BreakingModern — “No, I don’t want to write a review for this game, I’m too busy playing it. Upgrade soldiers, get new cards … What are you doing? There’s a guy right behind you, shoot him already!”
That’s what I told myself as I played one of the most-addicting mobile games I’ve ever experienced, Rivals at War.
Rivals at War isn’t your typical strategy game. Instead of being able to control your troops on a mini-map, you’re able to pre-select the soldiers that will make up your squad as you enter battle. Now I know what you’re thinking — this is the time where I’d absolutely crush this game for being nothing more than a boring, cheap, AFK (away from keyboard) rip-off that is a disgrace to the RTS franchise. Well, not quite.
While it’s frustrating seeing your soldiers behaving like complete noobs from Call of Duty, Rivals at War does have a sense of realism. As a real general commanding troops, I wouldn’t have the luxury of ordering my troops around. Instead I’m forced to select the best ones for every scenario. The player has to look at the troops from a statistical basis, instead of basing victory purely on his or her skill.
That being said, Rivals at War takes away many frustrations of micro-managing one’s troops, which is over-apparent in other strategy games. Games like Total War, Hearts of Iron or even Starcraft for that matter, can get pretty messy late in the game as you try to micro-manage a crapload of units. I can’t tell you how many times I was almost defeated (small scale, of course!) because I couldn’t keep track of where my units were. Rivals at War takes away that frustration with the AI-controlled units, relieving you of power, but also of responsibility.
The game has some extra perks to it, including 16 countries that the player can select from to form his team. There’s a stats bonus if all the players’ troops are from the same country. I thought this was a nice feature — it adds a much-needed element of variety to the game, and it allows me to create epic international squads like Delta Force NATO. Personally; I found the ability to change the soldiers’ names, coupled with the inclusion of nationalities, a recipe for comical mayhem. I swear, I think I spent half my time just making up player names and laughing over them. When you invest so much time in a squad, naming them can be a symbol of affection, not to mention it’s straight-up hilarious.
The squads themselves have six different classes to them, which allow the player to customize his squad to his preferences. The game’s class system reminds me of a classic FPS multiplayer match with MGs, snipers and, my personal favorite, the rocket launcher. Each class has its strengths and weaknesses, so it’s up to the player to find the right balance to deliver victory.
Rivals at War is perfect for the strategists on FPS multiplayer squads, giving them a chance to hone their tactics without incompetent rookies on the team. Even though the troops can’t be controlled on the battle mini-map, I love watching the fighting simulations. They have great graphics, authentic military sound effects, and they’re extremely fun to watch. The battle mechanics are so well done, it almost feels like I’m watching a third person console shooter, not a mobile strategy game.
Overall, I’ll have to give Rivals at War a 7/10. I love the variety in the game, the graphics are nice for mobile standards, but the fact that the battles are just cheaply simulated computer algorithms really makes my blood boil. Rivals at War is available for both Android on Google Play and Apple iOS. The game is free, and I’d highly recommend you download it.
For BMod, I’m Puching Zhang.
Screenshots: Hothead Games
Header image: Hothead Games