So this weekend was rather strange. I mean it snowed in Vancouver! During all the craziness I spent a lot of time in my apartment under a blanket where it was warm. I wasn’t always able to sleep so at some point I downloaded one of the featured games on the iStore, Battleheart.
I think I’d seen it when it popped up but discounted it as not being tactical enough, or just necessary for me to get another game for my iPhone. However when you are bored late at night and can’t sleep, you can spend a lot of time using your iPhone and I ended up spending the $2.99 for this game.
It is totally worth it!
It was originally billed as a roleplaying game, but it isn’t really. It is a real-time strategy game. Now I’m not a fan of that genre. I still maintain that any game that Stephan Hawkins would be at a disadvantage at isn’t really about strategy… This game requires some serious clicking or since this is the iPhone, tapping and dragging. That said there are elements where you can employ strategic thinking, chiefly around how to build your party of four adventures and secondly on threat identification.
On Saturday night or more truthfully on Sunday morning I played the game a bit, but kept trying to put the iPhone down and get to sleep… Eventually I came up to the big spider boss(tm). I couldn’t win on that level, every level up until then I’d beaten, given a try or two. So how do you improve your party when you can no longer gain experience? Well you can fight in the arena, you die, but you get an item. Then you can sell that item or equip it and hope to make your team a tiny bit better.
Battleheart wouldn’t be such an enjoyable game if you all you could do is fight the spider boss or in the arena after a certain point. Finally I tried clicking on a zone I’d already cleared and voila I could clear it again for more experience and gold. This enabled me to try and improve my team and try out some different combos of party members.
This is the RPG element of the game. All the characters are hired in the tavern, but you can adjust their armament and skills somewhat.
Once your party members make level ten or higher they start to kick a little more ass and you can think about defeating the spider boss. The other big discovery that will help you succeed at the game is that rather than waiting for a lucky weapon drop or finding what you need in the one store in the one town, you can upgrade your characters armor and weapons with cash. Before that I was on the verge of recommending you use the characters you can find the best gear for, which is wise in some RPGs. In this game what matters most is which special powers a character can access and what party composition works best for you.
I found and read one large review yesterday morning. I decided I’d write my own brief post. However I ended up sleeping away much of Sunday and then played a bit more Battleheart after my constantly battling neighbors woke me up to the sound of crashing glass.
The single character I found the most useful is the Kung Fu master, or whatever he is called, the unarmed monk style fighter. His default skill is very useful. You start with a healer and a knight. The healer is pretty much a must have. I never tried to make a party without her. Some games she doesn’t do much after you get regeneration rings or something similar for your party, enabling them to heal themselves. Better for the ‘fighter’ types is gear that lets you steal health from the enemy as you damage them.
The first character I hired was the rogue and for whatever reason, he’s always done pretty well for me. He has relatively highly upgraded gear and a higher experience than some of my other characters as I’ve used him a long time. His special powers aren’t as powerful as the monks or the elven sorceress who is my final preferred party member, but he’s quick. I discovered that the knight was frequently out performed by the Rogue due to speed which you can further increase with equipment. The Rogue is just a versatile dude, though he can’t take a beating, he can deal out more damage in theory than the Monk.
The sorcerer does the most damage according to the two stats the game has, but since special abilities and timing their use play such a role, I’m pretty sure it is the Monk who is the star of the show. He can generally take care of himself and using his powers protect the two magic users. The Rogue is his backup, and sometimes is quicker to kill one key monster…
For those seeking the true old-school, puzzles and mazes RPG experience on the iPhone, I recommend Undercroft still the best RPG on the iPhone. If you want a fun little real-time battler type game, with some RPG elements, give Battleheart a try. Of the games on my iPhone the one most similar may be Fruit Ninja as you need to click and swipe relatively accurately to succeed at Battleheart. Sword of Fargoal is also comparable to Battleheart though in that game you have a single adventurer and it isn’t a real-time combat system, but it plays fast and furious if you want it to.