War Grimoire HD iPad Review

War Grimoire HD follows in the proud tradition of many iOS games by being a tower defense game. However, there are enough variations on the theme to make it feel like more than just another tower defense game. With its fantasy motif and a focus on placing individual units instead of building structures, War Grimoire HD has a solid base with some interesting gameplay elements.

Like in most defense games, you can upgrade your units after you place them, or between rounds. War Grimoire HD allows players to use accumulated items and experience points to upgrade all the unit classes before going into battle. Spellcasters, archers, swordsman, heavy warriors, and even dragons will all be at your disposal. On the enemy side is an array of familiar-looking fantasy monsters that range from the weak and easily killed to hulking tank creatures that will challenge your entire line of defense.

Everyone, stick to the route.

Destroying monsters frequently leads to dropped gold and chests with new weapons. Weapons can even be upgraded to provide increased damage and effects, such as elemental powers, increased defense, and critical attack damage. Better weapons can be equipped for each unit type before missions, as well, and these RPG elements add a nice personal flair to the otherwise standard defense gameplay.

Most tower defense games have monsters that follow a very strict pathway in every level. It’s sort of a nonsensical gameplay mechanic, but it works within the limited confines of the play style. War Grimoire HD deserves some credit for using a more free-form roaming mechanic for its monsters on some levels. This means that the monsters start from specific marked locations, but things like obstacles and your unit placement can cause them to find new paths to the goal.

Armed and dangerous.

It’s a great concept in theory, but in execution, it has significant flaws. The biggest problem is that your troops are static. If the monsters suddenly start forging a new path, you’ll have to quickly sell off one unit and place another somewhere more effective. Allied units can’t move at all, and have a limited attack range. Worse, resources can be incredibly tight, so suddenly having to rethink tactics because monsters side-stepped your troops may cost more money than you have.

It’s also somewhat odd that few monsters can actually attack back. Boss monsters have the ability to heal other monsters and attack, but otherwise, it’s basically a monster parade where your units are just taking pot shots at defenseless critters.

In addition, the main menu interface and English translation are amazingly bad. Little things like tapping ‘New Game’ to continue your game are counter-intuitive, and there are two confusing icons on the main menu that run through the insane number of languages the game supports. The tutorial is just clumsy and hard to follow as well.

On the plus side, War Grimoire HD is certainly visually appealing. Units are sharp and relatively detailed, and the colorful maps look good. The game does suffer from odd frame rate hits now and then. There are 30 levels to conquer, in addition to six minigames that let you accumulate more wealth and items.

War Grimoire HD has enough going for it to make it worth considering, but it’s just a bit too unrefined and overpriced to make it a tower defense champ.

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