Stragea Review

Stragea promises something that’s been difficult to find on the iPhone so far: real-time strategy. While the basic control mechanics get the job done, the entire game feels unfinished, and we suggest your only strategy be to avoid this work in progress.

The bulk of Stragea lies in the campaign mode. Unfortunately, this entire mode is little more than a glorified tutorial strung together by a few sentences between missions that we won’t refer to as a plot.

Fetchez la vache!

Before you start the first mission, the game does a decent job of explaining the controls. You’ll only be able to build a guard tower and a crystal mine at first, and new options open up gradually as you progress throughout the eight missions. By the end, you’ll be able to create six different unit types, among them armored knights, catapults, fire breathing dragons and a sorceress.

Early on, the game can be incredibly frustrating. The A.I. has a tendency to attack your base impossibly fast, usually with two enemy soldiers just as you finish constructing your barracks. At first, you will probably die. But soon you learn to build two or three guard towers first, then create soldiers as quickly as possible. Tweak this strategy a bit by building catapults later on in the game, and you’ll quickly master Stragea.

The enemy A.I. is so predictable that the game will go from frustrating to incredibly easy over the course of an hour. Even on the hardest difficulty, the A.I. never used dragons or the sorceress, instead sticking with catapults and infantry. The sorceress is obscenely overpowered, and victory in Stragea consists of little more than sending in an army of four catapults backed up by a sorceress, who can freeze an entire army in no time from a safe distance. Often times even the unfrozen enemy units will sit idly just off-screen as you annihilate their companions.

After you blow through the campaign, battle mode is unlocked. Unfortunately, this only lets you compete against the same shoddy A.I. that hampers the campaign mode.

The broken game balance and predictable opposition are the main problems with Stragea, but a few others put the final nails in its coffin. For starters, resource management is nonexistent. Although the maps contain multiple mineral supplies, building additional crystal mines does not boost production.

Also, in battle you are unable to specify who your units attack, so all you can do is send them into enemy territory and hope they focus on the highest threats first, which doesn’t always happen. Finally, Stragea has a tendency to crash, and did so over a dozen times during play, even after restarts. This will cause you to lose all current mission progress, as will taking a phone call.

Although Stragea is a playable game when it runs without crashing, it lacks just about everything that makes real-time strategy games fun. There is no multiplayer, the enemy A.I. is awful and the game balance is completely broken. Most battles last no longer than ten minutes, and your interest won’t hold out much past that. The developer has a laundry list of problems to fix before we could recommend this game to anyone.

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