It's always tough being the god-like character that has to reign over his kingdom supreme in Greek Antiquity, isn't it? Well, the tutorial of Tap4Fun's Spartan Wars: Empire of Honor does make things a little easier. Being shown the ropes to a game that involves building up your own city/civilisation and raising an army of Spartans eventually to the domination of the in-game world. Just make sure you've got your wallet open; you'll need it to survive against the other premium players.
Release Date: 04/12/2012
Available on: iOS, Android
Cards on the Table: 300 Was Average
Though the dramatic "This. Is. Sparta!" cry may have held some weight at some point the recent history of modern interpretations of Ancient Greece, the whole 300 Movie thing died down a little when people realised that it wasn't really that much of a spectacular film in the first place. Luckily, there's a fair few games knocking about on Google Play and iTunes that do a pretty good job of allowing players to experience some Ancient Greece-themed gameplay, and without any of the ridiculously over-the-top six-packs of the 300 Movie or the disappointingly lacklustre gameplay of other mobile titles like 300: Seize Your Glory. Let's not dwell on the 'not' and focus on what's 'hot', shall we? Spartan Wars: Empire of Honor promises an adventure to prospective players. An adventure packed with management of a civilisation and its Spartan army, strictly MMO-based of course though with hints of strategy. So is this game anything to shout dramatically about?
Nothing New; Some Familiarity
Firstly, it should be stated that Spartan Wars: Empire of Honor is by no means an original or inventive title by any means. Strategy-based MMOs have been around for a good while now; World of Warcraft and the like are news to absolutely no-one, so to say that Spartan Wars is offering anything new would be to bend the truth so far that it no longer resembles anything, either in the physical or the abstract. What the game does do is take the elements of fellow Tap4Fun game Galaxy Empire, only bundled up in a Spartan package, putting this game firmly within the category of games that give us a perspective - a tired one but a perspective nonetheless - of Ancient Greece from the eyes of a demi-god that controls the events of his or her own little world.
You'll be unsurprised to be handed a small settlement at the beginning of the game and even less surprised to know that it's up to you to build, develop, and expand this town into something very special, a civilisation of sorts where you must keep a keen eye on resources such as different metals and other materials, as well as managing your workers and the activity within your settlement. Essentially, it's Galaxy Empire only with less impressive graphics and very similar features, only set firmly on earth in Ancient Greece.
Have You Heard of the Emancipation Proclamation?
It isn't entirely fair to say that Spartan Wars is entirely similar to any other of the MMO Greek Games out there; it does have a few little nuances that could lead one to concede that it isn't just a cheap (or free in this case) copy of all other MMO strategy games. The most noticeable difference in the game is that instead of the usual source of deriving resources/energy (buildings or specially-built structures) you must enslave workers in order to speed up the production of the buildings. It may sound a little barbaric but kudos to Tap4Fun for having a play around with the mechanics to reflect the reality of how things were done in societies that existed in antiquity.
Though not a feature unique to Spartan Wars, you are also afforded the freedom to build your settlement in any manner you wish provided it is within the set perimeter. This means that in addition to being able to customise the aesthetics of your settlement, you can also choose the balance of building types in the game, meaning you can make it a defensive settlement focused on big industrial centres and resources production, or you can choose to make it a warrior-driven society with massive emphasis on training a skilled army. It's refreshing to have such freedom with relatively few limits.
Wealth is Health
Unfortunately for Spartan Wars, players cannot escape the virtual classist system that arises as a result of the premium currency system. The fact that you can buy yourself advantages is not a new concept, but the fact that paying players have such an advantage over those not handing over cash is indicative of a game that has the balance all wrong. Even putting the poorly-balanced freemium system aside, the game's user interface is somewhat overwhelming, and though the artwork and graphics are fairly respectable there are so many things going on and different icons to get to grips with that this becomes somewhat of an annoyance very quickly.
Unfortunately for Tap4Fun, the above factors combine to make for a game that tips the scales heavily toward moderate disappointment, made worse by the fact that it could have been a fantastic title if a few issues were addressed and some more innovation was strived for.
Spartan Wars Empire of Honor is developed by Tap4Fun.