Surprisingly Addictive RPG-Lite Fun
Developer Mind Candy is best known in the UK for making the wildly popular Moshi Monsters iOS game. But the Moshi games tend to be more widely adopted by kids and casual gamers. Today marks the official launch of Mind Candy’s first attempt at pleasing the core gamer audience with World of Warriors. A charismatic and addictive RPG fighter for iOS devices, you just might find your next time-passer with this little gem.
Now before we go further, I want to make something clear about our iOS and Android review scores. I’ve stated it in the disclaimer below too, but just to make sure I’m being as transparent as possible. We consider mobile games a completely different breed than PC or console games, and as such we score them on a different curve. An 8 for an iOS game is a much different score than an 8 for an MMO on the PC, and should be treated as such.
With that out of the way, I feel I can safely say that World of Warriors is one of the best casual games with a core-gamer slant I’ve seen in ages. It’s a little light in the RPG elements it claims to have (you level heroes up and assign them runes, but that’s about it), and the dreaded “Energy” mechanic known to mobile games is present here, but I never felt pressured to spend money. Much the contrary, I felt like doing so, because the gameplay itself is simple yet addictive.
There’s a main cartoonish narrative to the game. This world of The Wildlands is under attack by the Skull Army, and it’s your job to recruit and collect 100s of historically based warriors from throughout time to fight back and defeat them. It’s not exactly Shakespeare, but the game’s not supposed to be a serious narrative, instead using the story as a way to explain your fighting and march across the game’s many levels. As you go you’ll earn several different kinds of currency which can be spent on random-chance doors that summon new warriors. The red gems let you summon from a door with a greater chance at rare and legendary heroes (think Joan of Arc) while the blue gems let you summon from the “regular door”. As you can guess, you get less red gems than blue organically through gameplay but both can be bought as part of the game’s IAP model.
I actually had enough epic, super rare, and legendary warriors to do really well in fights. Your mileage may vary, but it certainly doesn’t seem like World of Warriors is too heavy on the “you must spend money to advance” mechanic many games are known for. Instead the game seems to rely on the idea that you’ll want to collect more heroes and the best way to do this is by buying the better gems.
Fights are a bit like Pokemon, if I’m being honest. You’ll bring 1 to 3 warriors into a fight against 1-3 enemies. Each Warrior is color coded with Red, Blue, Green and Yellow, and each of these does extra damage against one of the others. So you’ll want a Red warrior attacking a Green enemy, and so forth. Each Warrior has their own special attack too, which cost mana to use. You earn mana when attacked by an enemy as you can tap floating mana (and health) icons after each time you’re attacked. Using your Warriors’ special skills is the only way to swap warriors too, so resource management is part of the game as well.
Honestly fights never felt too hard, but difficulty really depends on your ability to time the attacks properly. Standard attacks have one specific moment that gives a perfect or great attack, and this is not very hard to hit. Meanwhile special attacks require other quick-time events of different degrees, with some being harder than others. It’s clear though that World of Warriors is a casual game, not meant to challenge you so much as entertain you for a few moments at a time. This is something that the visuals, personality, and sound effects all do when combined with the simple yet effective combat mechanics.
The art direction and overall presentation of World of Warriors is superb. Reminiscent to me of the great Costume Quest cel-shaded visuals but far more fluid in animation, Mind Candy’s really showing that free games can look and sound great with this one. The menus, the map, the warriors’ unique looks… it’s all pitch perfect and would look at home on any platform.
World of Warriors is a fantastic example of a mobile game that plays to its strengths: touch controls that aren’t too complex and gameplay that takes just a few minutes at a time. We wish there was less reliance on the energy mechanic for fights, but it honestly never got in the way of our enjoyment unless we wanted to play for more than 15 minutes at a time. And being honest, that’s about what the game’s meant for. You never really have to spend money to keep playing, though we do think you’ll be better off buying red gems to get your best warriors quickly. Our main concern is how quickly can Mind Candy add levels and how long will the game keep people coming back as new areas are opened up? But for the low price of free, World of Warriors is certainly a winner on the iOS devices.
Gameplay – 8: Simple controls, simple strategy, but addictive gameplay mechanics kept us coming back to this one whenever we had a few minutes to spare.
Visuals and Sound – 10: The art and sound of World of Warriors is top notch and would be at home on consoles and PC as well. Lighthearted, vibrant, and punchy, the Warriors are all unique and the shoutcaster for fights adds emphasis to the outlandish moves you pull off.
Longevity – 6: There are a lot of levels to play through, but few really stand out. While you could spend months collecting Warriors, the game may be better suited to “checking back when updates land” after you’ve had your fill at first.
Polish – 9: Smooth framerates, great UI, and never ran into a single bug. Points off only because of a few crashes on my iPhone 6 Plus.
Value – 9: It’s a free app with the usual gem currency IAP, but I never once felt compelled to spend money in several hours spend fighting my way through the Wildlands. If there’s one complaint against World of Warriors’ monetization, it’s the energy system. It’s simply not needed and feels cheap to tack it on in the hopes players will buy more turns. Luckily it only costs 1 red gem to refill your stamina.
REVIEW DISCLAIMER: iOS and Android games are reviewed with scores directed towards the platform, as comparing them directly to more complex core PC games would be rather impossible. An 8 for an iOS game is a much different score than an 8 for an MMO on the PC, and should be treated as such. We reviewed World of Warriors with an advance copy provided by Mind Candy and 47 Public Relations. The game is available for free now on the App Store, and uses microtransactions as its revenue model. We never spent a dime, nor felt the need to, and did not get any currency from the devs either.