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We are what we think & my blog entries reflect how I think. Have a sip of the poison of my mind.. It's not always lethal.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Territory War & Bits of English Humour

Of course everyone who owns an iPhone or an iPad ought to know about the little gem of a tower defense strategy game Plants Vs Zombies. The sense of humour in this game is yummylicious and adds to the fun which is already yummyliciously fun on its own. I've completed the game many times over since each update brings with it more new mini game modes, extending the game's playability.

Since I like playing tower defense strategy games on my iPhone (as I have a mobile need to become smarter than I already am stupid), I went on a hunt today for more games from this genre and bumped into Territory War which shares lots of gameplay similarities with Plants Vs Zombies. Only thing missing is the clever humour though; at least I haven't come across any so far yet up till the current level I've reached within the game.

The story is about the struggle between the Roman empire and the Gallic tribes which was an actual incident in history. Remember those Asterix & Obelisk comics you read when you were in school? Well, the game shares the same timeline of events as the comic series.

Upgraded archers with ATMs at the back
You start the game with only Legionnaire archers shooting normal arrows and they can be upgraded to shoot fire-arrows as the game progresses, complete with new shiny armor. When I reached the second level of the game, I was wondering why I couldn't generate more gold to build more troops when it dawned on me quickly that the unit 'ATM' is the one that produces the gold to finance your war effort. They function just like the sunflowers in PvZ.

Ok, I did mention that there wasn't any humour within the game, so if you do appreciate the usage of the term 'ATM' to describe a gold resource-producing unit, then by all means, help yourself here and giggle.

More units join in the fray
Anyway, what bugged me initially about the game was that there is no adequate tutorial and I had to figure things out on my own. Good thing the game shares lots of similarities with PvZ, my experience with it did cut down lots of the learning curve for Territory War. In comparison, it all boils down to: instead of plants, you have Legionnaires.

Another thing that bugs me is that instead of the grid format used in PvZ where all you have to do to place a unit on the map is to tap on its portrait and then tap on the selected grid to place the unit there, you have to drag the portrait of the unit to the space on the map instead. I'm sure you can imagine here the unintended 'accidents' that can happen if you are not careful enough when you need to use fingers to drag things across the iPhone's small screen. iPadders ought to have a breeze with this though.

The battle heats up
Just like PvZ, once any enemy trooper reaches the far left of the screen where your base is, it's game over. So the essence of the game mechanics and objective here is to make the most effective use of each unit's strengths and combine them together to destroy the enemy in the most efficient manner before they can reach your base. You win each level when you have obliterated every single wave of enemies the level throws at you.

You have to experiment with and figure out the most effective combos of units for your own style of playing and strategy and once you've mastered one style, you can experiment with another. That's the fun part of tower defense games. Different gamers have different gaming styles and whoever said that it's impossible to please everyone must have never played games before.

Getting mobbed
I'm not done with the entire game yet but so far, it seems that every unit can be upgraded as you progress further. And oh, just like PvZ, there are even those levels where you have to place units on bodies of water. In this game, you use wooden planks for that. I'm still stuck at one of such levels because I'm always getting overwhelmed by hordes of enemies before I could fortify my positions properly (right pic). There must be ways to pwn this level and the fun lies in discovering how to.

Every game has its share of bugs and this one is no exception. So far, the minor bug I've discovered is that if you turn off the music at the start of a level, it will reset itself to max volume again automatically when you progress to the next subsequent level or if you restart the same level. A minor thing, but an update to address this bug would be nice.

All in all, I enjoy playing this one so far and hope that some time in the near future, the developers will implement the tap-grid system for this fun little game. And I also have the feeling that by the time I reach the end of the game, my affinity towards it ought to be on par as the affinity I have towards PvZ.

And no, I don't play Angry Birds since I'm never comfortable with anything that has gone into 'mainstream' territory as well as crowd herd mentality. I've never liked crowds anyway, they can make me angry when they behave like kuku birds.

In other news, me & my Lioness went to watch a midnight movie - the British comedy Johnny English Reborn. The movie was supposed to start at 23:20pm and I was out playing Territory War. I didn't fulfill my plan of going home to prepare to go to the cinema because I was too engrossed with the game and ended up with my Lioness having to go over to where I was outside to meet me before heading to the cinema together.

So did I find the movie nice? Come on, it's Rowan Atkinson; the same guy who played Mr Bean. So you tell me if he's funny or not. Besides, it's British Humour, for laughing out loud; something that has a lot of bite and class at the same time. Anyway, the whole cinema was laughing all the way from beginning to end and it was a jolly good time.

Oh, and since it's British humour, there isn't anything unacceptably stupid regarding the storyline or script. However, there was something during the final scene that seemed too good, or rather, too 'accurate' to be true - I won't ruin it for you here if you haven't watched the movie yet but during that scene, Johnny's aim seemed a little too coincidental in terms of hitting the mark.

Actually, he wasn't even aiming since he didn't realize yet that the gadget in his hands was actually a weapon. However, if I were to think along the lines of: 'Hey, they are government-sponsored agents with state-of-the-art technology, so that gadget ought to have some auto-lock feature on the nearest metallic object', then everything kinda fall sensibly into place for me.

Besides, Johnny did have that gadget pointed in the general direction towards the target anyway even though he wasn't specifically aiming at it. Good enough for me when the line of thought mentioned above comes into play.

So leave your Grouch Mode at home and go watch the movie with lightheartedness. It's bloody hilarious and tickles your funny bones, mate.

- De Lion Speaks

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