Here’s Hamlet’s first rule of being a prince: don’t go to college! Higher education may offer lots of learning and great parties, but you’re sure to come home to find that your evil uncle has usurped the throne.
That’s the problem your Prince faces in Royal Revolt, a reverse tower defense game from flaregames GmbH. The bad news is that that the Prince has come home from ‘Bogsmartz’ to find that his aunt and two uncles have divided his country up between themselves. The good news is that while he was at school, the Prince was studying battle magic. Taking-back-the-kingdom mayhem ensues.
Traditional tower defense games put you in charge of defending against an oncoming horde of enemies. Reverse tower defense games let you play the horde. As the Prince, you lead infantry, archers, wizards, and siege weapons down a path to your relatives’ castles. The relatives try to stop you with their own troops and a series of fiendish traps. You’ll have to slay the troops, disarm the traps, and bring the castles crashing down on your rivals.
It’s time to get medieval.
Royal Revolt’s strategy is not complex, but there are plenty of little decisions to make as your army stomps down the path. You have to find the right mix of units to spawn, then keep them buffed with support spells. Many of the traps require the Prince to dash ahead and trigger the right switches to defuse them. Timing can be important as you decide when to fall back and when to hold the line so the rest of the army can catch up.
There are 24 levels in the campaign, with each level awarding up to three stars depending on how quickly you defeat it. As you earn stars, you unlock several elite levels, which you can beat to score points and brag about on Facebook. (Royal Revolt provides several incentives to hook up your Facebook account and spread the word about the game, but it isn’t obnoxious about that.)
Beating levels also earns gold, which you can use to upgrade your units and your Prince’s spells. There are interesting choices to make here, whether you specialize in your favorite units and spells or go for an all-around approach. One cute detail of the game is that your Prince starts the game alone on the game’s home screen, and a throng of followers slowly appears behind him as you unlock new units.
Pillaging can be fun!
You can buy gold via in-app purchase, but it’s not really necessary. The game does a good job of keeping difficulty, upgrades, and the gold supply in sync, so you almost always have enough money to get the upgrades you need.That relaxed attitude toward in-app purchases is one of the reasons that Royal Revolt is fun to play.
Another reason is the controls, which are simple and easy to use. However, what really makes this game work is the art and the characters. The Dreamworks-like animation style is so adorable that it’s hard not to smile as your army marches around. This is the kind of game where all the characters dance at the end of a battle, even the siege engines.
Royal Revolt doesn’t break any new ground in its genre, and there’s not a lot to do once you’ve played through the campaign. But that doesn’t stop it from being well-done and entertaining. There should be more games with this level of polish and player-friendly design.