Thus far, we’ve enjoyed most of what the iOS-born Battle Bears series has had to offer. The offbeat war between Oliver and his crew and the cute, evil huggables always offers up some laughs. Battle Bears Royale takes the characters you’ve come to love and their crazy arsenal of artillery into a new realm: online. Unfortunately, this time around the action isn’t so grand.
Battle Bears Royale is a class-based online shooter in the vein of Team Fortress. Anybody who has played Valve’s megahit will know what to expect here: five classes (soldier, heavy, close combat, demolition, sniper) that each have unique weapons and character models. Balancing between classes is decent, although we found our best success with Riggs, the bee-shooting, boxing heavy.
All players start with the soldier unlocked and can buy the other characters for 5,000 in-game currency except for the sniper, which requires level 10 and 300,000 currency, a barrier that we feel is unnecessary. Due to the slow pace at which you earn currency, expensive items and the sniper class are far too time consuming to unlock if you aren’t willing to bite the bullet and put down some dough through in-app purchase to buy currency.
Who wants some?
The game encourages you to play tactically by offering special abilities, equipment, and team communication tools. However, due to the map design and slow controls every fight turns into a faceroll where both sides continuously charge at each other, letting bullets fly until one person falls dead. As with many online games, Battle Bears Royale has plenty of early quitters and the winner of each game is usually the team who has the most remaining players.
When you’re on the losing team, even if you have more kills than any other player on either team when the game ends, you’ll drop down in skill points and gain sufficiently less XP. This can be frustrating for players dominating the opponent but continuously being placed with teammates who either quit or aren’t quite as skillful.
At the moment, Battle Bears Royale only has one game mode (standard 4v4) with four maps. A placeholder for ‘capture the flag’ promises that mode is coming soon, but at the moment you’ll only stay interested for as long as facerolling the opponent can keep your attention.
This all isn’t to say that Battle Bears Royale doesn’t have its moments. The wacky and bizarre weapons such as the bee shooter, water gun, salt rifle, bearzooka, and so on are entertaining to kill and be killed with. This is a game that oozes personality and may be worth giving a shot just for the zaniness of it all.
Online play itself is, for the most part, smooth. Other than the occasional lagging player, there are almost no hitches to be found. Also, getting into a match rarely takes longer than 10 seconds, a feat few online games can brag.
For free, those looking for Team Fortress on their iPhone or iPad should give Battle Bears Royale a chance. It may not be a perfect game, but it has enough charm to last for at least an hour and is free to play. We hope updates make this battle one we feel compelled to fight for on a more permanent basis.