Great iPhone Games: Warhammer Quest, ORC, StarCommand, Agricola, & Tiny Heroes

There was a stint there for a while where I wasn’t blogging much, or even playing 40k/board games.  Mostly, this was due to real life taking priority, but I was able to keep my sanity by playing various little games on my iphone.  The one that I play the most is still Dominion, which I wrote about earlier, but I’ve downloaded/purchased a few more and figured I’d pass along my thoughts on them, in case anyone was interested.

ORC: Vengeance  ($2.99)

I have to apologize.  I downloaded this one at the end of last year because it was in the top games of 2012 (a category that shows up in the iTunes store at the end of the year) and it was free at the time, so why not?  I played it through completely at the time and have never gone back to it, still, it was great fun.

It’s been so long since I’ve played this (and really most of these games) that I can’t give a quality detailed review, but what I can say is that it’s sort of a “pay-to-win” model of game.  I got it for free, and then you can spend money for additional in-app purchases to buy gold, which allows you to get uber items.  In my experience, those items aren’t really better than the items that you eventually get in the game—so they’re definitely not worth investing in.

The game itself plays very much like Diablo—except without the skill trees.  It’s got great feel, character, decent plot (I wasn’t into it all that much) and some nifty bad guys.  It seemed relatively easy overall (unless you go the sewers—which are borderline insanity), and was definitely worth the $0 investment.  I’m sure I played the total game in the span of about 4-5 hours, so even $3 seems worth it.

Warhammer Quest ($4.99)

WQ-headerIf you play GW games, you’re probably already aware of this.  I loved it when it came out originally as a board game, and it seemed a no-brainer when it was re-released.  It’s a great adaptation of the original (although with significantly fewer characters and less monsters than were originally available), but it’s still great.  I played the game through entirely and maxed out the level of almost all of my characters (which is level 6, by the way).

Interestingly, I fell into the same pitfalls as I did when I played the original game.  The first time around, I bought the pit-fighter (not available in the digital edition), and he turned out to be crazy over-powered.  This was because he came with a potion of healing that was basically endless, and in that game healing was undoubtedly the most powerful part of the game (plus he could move as he attacked with was pretty ridiculous as well).  In this game, I remembered immediately that healing was powerful, so before I even started, I purchased the Warrior Priest character (downloadable content) as well–only to find out that he has no healing spells.

Some priest, eh?

What he did have, is a ring that randomly heals (or sometimes hurts) nearby party members.  So, despite his inability to heal, he did prove to be amazingly helpful at um… healing.

The irony is that when I played the original board game all those years ago, the second character I went and picked up was the Warrior Priest.  In retrospect, I seem to remember being miffed that he was unable to heal people in that edition as well, but then equally amazed at how efficient his ring really was.

Anywho, in my experience of the game, the Maurader is definitely the beast of the group.  The Dwarf is super hard to kill (but not very effective), and the Priest is required (At least initially).  I didn’t have a whole lot of luck with the Grey Mage, but then again, he’s the person I kicked out of the party to include the Priest originally, so he’s much lower level than everyone else.

Anywho, I think the game is definitely worth $5, as it gave plenty of hours of entertainment.  After you complete the first section of the game, there is an additional skaven-based content segment, but I didn’t buy it.  I wasn’t sure how much further it would allow me to progress (I guessed it wouldn’t increase the level cap), so I looked at the cost of it vs. the base game (it was also $5) and didn’t think it was a reasonable charge.  Though, if someone knows better than me, please let me know.

StarCommand  ($2.99)

StarCommandI’m pretty sure this purchase came as the result of a recommendation of Russ from the D6 Generation.  I believe he likened it to the old X-COM series, but that may be inaccurate—I know he recommended another with that line of thinking that I tried to run, but my poor little 3GS couldn’t handle it.  Anywho, this game is sort of a throw-back to the games I played as a young lad.

What I’m saying is the layout is very basic, static, progressive and the graphics are classic (ie. Bad).  I still really enjoyed playing through the game (I did so twice).  The advice I can remember includes:

  • When firing on enemy ships, there are no instructions, which lead to me doing a whole lot of nothing for quite a while during the first battle of the game.  In that screen you’ll see the enemy ship with a dot rotating around it.  You need to click the screen when that dot passes through the little circles on the outside.  That’s true of two of the guns—the last one seemed a little more intuitive in that you are lining up crosshairs on it.
  • Healing is quite good
  • Stay away from the edges of the ship during a battle when the hull is breached, or you’ll get sucked out into space.
  • Grenades aren’t worth the time.
  • After each battle you have time to heal/repair the ship/restock tokens.  It’s recommended that you do so before completing each mission.

Again, another app I paid for, and I’m happy I did.  If you like retro style games, this is probably a fine buy—although I’m sure you can get a ton of retro games for free elsewhere…

Agricola ($6.99)

agricola-boardI bought this one also based upon a D6G recommendation, though not from Russ (who seems to loathe this game with every fiber of his being).  Raef, however, lists it as the best game ever.  Though I typically seem to agree with Russ’ game picks, Raef tends to have a personality much more akin to mine.  To further pique my curiosity, Board Game Geek used to have this rated as the top game ever.  Could Ross really be that wrong?  Honestly, I wasn’t going to pay the $70 to buy the board game and find out.

But then, they launched it as an IOS game.  Despite the rather high price tag for an IOS game, it’s still a far cry from the MSRP on the board game (and it seems to include multiple expansions for free), so I jumped in.

There are five sequential tutorials to go through before you start.  I’m ok with tutorials, but this was overly long, and I found myself clicking through it faster than I probably should: Next, Next, Next…  By the time I actually finished those tutorials, I felt that I had a reasonable grasp on it.

Boy, was I wrong.

The options in the actual game didn’t match up exactly with the tutorial, and I wound up starving my family several years in a row.  It got so bad, that I went back and watched through the tutorials again to see how this game could be so hard.  I wasn’t happy with the game at all, but I’d paid a whopping $7, so I was going to actually play it through at least once and not have starved anyone.  After playing it through 5-6 times, the game got easier (and, as a result, less frustrating).  By game 7 or 8, I actually found it rather fun.

I haven’t played it all too much since (I probably have a couple of dozen games under my belt in the six months that I’ve owned it), but it’s not bad.  The problem is that, despite actually liking the game, I don’t see the point: I won’t be able to convince others to play it.  I can’t imagine too many people will be enamored with my recommendation: I know it sucks for the first 5-6 games, but trust me, after that, it’ll start to become fun!

My advice: steer clear.

Tiny Heroes (Free)

tinyheroesThe last of the D6G recommendations, this is a cartoony defense game where various heroes are raiding your dungeon for treasures, and you have to put a series of traps & monsters in their way to prevent them from doing so.  In total, there are about 20 levels that you can go through, and about as many options for traps/monsters.

The levels do get progressively harder (including addition of more severe heroes to thwart you), and the traps get better(ish).  I wish there was more balance within the traps, as some of them seem to be clearly superior to all of the other choices, so I found myself using them all of the time.

After beating the levels, you can go back and try them all again to see if you can get perfect scores (ie. 3 stars), or you can purchase additional levels to play.  I found myself doing much of the former, but none of the latter.  I did get hung up on a couple of levels where I was only able to collect two stars, and eventually stopped playing it entirely.

Still it’s a great investment at $0.

Anywho, those are the games that I wound up playing this year.  Hopefully someone takes something constructive out of this review.


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