Review of Battle Shock
Battle shock is yet another take on the Tower Defense Games. But unlike so many others it brings something fresh to the table, and so is certainly worth looking at.
You are a young wizard in charge of defending a Midieval town. The town wall is at the bottom, and enemies pour in from the top and sides. In this regard it is like Stick Wars, or Knights Onrush. However, rather than flicking enemies into the air, you are armed with Magic!
Opening Presentation - Menus and instructions are presented in Old English Script in keeping with the theme. The opening menu has the title with options of Play, High Scores, Options, and Help. There is a very cool electric type orb that is also your main weapon as the letter "O" in Battle Shock. The High Scores option is just that. Options allows you to set Music and Sound Effects volume (thank you for that, so many apps don't have these, and they should be standard). Also you can enable Hints - these will pop up as you begin to play, or as new things are occuring in your campaign. You can also choose to turn on or off the health bars. The Help option has screens that you can read through to learn a bit about how to work the weapons and the upgrade system.
So lets get onto the meat of the game. Selecting play takes you to the main field. Your enemies initially are few, weak, and come slowly so you can learn to use your powers. When you touch the screen a plasma ball appears, and you "flick" the plasma ball toward the enemies. If your aim is poor, you miss. However, you can be right next to them, so missing is not really a problem. But, it is sort of cool to snipe people in the initial waves (you won't have time later on). Some small points just to illustrate the polish present - how fast you flick your finger reflects how fast the plasma ball goes. This could have been done to just have a set speed, but this was done purposefully, and is very nice. Also, there are few rocks and trees scattered about, and just like in real life - you can't damage enemies if you hit these obstacles and they are behind them.
They are not just for show. Of course, you can get behind them with your finger, and flick downwards to take them out.
IMPORTANT - you can flick your plasma balls from anywhere on the game screen - forwards, backwards towards the castle, sideways, from the top, bottom - anywhere!
Killing enemies nets you gold that you can use to buy things. At the bottom of the screen, you will see a pause symbol which you can press anytime. Doing this takes you to the upgrade and purchase screen. You can upgrade your Plasma Ball to be more powerful (it will split upon hitting an enemiy and then track down nearby foes). Purchase / upgrade a shockwave weapon. This one is very nicely done - press and hold your finger where you want it, and you will see a blue ring, which then collapses on itself, then BOOM - everything around it gets toasted! Upgrading this increases the size of the circle, and the power.
You can purchase a spell to electrify and toast the enmies actually at the wall. This however is done at a cost of also damaging the wall. Lastly you can purcase more magic. Although your magic is constantly regenerating, when you are casting like mad, you can have your magic go down to 0, and you have to wait a second to get some build up. Also the more powerful spells like Shockwave won't work with low magic energy. Very well thought out system. Of course, with the excellent graphics, and how well everything works together - I am hopeful even more spells will be added. In my game lasting over 2 hours, I beat it to level 100, and am starting over - most time is really spent flicking plasma balls, and shockwave. I used the Last Resort once. So, 2 spells do get a bit repetitive, although the experience was certainly a fun one.
Additionally, you have options to purchase Archers (3 types with different ranges and strengths) to defend the walls. This is done with a cost of getting less money for kills. I never really had a problem with money, although there were a few times that I was stretched. Again, attention to detail - your archers have their own hit points - they get hit by enemy
archers, and catapults, etc. and can die and have to be replaced, so you are constantly having to look over your defensive stratagies.
Lastly, you can repair the castle. Higher levels of repair are more expensive. Having the ability to go to the upgrade screen at any time lets you get down to the red zone of death, and then voila - walls made good as new. I think for hardcore players this might need to be tweaked as you literally can save yourself from death, and have full regeneration if you save some money for repairs.
There are 9 or 10 different enemies, and they are very nicely rendered. Waves get progressively harder and harder as one would expect. There are lulls though where after particularly large numbers of everything being thrown at you, there are a couple of waves with many fewer enemies. I actually liked this to have a little break. Again, hardcore TD fans might want to just continue the ramp up.
Sounds are satisfying with various screams occuring when enemies are dying. The graphics show the people turn to bones, and sort of then wisp away. Very nice effects. The music is much like you would expect - like a soundtrack out of King Arthur movie or the like. It does repeat, but did not seem so short to me as to be annoying.
I do not know if there is ability to upload scores. I know that I am at 162K and have started back at the beginning, and I don't show up in the high score table. I am assuming that I have to lose before that happens. When you start back at the beginning, you have all your upgrades, but it seems that the enemies start at the game level 1, and so theoretically, you would never lose. This will need to be corrected in a future build of either having continuously more enemires (more than 100 levels), or have the levels start over, but with greatly ramped up enemy strength (and then the need to further upgrade your weapons).
There is a pause and resume function - again, something that should be standard, but is frequently not.
Pros - great attention to detail
- Nicely developed upgrade / purchasing system
- Different mechanics on taking out enemies
- use of environment for enemies to shield themselves
- gorgeous graphics
- ability to upgrade at anytime
- pause and resume
Cons - - No bosses - this game screams for some cool boss types - a "Black Knight" perhaps, or maybe a dragon or 2? Perhaps enemy wizards that can either cast damaging spells, or shield their troops? Lots of possibilities here.
- More spells - there is some repeatability that gets old
- With your use of the environment - possibly having different maps with more terrain that shield enemies would be a way to continue the game, and still keep it fresh.
- The Gold you have earned is not obvious - Color change to gold icon rather than bronze would be helpful. Hard to distinguish between score, and gold earned. (picky point)
Overall a worthy addition to the genre. Despite the cons that I have written, this was a very polished and fun game. Like the match 3 type games, even though there is repeatability; the excellent presentation, and sheer fun make it a game that I will enjoy starting over and over to replay. I like it much better than Stick Wars, and is probably on par with Knights Onrush, although with less frustration (I can't even come close to beating KO). Very nicely done.
After owning for several weeks new versions have come out, and at least for me the difficulty has been ramped up. I am pretty consistently only getting to around level 50 or so, and so the game has much more "freshness" to it. I believe that the developer is working on continuing to increase difficulty, and some other options as well. Continues to stay on my iPhone, and I continue to find the game enjoyable. Highly recommended!
Last edited by pluto6; 07-20-2009 at 09:23 PM.. Reason: Different Version, minor other changes.