I went hands-on with Tiny Realms way back in July, when the game was soft launched.
I definitely thought it was kind of cool, but it also felt very much like a take on Clash of Clans, with the UI being particularly "inspired" by Supercell's mobile strategy classic.
The game has now gone global, so I thought it high time to revisit it and bring you a full review here on Pocket Gamer. Which is exactly what Review editor Harry wanted too. Which was a nice coincidence.First impressions
Well, Tiny Realms still plays a lot like Clash of Clans, but thanks to some small tweaks to the visuals it's now a lot less "me too" in its design.
This is a strategy management game, so you know what you're in for from the off. And Tiny Realms doesn't disappoint.
I've spent my first day with the game creating resource buildings to mine the two soft currencies, setting up cannons to ward off potential attackers, and making walls that will eventually surround the vital bits of my base.
Troops are being mustered constantly so that I can attack the bases of other players, or attempt to stride across the lands of the single player campaign.
This is all viewed from an isometric perspective, each build action requiring a certain amount of time to complete (unless you want to spend hard currency to speed things up).
Hopefully I'll see some more nuances in the next few days.Day 3: In which nuances are seen
Tiny Realms has introduced a few great ideas into the mix that have got me really excited to continue playing. Most of them revolve around an aspect of strategy management games I rarely enjoy - battling.
Preparing for war begins with training troops, as you'd expect. But rather than just one Barracks, you can create several. Each Barracks holds a Warband, which can consist of lots of different troop types, but is fielded as a whole in battle.
So when things do move to the battlefield, a troop may consist of heavy units with great stopping power as well as smaller cannon fodder, plus specialist units.
This has got me thinking about whether I can create nigh-on unstoppable force by combining the right sets of troops to deal with any situation.
Battles themselves play out quite familiarly: you choose an opponent, there's a short timer, you're ranked out of three stars. However you can direct the attention of your Warbands to specific parts of the map once you've deployed them.
And you don't lose all troops after a battle automatically regardless of whether you win or lose. Instead you keep any survivors, and can heal them too.
Outside of battles, any soldiers stationed at the Citadel will also defend your home from aggressors, which again adds an extra layer of strategic thinking to the war games.Day 7: Attacking on all fronts
Okay I'm really impressed with Tiny Realms at the end of my week with it.
I still prefer to build rather than destroy - I think that's just in my nature - so I've definitely focused most of my attention on creating a cool base. And it is a very cool base now.
There's a great big thick wall running around its perimeter, there are loads of Training Halls with troops that mill about outside, and there's a Magic Academy where I'm cooking up Spells to give me the edge in battle.
But I've done more battling in Tiny Realms than I usually do in strategy management games because, quite frankly, it's the closest the genre has come to being a traditional strategy video game.
Controlling each unit individually is a real boon, and the Battlegrounds mode - in which you club together with other players to try to take over a map, is going to keep people playing for ages.
Likewise Tiny Realms often lets you know that such-and-such a player is about to overtake you in the leaderboards, and this encourages you to attack them, knock them down a peg, and improve your standing.
But it's the time saving stuff that really made me say "ooooh that's smart" to no one in particular. At the end of a battle you can heal troops that are injured, but you can also replace ones that die simply by tapping a button on the results page. Genius.
I'm a little disappointed by the visuals, though. It's a downgrade when you've been playing stuff like Plunder Pirates. It's not a bad looking game by any means, but there are more spectacular ones available, and the load times are slightly too long as well.
But other than these small gripes this is some next level strategy management video game brilliance.
Tiny Realms is one of the best examples of the genre, and if you give it a shot it might just convince you that there's more to mobile strategy than Clash of Clans.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.