I had a very quick go on Raids of Glory at Pocket Gamer Connects this past week, and from what I played of this strategy management title from Nitro Games and Chillingo, I was quite impressed.
It certainly seemed like the developer wanted to move the genre forward with its talk of a focus on strategy.
But it takes time to analyse a game in this genre, so I thought I'd take a whole week to play as much of Raids of Glory as I possibly could, and then deliver you the definitive verdict here on Pocket Gamer.
Sound good? GOOD.
Now that Raids of Glory has gone global, and I've had a bit of time to sit down and fiddle about with it, I must say that I'm quite disappointed.
For one thing the game's opening hours are exactly the same as any other strategy management game you've played in the last two years.
Things will hopefully change in the days ahead as I get deeper in, but it's pretty yawnsome being taught for the hundredth time about the resource for upgrading buildings, the resource for purchasing military units, the HQ building you upgrade to access more complicated buildings, and so on.
It's early days, but lots of the game still feels awkward, stilted, and a bit buggy too - exactly the things you'd expect a soft-launch to nip in the bud.
Load times are a bit lengthy, and occasionally Raids of Glory coughs and splutters when it's opening a menu. Interstitial ads slow things down even further.
It's the bugs that worry me the most though. Occasionally you'll attack an enemy unit, and that unit simply won't register that you're causing it damage, effectively making it invincible.
I've also got to the point where I don't think I can construct any more buildings. When I try to do so the new building is lost within the old ones and I can't access it to move it to an empty location.
A shaky start then, and one I hope is rectified over the next few days of play.
Day 3: Yo-ho!
From neat UI design nods where you press "Aye" instead of "Okay", to the seagulls that drift lazily overhead, and the chunky buildings inhabiting the lush and colourful landscape, Raids of Glory is a looker.
I'm running the game on an iPad 4, and even without the extra graphical loveliness that comes with Metal, it's a handsome piece of work.
After a few days of play I've also managed to get around the building placement issue I had earlier by tapping the arrows underneath the buildings as I'm trying to place them in the world. Obviously that's still not ideal.
I'm also beginning to lose patience with not knowing which buildings I can afford to upgrade. Many buildings have a green arrow next to them, suggesting I can improve them, but I don't seem to be able to do that with my current funds.
This begs the question - why is the arrow there in the first place? In Boom Beach it's included to give you a quick visual motif that indicates "yes, you can make this thing here better", but not so in Raids of Glory.
Come to think of it, there are several additions to the strategy management genre formula from other games that simply aren't here either.
You can't automatically start training defeated units lost in battle like in Tiny Realms, there's no sense of the adventure or exploration of a Plunder Pirates's single player, and the competitive elements aren't highlighted in the same way as they are in Samurai Siege.
Still it's not all doom and gloom. I've now repaired the Lighthouse, which has allowed me to log into Facebook (great?), compete against other players, and set up the official Pocket Gamer clan - just search for Pocket Gamer, and you'll find it.
Day 7: Scurvy
Raids of Glory makes some strides towards improving combat in the strategy management genre, but it takes some serious steps backwards in that department too.
Let's focus on the positives to begin with. Each unit has different properties that make them suited to handling certain tasks. For example, you don't want to send standard troops to tackle a tower, you should get pirates with pistols to handle that instead.
The Mad Alchemist offers potions to even the chances of victory on the battlefield, a selection of Leaders with special skills can be recruited and improved in the hope of guiding your military to victory, and you can mix and match troop types when forming squads so that multiple types of soldiers form a complete unit.
However, the game wants you to actively participate in battles, but it does so at the expense of its AI. Your pirates are duller than dock water, and will walk past placements that are hurting them to attack a totally harmless building instead, even if that aggressive placement is closer and far more of a threat to their existence.
Occasionally an enemy unit will attack yours, and your dudes will just stand there getting merc'd, not fighting back.
So you need to babysit your units at all times and ensure they're attacking very specific targets, and ensure you return to them repeatedly to double-check their weak path-finding hasn't taken them the long way round.
Then there's the matchmaking. I couldn't take part in tournaments - I have no idea why, perhaps I couldn't progress far enough in a week with the single builder I was provided - but when I tried attacking other players I was paired with through matchmaking I would often be told that they were immune from being invaded.
You read that right - the game would suggest players for me to attack, then tell me I couldn't attack them. So why oh why oh why oh why oh why OH WHY was I told I should attack them in the first place?
Finally let's come to the elephant in the room. Have you noticed how I haven't mentioned Clash of Clans once in this review? It's because the genre is far beyond that game now, and it's not enough to just make a version of Supercell's hit, spruce up the visuals, and hope that it's a phenomenon.
There are loads of games that have embraced the strategy management genre now and are moving it forward in significant ways. Raids of Glory isn't one of them.
And though occasionally you see something potentially very exciting in here, it's squandered by sloppy execution and some very basic failings.How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below. Click here to learn about our free-to-play review policy.