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Does Tiny Empire have the firepower to take on the world’s most popular mobile game in a firefight?
Price: $2.99 / £1.99
Size: 70.5 MB
Developer: Mother Gaia Studio
With Angry Birds reaching more than 200 million downloads, similar games were always going to pop up, but can this new contender fuse enough new features into the firing line to make Tiny Empire a blast to play?
Equipped with a trusty cannon you must defend the good of the kingdom from Orc hordes while avoiding showering your own troops with friendly fire. Easier said than done when they are floating around in hot air balloons showing a complete lack of tactical awareness. After being introduced to a top-down RPG map, your quest begins with a few warm-up levels all lovingly rendered in 16-bit graphics and accompanied by chipper tunes to keep your morale up.
You can place your finger anywhere on the screen for the flight of your cannonball to appear as a line and can increase or decrease the power of your shot by swiping your finger horizontally before unleashing your cannonballs on your enemy. Clear all of the orcs from the level with your limited numbers of projectiles to advance.
Completed missions are rewarded with diamonds, a currency that you can swap for upgrades. Coins are also awarded for finishing levels and go towards unlocking new sections of the map. Disappointingly, upgrades to the cannon and your troops attire are purely superficial. Your troops may look fabulous, but you are better off saving the spoils of war for the various in-game power-ups. These include the ability to add armor to your comrades out in the field to minimize friendly fire casualties with your wayward destruction.
Diamond mines in the quest map replenish after 6 hours or so, a neat addition that may drag you back for just one more try at that seemingly impossible level.
As you progress and encounter ever more devious orc foe, you are gifted with different kinds of projectile including fiery meteors and precision cannonballs. You can see the order of the cannonballs at the top of the screen which is crucial in helping you to determine which enemies to target at which point during each level. Again, the non-destructible nature of the environment means that there is likely only a few ways to complete a level so there’s not too much thinking involved. It’s all about precision.
If you get really stuck during a level you can buy advanced targeting which shows you the entire trajectory, this feature can be equipped at any point as long as you have the necessary 5 diamonds.
With all the upgrade options available it’s a wonder that the game doesn’t employ freemium tactics. Kudos to the developer though as it’s nice to play a game knowing that you will have to up your skill level rather than battling a system that was never really meant to be beat without a little help from your credit card.
There are a whopping 80 levels to explore which are unlocked in groups of 5 and offer a new challenge or tactic to master. With 3 stars available for completing each level you’ll have to ensure you achieve at least one to move on and will have to retrace your steps and improve your scores to complete the game.
- Nice graphics
- Loads of levels
- Genuinely fun gameplay
- Not groundbreaking in its own right
- Equipment upgrades feel like an afterthought