Avatar of War in Review – Waging war can be insanely addictive!

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Peace is generally described as a period between war – and war is bad. But waging war on the iPhone is a whole different story. It may actually be a way to world peace, since all of the aggression would be funneled harmlessly into our glass consoles. Well, CDE have released a new and creative way to do that! Generals, forward!

Avatar of War seems to be just another simple game of destroy the opponent’s castle Castle Conflict, etc. But it’s not. The goal is the same old – destroy the opposing castle before the enemy destroys yours. To attack the enemy you can create various units, ranging from the common footman to the feared flying gryphon. But here’s the fun part – they don’t just stupidly go at the opponent, rather you can control them by drawing commands.

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Ok, so the short story could have been a little confusing. But I’ll try to make some sense further on. Deep breath… Okay, so you start with a castle. On top of the castle is your hero with a big… flag. On the bottom you have a row of buttons, only one of which is active at the start of the game. You press it and presto, a swordsman appears, taking up position in front of the castle. And now, if you want him to move, you must draw a “>” like figure on screen. Once you do that, your hero comes down to the common folk (down to the ground I mean) and starts advancing toward the enemy with the swordsman going in front all the way to the enemy castle. If you meet the opposing army, your units fight it out. Mind, the hero doesn’t fight, he has his hands full with the flag. If you get to the enemy castle in one piece, your troops start to hack away at it. Got the picture?

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Now for a bit more detail. While your hero is at the castle, you can use the canon to deal some extra damage to the invading armies. Once you get down, the following general gesture commands are available: “>” for forward march, “>>” for charge (your hero stays at his current position and your troops advance on  the enemy at their respective speeds), “<” for reverse march (Your troops retreat in order), “<<” for retreat (Your troops retreat at their max speeds), touch and hold – hold the line – all troops freeze at their current positions. Also, more advanced units have their respective gestures to activate the special skills, like drawing a circle to activate the hellfire spell cast by mages, a cross for the catapults to attack ground and other. It did take a long time for me to find out how to scroll the map (for some reason it’s not noted in the help section), but I finally figured out I have to tilt the iPhone right or left to do that.

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The troops themselves consist of 7 types with varying power and skills. They cost mana, and furthermore have their own individual cool down timers. Mana is replenished automatically according to your current maximum level and speed. For eliminating enemy units you earn gold and can spend it on buying new unit types, upgrading current ones and, also, upgrading the maximum mana (required to be able to produce advanced units), mana recharge rate, castle health, etc.

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The graphics are very well done here and reminiscent of CDE’s earlier cartoony castle game, Archmage Defense. The performance is excellent on my 3G, but the gestures are always recognized with a frustrating delay. Not sure why it is so, but it doesn’t seem related to performance in any way. The music is on par, and you can shuffle it around if you wish. Another downside – the game only saves the stage you’re in and not the current state of affairs, meaning if you get a call while in the heat of the battle, you’ll have to start the stage all over again.

Overall I found this to be one of the most addictive strategy games I’ve seen on the iPhone. Despite the simple mechanics the use of gestures to control your armies coupled with the unit’s special skill bring a whole new layer of tactical depth to the game. And while the AI is not that spectacular, it is only a $0.99 game. Additionally, Avatar of War could really benefit from online multiplayer.

With this I declare Avatar of War officially touched!

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App Summary
Title:Avatar of WarDeveloper:CDE
Price:$0.99App Size:9.7 MB
  • Original and addictive gameplay
  • Excellent graphics and performance
  • Delay in gesture recognition
  • Only saves current stage
  • No multiplayer

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