I really like this genre of puzzle game. Older patrons might liken it to Reversi or Othello, but apparently modern players like to mess with things like board size and the actual pieces themselves. As a result we get cool variants like Battle Slugs. Or at least it should be cool. Aesthetically the production values are great, and they try to add a lot of replay value by making you work to unlock additional locations to play in. Unfortunately, I think the difficulty level is a bit too high. For all the games I’ve played so far I’ve only unlocked one new location, and unless I missing something I only have one board configuration available, which does tend to get a bit old.
In case you didn’t recognize either of the names I mentioned earlier, the basic premise behind the game is simple. Each side starts out with a certain number of slugs, and when there are no moves left over, the side with the most slugs wins. You select the slug you want to move, then select a free space that is one or two tiles away from the slug. If you select a space one tile away, he slug will simply replicate itself to that tile. If the tile is two spaces away, the slug will jump to that tile. Either way, any slugs from the other side that are adjacent to the relocated / replicated slug will switch over to your side. The trick to domination is weighing the possible loss of slugs left unprotected from a move to the slugs you gain from converting the enemy.
There are three difficulty levels, but so far I’m not really seeing the difference, at least between easy and medium. Generally I can win once out of every 10 games or so. On medium that’s probably okay, but on easy that seems unacceptable. You start with one available location, and so far I’ve managed to unlock one other. Unfortunately, I can’t find a way to consistently play at that second location. It’s almost like the game randomly picks which location you’ll visit, and it’s pretty much always the first one. I’m also disappointed that I only have one board to play on right now. Apparently you have to unlock the other boards, just as you have to unlock other locations. I’m really beginning to feel like the main issue with the game is pacing. Either give me a little bit more up front, or don’t make things so hard to unlock right from the onset.
Thankfully, the aesthetics almost redeem the unbalanced game play. The visuals in Battle Slugs are wonderful. The characters are cute and cartoony, and the backgrounds actually have decent detail. What’s more impressive, however, is the animation. The slugs look great as they split, jump and transform others to their ilk. It’s also funny to see a slug pull out a book and start reading when it has nothing to do. Even the backgrounds are full of movement, whether it’s dancing fungi and fluttering birds on the forest scene or slithering snakes and the occasional twister on the desert scenario.
The sound effects are also quite charming, and really help bring the game to life. It’s a nice balance of slug noises and background sounds, and honestly kind of unusual for this style of game. The music is even better. The theme played before a game starts is my favorite, and I can’t help but chuckle when the “voices” kick in, which I assume are meant to be the slugs bantering. The rest of the music isn’t really humorous like this, but it certainly sounds good and rounds out the audio / visual package nicely.
I would love to say that this is the new variant of this style of game play that I’ll be adding to my collection for a while. The atmosphere really makes it a joy to play. Then, after the 10th time losing at the easy level on the first board, the joy is gone. I think Battle Slugs has the potential of being one of the better Othello / Reversi style games on the App Store. Until they get the gameplay balance sorted out, however, it just kind of grates on my nerves after a while. Of course, you can always check out the free lite version before picking up the full game for a buck.
|Title:||Battle Slugs||Developer:||OOO Gameprom|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.2||Min OS Req:||3.1.3|
|Price:||$0.99||App Size:||72.2 MB|