Sunday, 5 December 2010

Review: Battle Dex

Welcome to the battlefield!

Battledex reminds me a lot of older turn based games I played, like Battle Isle and the likes. Ah, such fond memories...

However it does have it's own slant on the genre in more ways than one!

Firstly turn based is how you play but not how the game exactly works. Basically you give orders for a "turn" but each unit performs a number of different actions during a turn. Once you've clicked that End Turn button every tank, man and flying machine plods towards their goal, shooting and being shot at the same time. It's almost a mix between Turn Based and Real Time Strategy games!

The order of these events can be a bit confusing, I'm not sure if it's made random or if there's some kind of proper sequence it follows but either way it makes you sit on the edge of your seat willing your tank to fire now because that enemy unit is almost dead...just another hit...go on!

It's not a bad system but it does take a bit of getting used to.

The other difference to many games in this sector is the card system. They act a little like spells which is peculiar in a war game. The whole reason the game is called BattleDex is because you build up your deck of cards over time and can pick 10 for a battle. Once used in a battle a card cannot be used until the next game, this makes choosing the right moment to play a card very important.

Playing nearly any card uses up Gold, which is the same resource as used to create units from your base. Again I was a little frustrated with this because it felt like there should have been some kind of Mana resource for these instead - or maybe they could have used control points...or something. It seemed strange that the advantage of using a special card could offset your ability to build additional units that turn.

The cards are extremely useful though, such as providing an infantry unit with near-invisibility (unless an enemy is immediately next to that unit) or transporting units from one end of the battlefield to another or even creating fresh units ready to fight for a cheaper price. It's obvious that smart use of cards (and a good deck to start with) can swing a battle in your favour in a big way.

The AI is pretty clever though, it's certainly not a walkover and I felt quite challenged at times, especially when fighting on several different fronts. There are quite a few missions to play against the computer but what BattleDex is more about is fighting against other people! Okay I don't enjoy going up against real people when it comes to strategy because I'm rubbish. I only played against my brother once with this because I knew I could win if it was his first game!

That sounds cruel but he usually kicks my arse.

So after that we had a good go at one of the co-opperative levels and that was really, really difficult. You really have to co-ordinate your forces like no other game I can remember playing. We lost over 3 times and haven't played since, but it feels achievable and one day we'll crack it.

And the reason I was able to play with my cheap-ass brother (its ok, he never reads this blog) is because BattleDex is free to play! The funding model is done via the selling of special cards and entering tournaments.

Oh yeah the tournaments, they appear to be pretty huge with pretty huge prizes of thousands of dollars. I've not attempted to enter any of these, because I have no confidence in my ability to win battles, however if you find you're any good at this it might be worth a go!

For a free game with all of this content it's well worth a try. It's simple to pick up with enough complexity to keep strategy fans occupied for some time.

You can get battledex from the official site:

[Score 74 out of 100]

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