Apr 12, 2010

Defense Homeland

Defense Homeland is my first real-time strategy game for the Android and it's great to see a variety of genres available. The developer claims a new mission or feature will be added every week, but we'll see about that as I know from experience that that's a lofty goal. So what do we have right now?

Currently there are 9 missions and four skill levels (with level two being the default and the one I played on). One of the nice things the developer did though is to allow them all to be unlocked versus having to play through them. So far I've played through two of them and tried a skirmish. However, the first thing I noticed was a lack of instructions. Why is it that so many of these games elect to not provide documentation on how to play it? I don't know if I'm missing anything. In this game you can select units individually or you can group them into one of two troops. The select button is in the lower left and is touched followed by dragging a rectangle around the units that you want to command as a troop. Next, click one of the two troop buttons next to it to assign them a troop number (1 or 2). Now you can select them all by touching that same button. The top two buttons are used to build buildings and units (and they don't come into play in the first two missions).

The first mission is a confidence builder... very easy. Cruise around,  pop everyone off, and you win. The second mission not so much. In fact I was able to kill everyone but one unit in the second mission after many tries and that made me feel good enough to write this review, but I couldn't find that last enemy so I blew up the oil well wondering if that's what it wanted me to do. And no it did not. Spoiler (or skip to the next paragraph): My trick for winning was to blow away the three heavy tanks/missile launchers and then use guerilla warfare with my tank as its range exceeds that of infantry so slowly I was able to pop everyone else off.

The graphics are good for what they can be with a game of this kind of detail on a mobile device. After all, how detailed can you be with men made of six pixels and if they went much bigger then you wouldn't be able to fit much on the screen at once. The tanks look pretty nice and units seem to be pretty easily distinguished. The sound/audio is well done, too.

I did experience a few issues, but they don't seem to be consistent in terms of reproducing them. First, one time I loaded it... tried to do a new game and the list of campaigns didn't appear (only the select text above it). Using task killer fixed that. Next, I did have occasional problems moving to unoccupied space means I could select my unit and click on an enemy and off they march... click on empty space to flee and nothing. Finally, the AI doesn't seem to be that good... units watch as I pick off lone soldiers, units pursue for a short while and call it off leaving me in complete control of tactics (and consequently allow the aforementioned guerilla warfare), but with that said even the second mission on the second skill level is a challenge.

As stated I didn't get to any missions where building an army was involved, but I did try the skirmish mode in which that is used. Unlike most PC games of this type building a unit is instantaneous... click that I want a new infantry unit and out he walks. Building a new building was confusing at first as I'd click the build button, sel;ect a building, and this red circle would appear and nothing would happen. I needed to drag when I saw the red circle to where I wanted to build. Didn't take long to figure that out, but still it would be nice to have instructions as, once again, I don't know if I'm missing anything. Their website does offer descriptions of the different unit types, but the game doesn't even tell me to go and look there.

After all is said and done though this is a solid effort for a pocket RTS game and at 3 UK pounds or a bit less than $5 US it's well worth it. I'm hoping they continue to grow the game as they indicate they plan to, but it's worth the money right now (which leads me to a pet peeve... games that are in beta, but are charging me to be their tester?). 4.5/5 stars which could easily become 5 with a bit more polish. Check out the video (above) for more info.

1 comment:

  1. Finally i have found an android game review site. Just trying out demo of this,love it. Will buy it later.