Danger Alliance: Battles, a new 3D turn-based strategy title from TOME Studios, is now available from the app store. Formerly Lost Company, this polished and newly-monikered offering provides a great cerebral challenge and enough variety to keep you strategizing for some time to come.
Danger Alliance: Battles Pros:
- Clean 3D graphics with multiple battlegrounds, player types, and weapons
- Ambient sounds in lieu of in-game soundtrack
- Intuitive touch controls
- Strategic squad-based gameplay
- Hotseat multiplayer and AI opponents for Skirmish mode with two gameplay styles
Danger Alliance: Battles Cons:
- AI takes several seconds to decide where to move
- Single-player campaign and asynch multiplayer not available at launch
- Easy to mistap when using isometric view
Danger Alliance launches with only a Skirmish mode, though a single-player campaign, expanded multiplayer options, and additional content are in the works for a future update. There are 6 battlegrounds to use, though all but the first are locked until you successfully win a match on the previous site. You can choose from 3 levels of difficulty, with Hotseat Multiplayer included as an option. Game type is limited to Elimination, where you must wipe out the opposing forces to win, though successful completion of all 6 battlegrounds will unlock Strategic Victory mode. Skirmishes take a 5 vs. 5 approach, with 6 unique character types at your disposal (Captain, Commando, Grenadier, Incinerator, Launcher, Sniper). While the Captain is required, you can mix-and-match the other 4 squad members as your first strategic order of business. This decision is critical, as each unit has specific strengths, weaknesses, attack styles, health ratings, etc.
On your turn, you can control each squad member and make him move, attack, heal a fallen comrade, or fortify his position. Some members can both move and attack on the same turn; others cannot. Each team has 3 medkits to heal injured or dead team members. Death doesn’t become permanent until a set number of turns have passed without healing or another attack of the dead body eliminates it. Squad members need not make any moves, and they can be chosen in any order to serve their necessary purposes. Often times, strategy plays a part in this decision as well, as several weapons also do damage to surrounding units. It would be foolish to move a player in for a melee attack if it leaves him vulnerable to damage from a subsequent ranged attack. Performing these moves in reverse will keep you alive and kicking while your opponent kicks the bucket. Gameplay is pretty solid, and it usually takes several hits to kill an opponent, eliminating any cheap one-off deaths.
Graphically, the game has a bit of a cartoonish look, but nothing overly cutesy. The animations are smooth and there is plenty of info at your disposal to make critical decisions without the need for guesswork. The character models are easy to differentiate, too. Blue circles indicate the squares that a squad member can move to, and orange circles show squares that can be attacked. While the game is presented in a 3D isometric viewpoint by default, there is also a button to switch to a 2D top-down view. The game can be played in either portrait or landscape with a simple turn of the device. There are ambient sounds to fill the dead time, and plenty of sound effects for moving, attacking, and the like. Touch controls are easy to use, though the isometric viewpoint often leads to tapping the wrong square. While it’s easily remedied by tapping elsewhere on the screen or hitting the undo button, it can be a bit annoying. Swiping your finger allows you to pan, pinching allows you to zoom, and twisting to fingers in a circular motion rotates the battlefield.
Replay value is very good, and it only stands to get better with future updates. While we really enjoyed the game in its current form, there is room for improvement. The time it takes the AI to move is significantly longer than in most other turn-based games we’ve played. Also, panning, rotating, and zooming don’t seem to work well during the AI’s turn. There is no social gaming network integration, but it’s not sorely missed. A universal app on launch sale for $1.99, Danger Alliance: Battles is a solid 4.5-Dimple addition to the turn-based genre.
Danger Alliance: Battles Review,