(Rating System: There are five categories that each receive a rating of one through five with one being the lowest possible score and five being the highest possible score. At the end, the scores of each of the five sections are compiled together to create an overall score for the game.)
Game of War: Fire Age delivers the goods for game players that want a truly global online game where you can build your empire, form alliances, and go to war with your enemies. This game strikes the perfect balance for me when it comes to satisfying the builder in me and the player versus player competitor part in me. It is a real time game of global conquest that I haven’t been able to put down since I started playing it months ago.
Fun Factor (Score: 5/5)
The definition of fun for me is usually how much sleep I lose playing a game. The more sleep I lose playing a game the more fun I have. Well, I’ve lost a lot of sleep playing Game of War: Fire Age. It is the best game for the smart phone or iPad that I’ve played in a long, long time. The game has three things that I really love.
First, I love the empire building aspect of the game. It is very much like the old school Civilization games where you build your physical empire, build up your army of troops, and research better technologies to further the power of your empire. For a game most people play on their phone or iPad, it just has a really solid overall depth that keeps me planning and working towards the next big thing. I always feel like there is something I can work towards “leveling up”.
Secondly, I love the player versus player aspect of the game. You can band up with other players in alliances of up to one hundred players. These alliance often have pacts with other alliances, or are warring with other alliances. Your city may be physically located near friendly players, or it may be deep in enemy territory where you have to constantly watch your back. The game strikes the perfect balance with being able to attack and damage someone, but not completely cripple them. The rewards for defeating someone feel great and useful, enough to incur the potential wrath of hundreds of other players. When you suffer a great defeat you definitely feel it, but it isn’t something that is so bad you’re going to quit the game. A day or two rebuilding and you’re usually right back in the fight.
Finally, I love the social aspect of the game. Having members in an active alliance to talk to is actually pretty fun. I credit the game a lot with their design on this because I’m not usually the type of player that socializes much with anyone but people I know. But I found myself making friends, and enemies, in the game. I love following their progression and movement from alliance to alliance. And in general, I’ve found myself just really getting into the history of how the alliances on my server developed, who is friends with who, and who are the big players on the server. The game is just setup very well for you to interact with other players.
Control and Gameplay (Score: 4/5)
When I first started the game, I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I was able to log into the game and start playing. A lot of games have overwhelmingly long tutorials that you can’t bypass and are, in general, and pain in the butt. I felt the tutorial for this game was quick and simple. The game is honestly so easy to play, that if you’ve played any similar empire building game before you could probably figure it out without a tutorial.
The game plays easily on a phone or iPad. I have an iPhone and have no issues with being able to read or navigate my way through the game. You can even change the resolution by zooming in or out on certain screens. I normally played the game with everything zoomed all the way out, but every once in a while I find that I need to zoom in if I have bad lighting in the room I’m playing. Overall though, the controls and gameplay were very easy for me to pick up.
The one major gripe I have with gameplay, though, is server lag. I’ve never noticed this on a phone game, but occasionally I’ve noticed that when I’m trying to farm resource tiles that sometimes they won’t properly update. It may appear to me as if there is no one currently on the tile, but in fact there is. I go to send my army to the tile and it gives me some cryptic error that something has happened and I need to resend my army. I’ll go and check the resource tile again and quite often it is occupied. Luckily this lag doesn’t seem to manifest itself in many other ways, like in the player versus player part of the game. But it is something that I have run into frequently and wish the game designers would address.
Graphics (Score: 4/5)
I first began playing this game on my iPhone. I really liked the graphics and thought they were very crisp, clear, and unique. Your city seems to be alive once you start creating it because little people will start walking everywhere and your buildings will have various parts moving here and there. It gives you the feeling your city is active and growing as you build it. As your city develops, the buildings change in minor ways, usually by growing in size or adding a certain aspect to the building itself.
I only have two complaints when it comes to the graphics of this game, both are very nit picky but they are complaints. First, there is really no variety in how the cities look. I guarantee if you created a second account or looked at one of your friends cities, they are pretty much going to all look the same. Sure, the buildings may be in different places or certain empires may be clustered up or spread out, but overall, all of the stuff will look the same.
Secondly, when I switched over to playing on my iPad the game seemed much less crisp and clear to me. I’m not sure if this is because I started playing on my iPhone and since it has a much smaller screen that is just the way it is. But I actually to prefer to play on my iPhone over my iPad. The game looks better to me on the iPhone for some reason.
Again, both are minor complaints but overall I love the graphics. They definitely do not detract from the game and give you the look and feel of an empire versus empire, real time war game.
Sound (Score: 4/5)
Honestly, I normally play with the sound off when I am using my phone. But the sound for the game is actually pretty cool. It’s nothing earth shattering but I honestly don’t expect much when it comes to a mobile game like this one. But Game of War: Fire Age delivers with a solid musical score and sound effects that let you know when certain things are happening in the game. There isn’t a huge variety to the music and game effects, but there is just enough that you don’t feel like you’re listening to the same thing over and over and over.
Replayability (Score: 5/5)
I have put a pretty solid two months of play time into the game. I am just approaching a level 18 Stronghold in the game. It goes up to a maximum of 21, so on one hand it feels like I’m closing in on the end of building my empire. But really, I’m not even close. I have tons of buildings left to upgrade, tons of additional topics to research, and I haven’t even started Tier 4 troops yet, which is the final level.
Even once you’ve done all of those things, the game designers have been teasing the opening of a “Super Wonder” which will pit servers against each other. So they seem to have some sort of long term idea where they want to take the game.
Spending money can speed up things for you as a player. I have spent about $20-$30 buying the introductory player packs. I believe in supporting a good game, but I can’t spend the hundreds of dollars some players are spending. But even if you are spending a large amount of money, I can’t see you not having months and months of playtime with the game. It speeds things up for you a bit, but not that much.
I think the two keys for replayability of this game are, do you like the empire building aspect of the game? And, do you like how the player versus player portion of the game plays out? I love both, so this game has great long-term replayability for me.
Conclusion (Overall Score: 22/25)
Overall, I love Game of War: Fire Age. It is the most addictive game on my iPhone that I think I’ve ever played. I love the empire building, the player versus player, and the social setup of the game. The best thing about the game is that the full version of the game is free. You only pay for it if you want to purchase gold that will make your life a little easier in-game. So this makes it a great game for kids who have no money, or working adults that are willing to spend a little of their money to make the game easier for them if they can’t put as much time into it.
The game itself is very engaging and has a great system in which you can join other players in large scale alliance fights. There are little things that I think the game designers could improve upon, but for right now I am loving the game and looking forward to where it will be headed. If you haven’t already, go check the game out! Like I said, it costs you nothing to get the full version of the game. I bet you’ll be addicted in no time!
(This review is the author’s opinion and only the author’s opinion. I do not use other reviews to influence how I review, nor am I being paid or compensated for this review. If I was paid or compensated in any way, I will tell you…)