Oooo… the carnival’s in town! Probably one of the best days in any little child’s life would be witnessing the clowns along with winning overly large, stuffed animals as prizes. I, for one, have always been a fan of carnival games and carnival-esc themes, but Battle of Puppets seems to fall off its strings.
Now don’t get me wrong, Battle of Puppets is far from a carnival game, as it’s more about strategy and “Age of War” type of gameplay rather than skee-ball or those claw machines used to grab little animals. But if there was one thing that I would have to commend, it would be the impeccable artwork that seems almost synonymous to the word “aesthetics”.
And while Battle of Puppets has some positives, it’s mostly draped in shallow gameplay.
Artwork: Artwork, like I mentioned before, was more than I expected. Everything you see in the screenshots appears right on the game screen along with being brightened up a bit on the iPhone screen. Every little detail of the artwork was present, and believe me, I was more than surprised when I saw the string carry the deceased puppet to who knows where.
Balance: There’s a true balance in the gameplay, and while I found it quite easy, it was well balanced throughout my whole playtime. If you forgot to upgrade your fortress, the other, demonic puppets would eventually overrun your castle and slap you in the face with a Game Over. If you did upgrade your fortress when upgrades were available, you’ll be just fine. While it does require you to pay attention throughout the whole level, it isn’t as bad as you might think it is; requiring little to no perfection.
Upgrades: There should be some sort of upgrade system for your troops, as in leveling them up or giving them special abilities. Each unit has a certain amount of damage and health level; it would be somewhat acceptable to request health upgrades or damage upgrades. Instead, puppets seem to be without modifications or ugrades.
Shallow: There’s really no depth to this game, and it’s definitely a little too casual. For all the maps on the normal difficulty level, I’ve been able to use the cheapest and lowest soldier to defeat every single enemy that has come my way, and it almost becomes repetitious after that. There’s pretty much no strategy involved, not even some sort of rock-paper-scissors strategy like that of Trenches. No depth = FAIL.
Speed: Basically, the game is slow. Please add a double speed button; it would be so much easier to bear the burden.
OpenFeint: I’ve become so spoiled that in every casual game, I demand a social platform (preferably OpenFeint). The lack of achievements, leaderboards, challenges, and any other type of replay value booster doesn’t do the game much good, as a casual game such as this requires large amounts of replay value. I’m pretty sure the developers are listening and reading, and I sincerely believe OpenFeint should be implemented.
Battle of Puppets is a mere mock-up of Age of Wars or, more iPhone-related, Trenches; and it completely falls apart due to the shallow gameplay. The game, for now, has large amounts of potential to fulfill that could easily be filled after one or two significant updates. If you’ve read all the glowing reviews, I’m going to be the devil’s advocate and declare Battle of Puppets as not enough.