Royal Revolt 2
Gameplay - 8.5
Presentation - 7
Freeness - 9
Lifespan - 7.5
Royal Revolt 2 is a surprisingly addictive and charming game combining the best of tower-defence and resource-gathering games, without ever really testing the bank balance. This is free-to-play gaming at it's best.
It’s dangerously addictive and packed full of character, with an impressive amount of content at launch, and almost endless possibilities for future expansion. Taking a detour from the usual free-to-play games which try and enforce microtransactions at every opportunity, Royal Revolt 2 is an enjoyable and complete experience that proves that free-to-play games doesn’t have to mean low quality.
In essence Royal Revolt 2 is a reverse tower defence game. The player leads an attacking force as they try and conquer an enemy settlement, tackling enemy soldiers, barricades and towers firing everything from arrows to bombs and poisonous skulls.
However, there’s more to Royal Revolt 2 than it might first seem.
The game is broken down into three main areas. The first is about amassing resources and building a thriving settlement to provide food, gold and troops for the army. Constructing and upgrading properties leads to faster build ups of resources and access to new troops, spells and traps for use during battles.
For example, upgrading the Troop Academy grants new types of soldier for battle, stemming from the rather mundane, but surprisingly effective, Knight to more destructive classes like Cannons or Frosters, ice-themed magic users that are hugely effective against enemy troops.
Buildings require Gold and workers to construct. At first players have two workers, meaning that two constructions or upgrades can be going on at once, but players can choose to pay to upgrade to three workers.
The constructions generally only take a short amount of time, often less than an hour, though some can take considerably longer. Regardless, paying for an extra worker never really feels worthwhile, and it’s more than possible to survive without forking out the cash.
Similarly, there’s the option to pay for instantaneous completion of a building task, but again this never really feels worth it, and the amount of gems (the currency used for microtransactions) this requires can be ridiculous. Spending more than £1 to finish a single construction just seems a bit too steep.
Food is more of an issue, as it can take a while to accumulate enough for battles.
Each time a battle is fought the amount of food required goes up a little bit more, until it can quickly require hundred food per fight. This makes using gems and cash to pay for instantaneous stocks of food is sorely tempting sometimes, though again, a little bit of patience renders this pretty easy to resist.
If anything, the enforced wait for construction tasks and food restocks is a good thing. The game is surprisingly addictive, and quite often the only thing to encourage a break is the simple fact that there aren’t enough resources to make any more moves.
One problem with the construction aspect is the extremely rigid layout of the town. It’s not possible to customise the location of buildings, or to give the castle any real character, which is a great shame. The player-character isn’t customisable either which is hugely disappointing.
Swords and Strategy
The second area is the battles themselves. Players lead their troops to attack another player’s castle within a certain time limit, earning gold for winning, as well as cups, which affect the game’s leaderboard, and medals, which count towards daily tournaments.
Before the battle, players get to choose which troops to utilise (from a roster of 8 once all upgrades are constructed) and which spells and scrolls to equip.
Spells are special powers that can be utilised at periodic intervals, often to wreak huge damage on enemy soldiers and traps. For example, Hammerstrike, the very first spell, is extremely effective at tearing through enemy defences after a few upgrades.
Scrolls, on the other hand, are even stronger abilities that require gems to utilise. It’s easy to use a huge amount of gems up on scrolls. The frantic nature of the battles, especially in a timed environment, can easily lead to knee-jerk reactions that can tear through supplies of gems in no time at all.
The game doesn’t typically seem too strategic, but the battles are surprisingly complex. Troops can be deployed gradually as a meter fills up along the bottom of the screen, meaning that an almost continuous stream of troops can appear. The challenge comes later in the battles when new troops are deployed.
Troops appear at the very beginning of the path, regardless of how advanced the rest of the army is. This can often mean that it takes troops 20 seconds or more to get from deployment to the actual battle, and this has to be carefully considered when storming ahead. It’s all too easy to get caught at the front with hardly any troops and a huge time gap until any more can join up. It sounds like a simple dynamic, but it adds a deeper element to the gameplay.
Defending the Tower
While not a traditional tower defence game, the final aspect of Royal Revolt 2’s gameplay is the defence of the castle. Other gamers will regularly attack a player’s castle, and it’s important to establish strong defences to ward off their attacks, otherwise gold supplies can dwindle extremely quickly as other players make off with the money.
Constructing a defence is great fun, with options to customise traps, the path itself and to upgrade your castle gate to allow more traps and higher health points. The formula for an effective defence does seem a bit too predictable though. Clustering as many traps and towers in a small area as possible is definitely the most effective tactic, and it’s one that players have latched on to quickly, making attacking difficult.
It’s only a little niggle though, and actually creating an effective defence is intriguing, and not too time consuming. The little notifications filling the player in on how their defences have fared against other players are always satisfying, and it’s exciting that the game carries on even while the player is sleeping or at work.
Charming and colourful
All in all the gameplay is surprisingly addictive, and surprisingly complex for such a simple-looking game. It doesn’t hurt that it’s all presented in a very cute style, with really short loading times and extremely smooth graphics. The music does get a little bit irritating, especially after playing for a while, but it’s easy enough to turn the sound off.
On an iPad the controls are mostly effective, though the button to use scrolls is irritatingly placed in the top right of the screen, which, more often than not, is the direction to head in. It’s worrying to think how many gems must have been accidentally used because of such a simple misplacement of the button.
Free-to-Play or Fee-to-Play?
In comparison to a lot of free-to-play games, Royal Revolt 2 is largely free. With a little bit of patience, there isn’t really any reason to purchase more gems. In fact, the game gives them out at a surprisingly rapid rate for completing quests, which can be as simple as collecting a certain amount of loot or destroying a certain amount of barricades.
The only tempting purchase is the opportunity to buy an extra troop slot for battles. Only being allowed to select two types of troops out of eight possibilities per battle is a difficult decision, but it just isn’t worth spending £3 to unlock the extra slot.
In short, the game’s huge amounts of fun without splashing any cash.
All in all, Royal Revolt 2 is a thoroughly entertaining game, combining the best of resource-gathering and tower defence games.
The game progresses at a decent pace, meaning that it never really convinces players of the need to spend cash on speeding things up, and it’s wrapped up in a charming visual style with a surprising amount of character.
There’s plenty of content to be getting on with even now, and there’s huge scope for expanding the title even further to really keep players hooked.
An expansive, fun and addictive experience that never requires to player to fork out any cash; isn’t that what every free-to-play game should be?
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