Don’t look now, but the world just ended again. Tattered gangs roam the desert, and the right of way goes to whomever has the biggest guns. This is the world of the Apoc Wars, and it’s pretty much exactly what you would expect.
Apoc Wars is a real-time strategy game that gives you a desert base to build and a whole bunch of enemies to blow up. You start with a few basic buildings that produce resources so you can build more stuff. As you level up, you’ll upgrade your existing buildings and add new buildings. You’ll also unlock new units that you can deploy to maul your enemies.
Like most free-to-play games, Apoc Wars lures you into playing with units and buildings that are quick to build. You feel like you’re accomplishing a lot in the first few minutes, but the action slows down fast.
By Level 4, you’re in a long, slow grind of waiting several minutes for each new building and unit, with thousands of experience points between you and the next level-up. You can accelerate your builds with premium currency, of course, and the game is generous with that currency at the beginning. It has to be, because Apoc Wars becomes very dull if you don’t get in the habit of goosing the game along.
One of the game’s good points is that it does not have an energy system. You can attack your neighbors to your heart’s content, at least until you run out of units. You’ll spend a lot of time beating up the Dirtbags, a gang of punks who compensate for their lack of martial skills with some very advanced taunting.
The battles are moderately interesting. Your band of soldiers maneuvers smoothly around the screen, taking out turrets while seeking out the enemy headquarters. Blow up the headquarters and you get a pile of experience points and loot. Fail and it’s back to the barracks to wait for more units. Each base is a puzzle to solve, and there are plenty of different bases to overcome. On the other hand, the scenery and the limited selection of units makes every battle feel more or less the same.
There’s also a multiplayer component. You can form alliances with other players and attack rivals. This feature seemed a little under-developed when we played it, since our “Hit List” never actually populated with anyone to attack. On the other hand, this is likely to improve with time and more players.
The real question is how many more players there will be, and how long they will stick around. The gameplay is okay, and there are some nice touches of humor, but there’s nothing here that Clash of Clans doesn’t already do better. We expect most players will try Apoc Wars out, get bored, then move on. That’s a problem, because unless the game develops a robust multiplayer community, there’s not much reason to keep playing.
In the end, there’s nothing wrong with Apoc Wars. It’s a competent game that some players will enjoy. But there’s also nothing special about it, and most gamers will have a better time playing something else.