In a one off special, I’ll be reviewing two games in one. Why two in one? Well, basically they’re the same game. But we’ll talk about that later, for now lets talk about what the game(s) actually are. So Battle Ages is one of those mobile games you can get where you build up a base and so on to defend against other players. Basically like Age of War but if Age of War was shit and took three days to do anything.
But what is Battle Islands I hear you cry? Or pretend to, as I am mental. Well, it’s one of those mobile games you can get where you build up a base and so on to defend against other players. It’s basically like Warfare 1917 but if Warfare 1917 was shit and took three days to do anything. Now where have I heard that said before? Oh yes, the previous paragraph. It’s as if I’ve described the same game.
Yes, if it wasn’t blatantly clear these two games are nearly identical. Oddly enough they also come from the same publisher too. 505 Games. You may be familiar with their work, after all, they were behind Payday 2. If we go back a few years, long time followers of my work will know I gave that game a 4/10 for being a boring mess. These two games here are getting much the same treatment.
But if you think I’m being horrible for the sake of being horrible, rest assured, I am not. Both games are console ports from mobile platforms and both contain microtransactions. This is a growing problem in the games industry. But it’s nothing to do with this article, we’ll save microtransactions for a later date.
What I noticed straight away is that the game has actually been optimised fairly well. Controller support is working in both games, mainly because there is very little to do in the first place. You click buildings to either upgrade or harvest resources. You click other things to attack them, that’s it. Nothing intuitive, nothing of substance. Just click and things happen. Even better, instead of it happening instantly, you have to wait eight hours and by that time you’ve forgotten what you were doing.
This is the problem with porting mobile games to consoles. Games like The Simpsons: Tapped Out or Clash of Clans would simply not survive in the big world of console gaming. EA and Supercell both know this and will strictly keep themselves to mobile and handheld devices. But of course, 505 Games wanting to make a quick buck have ported this game onto consoles. It’s free for download, but the microtransactions are expensive enough that you could buy a brand new triple A game for the same price as 1000 bars of gold.
Surprisingly there is a campaign. Nothing of worth is in there other than an achievement from each game, but who wants to do that? I certainly don’t. The problem is that so many gamemodes and other bits and bobs have been tacked on to make the game this big blob of everything. This big blob of everything ironically makes it worthless.
You can make no progress without microtransactions in this game. I’m currently sitting at level seven on Battle Islands and I’m in the medieval age on Battle Ages. The only reason I’m in the medieval age on Battle Ages is because I used the premium currency to get there. Don’t worry, I got the currency for free for whatever reason.
If I haven’t proved my point yet, I should point out that the store includes both premium and free items. By this I mean that to buy the “freemium” items, you must go through the premium store to get there.
Graphically, neither are impressive. Neither are even bad graphically wise. Very cartoon like graphics do compliment the game rather well, from what you can see on the screen. Your screen is taken up by a lot of different menus and levelling systems. It’s all very overwhelming, especially when you load up the menus.
But overall there is nothing in this game. It’s an empty shell of nothing. By locking everything away behind bullshit fee to play systems, the game is nothing more than a cash cow for 505 Games. I’ve had my problems with 505 Games in the past, but this really takes the cake for scummiest developer. Remember the time they added microtransactions into Payday 2 and then removed them a month later? Well, clearly they’ve learnt their lesson about adding microtransactions to triple a games, but not mobile ports.
It baffles me that people would actually want to spend money on a game like this when there are so many better versions of the same game out there.
Now if you thought I was going to stop there you’re severely mistaken, there is so much more to go through. I’ve just explored the depths of Metacritic to find out what other people think of the game. Surprisingly, they think exactly the same as me. A pay to win scheme is not something the gaming public condones, but the industry doesn’t take into account what we few voices want.
I mentioned a campaign aspect, it’s basically a way to get more resources without attacking other players. Of course, they’re more difficult than you’d expect. It’s mainly because you have no control over your units, they go wherever they want. So you could want your units to go and attack a turret that’s slaughtering your men, only for them to start throwing grenades at a nearby engineer. This goes for both games and it’s the exact same problem.
To experiment with the game, I try and protect my island in Battle Islands, but Battle Ages has no defence. There was literally no difference. I was dominated by higher levelled players at every turn, so what’s the point if those that have paid to play are going to dominate? It promotes pay to play as much as it possibly can, and that’s why these games are the biggest piles of trash I’ve played in a long time. My great crusade against mobile ports is pretty difficult.
Mind you, I have to admit, Battle Islands is much better than Battle Ages. I don’t know why, I just prefer World War Two I guess and that’s why I tried a bit harder with that game. They’re still dreadful games.
Still, an easy bit of gamerscore if you use the free currency you’re given at the start of the game.