Wednesday, December 2, 2015

App Review: Raid Brigade after 20 hours

I downloaded Raid Brigade as part of an offer for free kreds from Kongregate . . . $3 worth of free kreds (which was exactly how much I needed for a game I've been playing on the site). I didn't intend to continue playing, but after checking out what it was, it held my attention long enough to warrant a review.
Raid Brigade Cover - Art of Four Heroes Fighting

The game itself is an amalgamation of Clash of Clans and Brave Frontier, with a little bit of action that feels more arbitrary and based on your levels than something that a skillful player can benefit from. I loved both of those games, but neither really hooked me. I still play Clash because all of my friends play it, and it is fun to compete and work together with them, but I stopped Brave a while ago and I won't be going back to it.

In order for all three of these games to remain free, you have to grind, hard. I don't mind a bit of grinding when I am invested in the characters (or buildings or whatever), but there's hardly any semblance of a story in Raid and you regularly sacrifice your characters to make other characters stronger, so you're not going to be getting attached to them anytime soon either. It's also hard not to feel a little ripped off when natural progression grinds to a halt (pun intended) and the only way to experience significant increase is to combine characters and items, of which you only have a finite amount, and which cost resources to combine.

You can very quickly outplay your multi-player tier to the point that every matchup is seemingly impossible, so you have to drop trophies in order to play in a tier suitable to your level, which is arbitrarily limited by resources, which are limited by time.

I liked that gold at least was easy to come by if you participate in the multiplayer raiding, but lumber became increasingly rare.

Raid is gorgeous looking on your phone though and you can really feel the lack when you go back to play Clash. It has PS2-era graphics, maybe a little less polygony, and an anime chibi appeal to the characters.

As I played, there was an arena style option where you made three teams of four to auto-fight increasingly difficult opponents; the multi-player raiding option; and a single-player series of levels (100 of them) with increasingly difficult bases to raid (and escalating tiers of difficulty for each base). You had 5 energy for each play type (taking one energy per battle with a slow restore that is typical of freemium games).

It's really not a bad little game, quite fun, and if I didn't care about money, I could understand a $10 subscription fee for the premium content, but that's TEN DOLLARS A MONTH. You could almost play World of Warcraft for that amount!

Building your own town is very reminiscent of Clash, with a little bit of old-fashioned Warcraft the-buildings-have-to-be-touching-the-road requirements. You can build different buildings, each with some defenders, some you can include hero characters as defenders, and eventually you unlock some defensive buildings. You only have one builder at a time, and the build times continue to increase, but not unreasonably so at first (you'll be quickly limited more by resources than build time).

Buggy is not an incorrect way to describe this game. I've encountered the following bugs (nearly all of these more than once, and many of them consistently):
  1. Characters in the arena going off-screen and not being able to finish the battle (thus losing once time runs out). 
  2. The game saying it is "out-of-sync" and restarting, usually around the time I'm trying to open a treasure chest. 
  3. Characters showing experience gain after an arena battle that then don't have that experience (this is near-constant). If it's supposed to be a feature that when you replay an old battle you don't gain new experience, then it shouldn't show them leveling up.
  4. The auto-battle feature resetting to normal speed while it shows it's still at an accelerated speed.
    One bug I've taken advantage of:
  5. When you click attack and then multi-player attack, it doesn't cost you anything, so you can "next" without spending any gold just by clicking an extra button in-between.
I recall a few other bugs as I've played, but when I first started I didn't think I was going to do a review. How about you guys? Have you played this game and found any other bugs? There's not even an option to contact the developers in the game, so you can't tell them about it (other than by going on the Play store and giving them a review).

I think it's debatable to be annoyed by bugs in a "free" game, but they push the money side of this game HARD. If I were to pay $10 a month to play this game on the "noble" setting, I would be feeling very ripped off. Every time you log in there is an advertisement splash screen, and there is an entire section of quests that only people that pay the $10/month fee have access to.

So all-in-all, another game that is going to take advantage of people that have addictive personalities and can't stop themselves from paying for progress. Modern day slot machines without the gambling anonymous resources (and this game especially is gambling, because many of the things you can purchase are only a "chance" for a good item or hero (and the more you pay, the more those chances go up)).

It's fun and amusing, but it's almost entirely mechanics and no story, with the forced slow-downs built-in to encourage you to pay more and more to enjoy the rapid improvement and progress from the beginning of the game. I definitely recommend downloading it for the $3 in kreds (if that deal is still going on and you are a Kongregate member), but once you get your kreds, I don't think it's worth the space on your phone or tablet. I've already deleted it from mine.

Did you take part in the free kreds offer? Was Raid Brigade worth the download on its own? What did you think? Comment below. Thanks for reading!

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