Royal Revolt 2
| Royal Revolt 2
Years from now, when video game historians look back on the gaming trends of today to see where developers went right and wrong, Royal Revolt 2 could well be held up as the perfect illustration of how not to approach free-to-play gaming.
On the surface, it rarely puts a foot wrong: the presentation is exceptional, with gorgeous 3D visuals, well-designed characters and incredibly detailed environments.
It's clear from the outset that hours and hours of effort have been poured into the production of Royal Revolt 2, and the fact that it is married to some surprisingly addictive gameplay only makes it more appealing.Mo' money, mo' problems
The aim is to grow your kingdom by fighting other monarchs to steal their gold, which can be used to build new structures and upgrade existing ones.
Interestingly, all of the enemies you face in the game are actually other players - you're invading their kingdoms in an intriguing take on the tower defence genre, with the key difference being that you're the one doing the attacking, rather than the other way around.
Although this is essentially a player-versus-player offering, the attacked player never has to actually do anything: all that happens is that the offensive force has to fight through the defensive arrangements of the defending monarch.
That means you also have to pay attention to creating your own selection of towers, barricades, and other obstacles in order to make sure that other players don't rob your gold.
The basic setup works well for the first half an hour or so, but you soon hit the massive brick wall that is the game's freemium mechanic.
Gold is important to success and can be gained through play, but gems are Royal Revolt 2's premium currency and are handed out at a glacial rate. Because gems are used to speed up construction, purchase new workers, and much more besides, you're constantly tempted to dip into your pocket and buy them.Money talks
In fact, Royal Revolt 2 feels like it's constructed with the express intention of forcing your hand - you become sick of waiting for your farms to produce food so you can send out a sortie, so you look to upgrade them or build more - at which point you learn that you need to upgrade a different structure before you are able to do so. And guess what? You need gems.
If you don't mind putting your iPhone down for prolonged periods and waiting for your resources to grow naturally, then you may be able to overlook Royal Revolt 2's egregous approach to freemium gaming.
However, it always feels like success in the game is bought rather than earned, and that is bound to annoy seasoned gamers who are used to employing their skill - rather than their wallet - in order to progress.