EGO City Invasion


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Ego City Invasion Review

If we had to fight back a horde of zombies, we think we’d bring a tank. In fact, we would bring a tank that could fly. Obviously, someone out there shares our great taste in combat vehicles. In Ego City Invasion, you have to use such a device to defend your fort against wave after wave of filthy undead invaders. This makes for some fun gameplay that is unfortunately stretched thin by a lack of variety.

Ego City Invasion shares its name with the online social networking game Ego City, which is an online community where you can play games, meet other players, and use your experience points (or “merits”) to buy new items for your avatar or virtual house. If you have an Ego City account, you can upload “merits” that you have collected as well as other unlockables to your account from Ego City Invasion. Even though having an Ego account greatly extends the value of the iPhone game, it still stands on its own if you choose to never create an Ego account.

For the hordes!

Ego City Invasion is unlike other castle defense games, where you sit in your castle and unleash defenses against an incoming horde. Instead, you man a tank that can move around the level as well as fly for a short period of time. This allows you to evade ground enemies, as well as engage flying enemies on their own level.

You tap on the screen where you want to shoot, tilt to move, and hold a button down to fly. Even though we didn’t have trouble using these controls, you are unable to choose a non-tilt control setting, which may turn some people off.

The object of your toils are “merits” which are the currency of Ego City and periodically drop as you play. Between games these can be used to unlock some of the six more powerful weapons, as well as a variety of cosmetic upgrades.

The only usable equipment you get during a game comes from powerups which drop between waves. These each have a short term offensive or defensive effect. In addition to deciding when to use these powerups, you have to choose which of the weapons you have unlocked will be best suited to blunt the current wave’s attack.

Multicolored explosions.

Unfortunately there is only one play mode and one level in the game, so you can expect to see the same thing over and over. This is not to say that the gameplay itself is not fun, however. The handful of little environmental traps and tricks that you can use, plus some high-powered weapons make it pretty satisfying to blast groups of zombies into zombie bits.

It’s just too bad that you don’t get to employ these on a greater variety of enemies and levels. There are three levels of difficulty, which is important, as seasoned players will likely find the easier difficulty levels to be not enough of a challenge.

Aesthetically, the game is decent. It has a cartoon look but the sprites are not as large or animated as some other defense games. There are plenty of nice effects when you get the explosions going and the zombie bits flying. The sound and music are good, but we were also glad that we could play our own music to get us through some longer play sessions. The smaller graphics enable some really precise accuracy but also require some fine tap work.

Overall, we think that Ego City Invasion is on the right track. The gameplay is fun in bursts, especially when you just unlock a new weapon. However, these entertaining bits are diluted somewhat by having to grind the same level over and over. With some extra levels and enemy types the game could really begin to shine. Even so, if you are looking for a new spin on the castle defense genre, especially if you are an Ego City member, you will get your money’s worth with Ego City Invasion.

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Ego City Invasion Hands-On

Punch Entertainment is probably best known to iPhone gamers for their Reign of Swords strategy series, but before the iPhone even had an App Store, Punch released a social network game called Ego for mobile phones. Ego let you customize a limbless avatar who could chat, flirt, and fight. On the web, Ego City is a hub for these avatars, but Ego City has been invaded by zombies in an upcoming action tie-in for the iPhone.

In Ego City Invasion, you control a tank piloted by an Ego that you can customize in three parts: the head, torso, and feet. Using tilt controls, you guide your tank over wildly curvy hills, while zombies begin a slow march to your castle walls from the right side of the screen. You have to tap the screen to unleash a barrage of missiles at the zombies and other monsters that are determined to break in and snack on the Egos within.

A few twists make this game more promising than your average castle defense game. For one, you can use coins you earn in the game to unlock new weapons and costumes for your tank. These same coins can also be used to buy items in Ego City on the web.

Of the unlockable weapons we saw in Ego City Invasion, our favorite is the Human Sample Bomb, a beeping bit of brain matter that attracts the zombies to it before going “boom”. Some of the cool costumes we caught a peek at include a pink cake dress, a rusty deep sea diver, and a bright yellow hazmat suit.

The enemies come to your door in waves, and later on big zombies, parachuting zombies, and bomb-clutching crows will descend on your precious castle gate. To even things out, though, powerups that let you restore your door’s health, call in an airstrike, or even summon a charging ram will drop from supply crates.

Plus, you can get an airborne advantage with a jetpack button located in the lower-left corner. This is especially handy when fighting crows, because with a higher vantage point you can force them to drop their bombs on the marching hordes below. However, like your guns, the jetpack can overheat, preventing you from laying on the gas.

Ego City Invasion played very well when we tried it, and the extra weapons and costumes you can unlock seem like a good reason to keep playing. The game is in the final tuning stages now, to ensure that the three difficulty levels provide the right degrees of challenge and reward. Online leaderboards won’t be available at launch, but they may come through in a later update.

At the expected price point of one or two dollars, Ego City Invasion could well be worth a chance, even if you’ve never heard of the Ego avatars. The idea is, sometimes it’s good to take a break from flirting and chatting through an Ego, and just set it loose on some zombies instead.