By February 24, 2014 Read More →

Barnwars [Android Game Review]

App Name: Barnwars

Developer: Eoin O’Callaghan

Market: Google Play

Cost: Free

Take charge of your livestock squadron and lead them to victory in this capture-the-flag, strategy RPG. As the commander of your animal army, your mission is to infiltrate your opponent’s base camp, steal their bail of hay and take it back to your home base while battling any enemies along the way.  This game will give you the option to choose from four different teams (Shorthorns [cows], Friesians [cows], Suffolks [sheep], Churros [rams]), three map sizes (small, medium, large) and whether to play by sharing the device or inviting a friend to play via text message or email. The aforementioned “invite a friend” option costs a one-time fee of $1.31 to access. Once you make the purchase, the feature will work on all your Android devices.

The tactical, militaristic concept behind Barnwars shows similarities to the board game Stratego without the limitations of moving one piece at a time on your turn. Once you gain a good understanding of the rules and find a friend who is willing to play against you, Barnwars is a fun and interesting game of hide-and-seek. If the game seems slow at anytime, you can adjust the game speed in the settings tab to hasten the pace. However, this game lacks a few key components such as a wide selection of game board environments, a virtual instruction manual for clarity on the rules and the option to play against a random opponent.

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If I had not read the game’s summary located on the Barnwars website, I would have never figured out how to play the game. Upon playing your first game, you and your opponent are left on your own to figure out the rules. This game fails to provide new users with a step-by-step tutorial on the main objective and the numerous elements in the game. There is not even a help section located anywhere in the main menu. Every strategy game, RPG or otherwise, should include a simple how-to guide to at least teach new players the essential rules to make the user’s gaming experience enjoyable and pleasant and less frustrating due to confusion.

Another downside lies in the inability to face a random opponent in case none of your contacts are interested in playing. Most multiplayer games have this feature and I was shocked to discover that Barnwars does not have this ubiquitous attribute. I was also surprised to find out that you have to pay extra in order to invite other players to play. This charge should be applied to purchasing extra items such as more teams, useful in-game bonuses like more effective attacks and barriers around your home base and bonus downloadable maps. I hope the developers will consider remedying these problems in a future update as well as adding a tutorial or instruction guide. The app is free to download in the Google Play store and size will not be a concern being only 16MB large.

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