPG elements. This leaves the action element and battle system to carry the entertainment value of this title, and by the way- it does. After your first few battles, you will be hooked as this game can be highly addictive.

Even though the battle dynamic hardly changes, enemies arrive from either side and you have to kill them, your strategy is constantly evolving. From characters you choose for battle, to the number and type of enemy you’re facing, the tactical piece to this action title only adds to the enjoyment.

The character designs are entertaining, egging you to choose a party that looks like fun rather than an effective one. It’s also easy to put this title down for a while and pick it up at a later time, due to the intuitive gameplay. It also has a moderate replay value, as you’ll probably want to restart your game once you get the hang of things. Not that there is anything that can’t be undone, but in the first part of the game is where resources are limited, and you can run into some tricky sections.

There’s little more to say, besides to play it yourself and get hooked.

Fun Factor                  Score   4.5 / 5

Guidance

The sixty-second in-game tutorial holds your hand through the very basics of gameplay. It is enough to see you through most of the game, although the lack of an in-game help or faq for the finer points is sorely missed. This game’s ease of use and pick-up-and-play-ability is some of the best I’ve ever seen, never mind for the iPad. There is a helpful wiki already available at http://batttleheart.wikispaces.com and is your best source for the finer details. All in all, this isn’t a huge loss and most can forego the details.

Guidance                     Score   4 / 5

Final Thoughts

Battlehearts is a must play for any RPG fan as it combines elements from enough sub genres that one is bound to find something they can enjoy. At a price of $2.99, I’d see if you can still get a refund on that three-hundred dollar PS3. It makes one wonder, if such pleasing and intuitive gameplay can be designed for a touchscreen system, and the company can still make a profit with such a low launch price, then why are we paying such ridiculous prices for big name console releases? In addition, the above mentioned wiki already lists another class- Ranger; promised for release in the next app update. If my reasons above are not enough, don’t forget this was named an iPad game of the week, on the week after its launch.

Final                            Score   4.13 / 5

Written by Andrew

GD Star Rating
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iPad Review: BATTLEHEART, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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