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Raid Leader Review
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Raid Leader, a fantasy RTS battler developed by Red Zebra Games and published by Crescent Moon Games, is now available from the app store. If you’ve never been into raiding and fantasy battles before, Raid Leader is a great way for new players to learn, though the seasoned vets may look elsewhere to get their fix.

Raid Leader Pros:

  • Colorful presentation and a variety of boss types
  • Brooding soundtrack
  • Line-drawing mechanics for moving and fighting
  • Special abilities for each character can be purchased and upgraded
  • GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements

Raid Leader Cons:

  • Some control confusion due to using same mechanic for different actions
  • Easy to mistake Priest and Hunter for one another
  • Grinding is necessary to obtain all possible abilities without resorting to IAP

You are tasked with leading a team of three characters (Knight, Hunter, and Priest) into battle against a series of bosses, eschewing the typical luxury of wiping out throngs of weaker minions in-between. Each character has his own strengths and weaknesses, which must be leveraged appropriately to take down each of the 15 bosses successfully. The Knight can take a pretty good beating, but his melee attack puts him in close proximity to the boss by nature. The Hunter cannot withstand a lot of punishment, though his ranged attacks usually keep him out of harm’s way. The Priest can heal the other heroes, but only from within a certain range, which often puts him in danger. Characters also can purchase a number of special abilities to enhance their powers, though only 2 per character can be taken into battle. Upgrades to these abilities can also be purchased using coins earned while doing battle. Moving your team around the screen is as simple as drawing a path for them to follow. Careful management of each character’s positioning and health are crucial to survival, making for a frantic experience as you coordinate your movements with the unique attack patterns of each boss. We found the first few battles to be quite easy, though the difficulty ramped up before too long and we really had to think through our strategy.

Graphically, Raid Leader has a fairly zoomed-out viewpoint that makes the characters appear small. At this length, fine detail is lost, characters can be confused for one another, and there’s a feeling of detachment from the inherently dangerous situations that they are in. Movements by both the heroes and villains feel a bit wooden and unnatural, and the villain attack patterns are pretty easy to pick up on and avoid before too long. The backgrounds are somewhat sparse, too, lacking the great visuals that we’ve come to expect as of late. The soundtrack is brooding, giving a bit of a doom-and-gloom feel to the gameplay. Controls are easy to use, as you simply draw a line from your character to the point that you want him to move to or the enemy that you want him to attack. Occasionally, you’ll need to tap on-screen to destroy ice blocks or squish worms. Tapping is also used to activate a character’s special ability, which usually requires a cooldown period before it can be used again. While the controls are intuitive, there is a good deal of confusion between moving and healing/attacking, as the same gesture controls both. Also, if characters get bunched, selecting the correct one can take some additional shuffling.

Replay value is decent, as there are always different strategies to use, different special abilities to take into battle, battle times to reduce, and more coins to earn. Other than forking over some real cash, you’ll certainly need to grind a bit to earn the coins necessary to purchase some of the pricier items, as well as fully upgrade the ones that you own. The unlockable arenas are also good places to go to earn some gold. Multiple profiles are supported, so you can have a few different games going without impacting one another. GameCenter integration allows for global leaderboards, as well as a couple dozen achievements to snag. A universal app for $0.99, Raid Leader is a watered-down yet enjoyable 4-Dimple offering.

Raid Leader Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2012-02-12T18:39:09+00:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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