The App Store has been a great platform for new, innovative games, but it’s also a place for old games to find new life. Age of Tribes is similar to the old classic Lemmings, replacing the lemmings with mindless tribespeople who have a disposition toward walking that cannot be overcome, even by fear of death.
As with many revivals of old classics on the iDevice, Age of Tribes puts a twist on the controls, in this case instituting a platform-drawing system for the tribespeople to help them reach the familiar exit door. This is a somewhat inventive twist, but it entirely replaces the system of unique abilities that helped define its inspiration. Instead of choosing a character to serve as a barrier to others, or building a stairway in a physics-defying manner, Age of Tribes just puts the power in your hands (or fingers) to draw ramps for the tribe members.
Walk like an Egyptian.
Drawing ramps is simple, but strategy quickly becomes a factor when you take into account the degree of incline that the tribe members can climb up (which isn’t impressive, to say the least), and the fact that the ramps start to disintegrate the second you create them. Luckily, the developers included a “view” mode that can be toggled on to scroll around the level and allow you to draw routes before the tribespeople fall to their doom.
All the same, we found ourselves wishing we had invisible fingers to see our platforms, something we’ve pointed out in our iPhone Gamer’s Bill of Rights. Added to that is the fact that continuously drawing platforms and trying to manipulate the tribespeople with them simply becomes tedious after a few levels, especially the difficult ones, and makes us wish for the classic Lemmings once more.
The personality in Age of Tribes is its primary saving grace. The music and animation are cartoony, and there a multiple tribes, each with its own locations. It also has Plus+ and plenty of achievements. Age of Tribes has some innovation and character, but the tedium and lack of multifaceted gameplay makes this a game to be cautious about.