| Battle Command!
It must be stressful and complicated running a military base. Yet we seem determined to engage in this activity on our mobile devices.
Clash of Clans, Friendly Fire!, Samurai Siege, and others all offer the opportunity to create a base, defend it from an enemy, and build an army to defeat opponents.
Does Battle Command! offer anything new to this niche within the strategy genre? Let's find out together.First impressions
Battle Command! starts you out with a plot of land and some resources with which to build wartime facilities. You buy an Oil Drill and a Steel Mill, as well as an Oil Storage and Steel Storage buildings to house the materials that are slowly produced on your base.
You also build defences. You can slap a gun turret together to defend yourself, should you be attacked, or you can go on the offensive yourself, training troops at the Barracks and gathering them at the Staging Area before assaulting enemy forces.
Then you set about constructing more buildings. Only sometimes you'll run out of resources, meaning you'll have to wait for them to be created, and sometimes you'll have to wait for your Engineer to finish its previous job before constructing a new building.
I bought a new Engineer with the premium currency of Crystals to bring my total up to two.
All of the above is a needlessly wordy way of saying: Spacetime Studios has re-made Clash of Clans, and given it a slightly different lick of paint.
Perhaps that's unfair. I'm yet to try out the battling or social elements, so maybe those bits are a revelation.
I'll report back in a few days and let you know.Day 3: Young man
There are a few really smart bits of design in Battle Command!'s multiplayer.
Once you've joined or created a clan - such as the mighty 'YMCA', of which I am a member - you can chat in private with your pals and start hatching plans for world domination. There's global chat, too, but from what I can see, it's hardly used. Once in a clan you may also want to donate troops, just like other games in the strategy-management genre.
But what I like the most about this aspect of Battle Command! is that you can also give your allies temporary boosts to the amount of materials they will produce, and diminish the timers governing how quickly a building will be constructed. There's no immediate reward for doing this, other than helping out your fellow clan members, but it does foster co-operation between players.
It's quick and easy to give out this helping hand, too, mostly thanks to zippy load times throughout the game. To boost Oil production, for example, you simply visit an ally and tap the icon floating above the Oil Drill.
The character design is slightly exaggerated and cartoonish, lending it a StarCraft quality. I like that, and I like the industrial rock soundtrack, too - it certainly fits well with the war economy aesthetic Battle Command! strives for.
I'm definitely caught up in the pleasing loop of building, upgrading, and battling, but already I can feel its appeal diminishing. Hopefully, I'll discover more to keep me engaged in Battle Command!'s baseline gameplay over the next few - and final - days of play.Day 7: Pick yourself off the ground
Perhaps the two areas in which Battle Command! is distinguishable from others in the genre are its difficulty and slightly increased tactical depth. This game's battles are hard, hard, hard.
You expend units once you commit them to the battlefield, which reduces your numbers quickly. And each encounter - whether with a human or AI opponent - ends with your being given a rating out of three stars depending on how thoroughly you vanquished the enemy.
The single-player campaign seems much shorter than those in other strategy-management titles, with the focus here very much on multiplayer. You can enter PvP matches or participate in War Games, the latter of which is a practice mode and doesn't result in your losing troops.
The difficulty of this game arises from the number of troops and vehicle types available, and the specific nature with which you must use them. You can't create lots of low-level troops, such as Infantry, and expect them to do well against a heavily armoured ATX.
Within just a few missions, unit types that are far beyond your own capabilities are introduced, forcing you into the multiplayer modes for battles. If you do want to complete the main campaign, you'll need one heck of a home base producing lots of resources and many different troop types.
If you've tired of Clash of Clans and are looking for a greater challenge to sink your teeth into, then Battle Command! might well be for you.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.