I ran into issues almost as soon as I started the game. In the beginning tutorial -- if you can read the tiny, horrible font, anyway -- you'll be told to access a certain building in order to start upgrading. The problem was immediately obvious: Not only was the picture of the building different from the actual building in the town, but there are no labels on the individual buildings that make up your post-apocalyptic village. It's an annoying bit that could so easily be fixed.
The game starts you off in a well-constructed city, considering that it's pretty much the end of the world outside of your gates. There's some nicely animated smoke in the background, and zooming out the map shows just how many players there are. Maybe I am missing the game's charm, but I must admit there are a lot of players to fight and communicate with. I spent most of my time sending my scouts and trucks to fight off NPCs in the hopes that I would come back with enough goods to upgrade another building or two, but I must have gotten too upgrade-hungry at the beginning of the game and really put myself into a hole. I needed a lot of resources, fast. Then I bumped into more problems.
- The lab performs research and unlocks new technologies.
- The headquarters holds on to the most important supplies like water and iodine, an important reagent for your spies.
- The biodome grows food for your followers. The higher the biodome's level, the more followers you can have.
Here's the game's single shining moment: Attacking another city makes the target city pulse to indicate that you are attacking it. Many MMORTS titles just do not indicate which town you are attacking, even though it's relatively easy to find the information in attack logs and other areas. The pulsing works to give you a feeling of epic battle. If you have multiple battles going on, the map just lights up... that's powerful stuff. I wished for a similar indicator in the previously mentioned Grepolis, in fact. So points to the team on the idea of pulsing enemies.
Grepolis at least has some wonderful music and an interface that slides in and out and features a tutorial that has a nice, legible font and actually teaches you something. Crazy Tribes just feels cheap and half-done, and it's plain and ugly to boot. Skip this one.
Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.