Game Reviews

Thor: Lord of Storms

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Thor: Lord of Storms

When it comes to Norse Gods, you simply cannot beat Thor. He's a no-nonsense kind of deity with a fondness for hammers and an impressive talent for harnessing the power of electrical storms.

He'd certainly be high up on our list of fictional superbeings we'd like to invite around to our house for a spot of DIY and electrical work, put it that way.

He's also the star of a new title that combines RPG action with tower defence and even adds a twist of Plants vs Zombies. Thor: Lord of Storms places you on the role of the Thunder God himself, and tasks you with marshalling the forces of good against those of evil.

Striking out from your base on the left-hand side of the battlefield, you must repel hostile troops that flood in from the right. You can get up close and personal by guiding Thor towards his foes, but unless you call on assistance you'll find that even our muscle-bound hero can be overwhelmed if the odds are not in his favour.

If I had a hammer

Summoning units consumes mana, which slowly recharges during the battle. Mana is also dropped by slain enemies, along with gold, which you can use to upgrade Thor's abilities and the abilities of his troops. To add more complexity, you can also build (and subsequently upgrade) defensive towers, which pummel your enemies during the conflict.

Thor is also lucky enough to be in possession of some pretty serious magical powers, and can use these during the fight to inflict massive damage on rival forces. These skills take time to recharge once used, but can prove decisive if utilised correctly.

Although gold is used to acquire enhanced powers, green gems are required to gain many of the more important items in the game - and predictably, they cost real-world money.

Thor: Lord of Storms is quite subtle when it comes to in-app purchases, at least at first. You're given ten gems at the start of the game and can use these to unlock an ability which allows you to take an additional soldier class into each battle.

However, unlocking the third "special power" slot takes 25 gems, essentially tempting you to spend some cash. One-use items - which give you energy bonuses or increase your strength - also cost gems. On some of the later levels, it's almost impossible to proceed unless you have these items in your arsenal.

Demanding money with menaces

In-app purchases aren't the only issue we found with Thor: Lord of Storms. The interface is somewhat cluttered, forcing you to press a toggle button to switch between troop and magic selection. Doing this in the heat of a particularly tense battle is often easier said than done, and we dearly wish the developer had come up with a more elegant solution.

It may have a few flaws, but Thor: Lord of Storms still manages to dig its claws in fairly deep. This is partly down to the addictive nature of the gameplay, which offers short battles and has that "just one more go" appeal.

However, the game's excellent visual presentation also plays a part: the high-res 2D artwork is wonderful to behold, and looks just as good in motion. The voice acting is also of a high standard, and offers many moments of mirth.

However, there's no escaping the fact that extracting maximum enjoyment out of Thor: Lord of Storms is reliant on spending real cash on gems - the game is effectively unbalanced by IAPs. If you're not prepared to reach for your credit card, then there's a very real danger that the spark of interest will die out before you progress too far through the game's campaign.

Thor: Lord of Storms

Excellent presentation and compelling gameplay fall foul of devious in-app purchasing mechanics once again
Damien  McFerran
Damien McFerran
Damien's mum hoped he would grow out of playing silly video games and gain respectable employment. Perhaps become a teacher or a scientist, that kind of thing. Needless to say she now weeps openly whenever anyone asks how her son's getting on these days.