[Game]Craft Warriors

On first look, “Craft Warriors” looks like another minecraft-themed barely-a-game. But once you puzzle it out, it’s a good, very original clash-like.

The main thing that stands out is attacking with only 6 units. The cool part is that left-over points can buy replacements, for when the first copy dies. Some people like to buy 1 extra copy of each, using the army in 2 waves. Or buy all expensive units and when they’re dead, they’re dead. I used to use 2 back-up archers, since so many accidents happen.

Even cooler, spells use the same system, out of the same pool. If you want 2 fireball spells, that uses 1 troop slot plus the point cost, coming out of your troop budget.

The units are nicely done – unique and none clearly better that any other. The second ranged troop out-damages archers, but can’t shoot things on top of towers (explained later). The Bandit is a tank/warrior hybrid with a small area attack (like CoC’s Valkyrie). The Paladin is tougher than your first tank, but more expensive, does less damage and slower. The ninja is mostly good against other troops, and climbs walls. There are 18 unit types, total. People seem to use them all about equally. My favorite is the spearman. If it has a straight line it charges for extra damage. Placed well, it can destroy one building after another. But anything blocking the path, or not enough distance, prevents a charge.

Defenses have a few clever bits. For the buildings full of defensive troops there’s no nonsense with clan donations or training. You set the troops for it, and you’re done. The AI is also pretty good at having them not rush to their deaths, and running them back to cover. There’s a trap that tosses attackers a few spaces away. The secret is throwing invaders into your base where they can be quickly killed (Clash of Clans “builder” bases did it first, but great artists steal). Another “trap” involves a pop-up wall. It works because the apparent gap lures troops in, then they’re stuck where you wanted them when the wall snaps into place.

Several defenses are line-of-site. If you put them next to something taller, they can’t shoot in that direction. Luckily, we have weapon towers. They’re just tall flat-topped blocks, but you can place a weapon on top. A few ranged troops can shoot directly at the weapon, but most need to beat the tower up first (the weapon drops to the ground, takes some damage, and keeps firing. It’s so cute).

Other nice features include automatic free trap resets, and no troop training times — you use attack tokens. Attacking doesn’t break shields. Building unlocks are based on your overall level, gotten from upgrading anything. The game even allows you to watch replays when the computer has someone attack a copy of your base (which happens a lot).

It’s called Craft Warriors because players can build the troops, lego-style, from lots of tiny blocks (yes, they’re 3D). There’s even a shop to buy other people’s models. As you’d guess, trademark violations are the most popular: DeadPool, Batman, DragonBall Z. Plus, of course, Nazis. The game has a dozen different races, but all they are is different character models. You can re-edit them with little tweaks, if you want. The weapons always stay the same, and are large, so you can figure out what the weirder designs really are.

[Game]PlanetStorm : Fallen Horizon

“PlanetStorm: Fallen Horizon” is mostly a 1/2-done version of Boom Beach, but it has some very nice parts.

It has two unique races. The troops are different, and they’re fine. But the defenses are really cool. The humans have a flamer — units take damage for a few seconds after being hit. The space-elves (more on that later) version is an electro-tower. Hits jump to several further targets, shredding archers hiding behind a tough-guy. The humans longest range weapon is an area-effect shotgun, while the space elves is a continuous-damage single-target beam weapon. The humans second cannon is pretty cool – every few seconds it picks one target and, over a second, fires 4 red blasts at it. The trickiest part is remembering how the other side’s weapons work.

The resources are carbon, iridium and uranium, mined from your asteroid (you base is a small asteroid). Wikipedia says carbon and iridium are what actual asteroid miners would probably dig for. This game is educational.

The intro is really something. First your derelict spaceship’s AI snidely rebukes you for fighting every scavenger you meet, sustaining all this damage. Your only hope is crash-landing on an abandoned mining asteroid (where the remains of your space ship become your HQ). A gruff drill sergeant yells at you for trespassing, then offers you some advanced units for an attack. You play through the battle. Next, a woman in low-cut space-elf armour does the same thing. After that battle your ship’s AI relays an overheard conversation about you being the chosen savior of the galaxy. Then you choose your race. Humans have “overwhelming power” and space elves have “high-tech”. Huh.

Next are some duds. You get 1 leader. There’s no explanation, no building, no way to upgrade it or even see stats. It just shows up for battles. This game also half-way uses the people/mech upgrade building idea. You get an overall upgrade building, then one for only machine troops, and a third for only human troops. The better scheme loses the first building — heavy tanks are completely serviced in the heavy tank building, and so on. There are also frequent guild events where only the top-scoring guilds get anything. I’m not a fan of those (even though my guild full of randoms came in 8th).

The most impressive things about PlanetStorm are the battle maps. The game studio, Aykiro, lists employees under two categories, Game Developers and Artists. Now I see why. One battle map is a raised rocky ring surrounded by talon-like rocks, a round pit-like moat then the blackness of space, with scorpions crawling in the pit. Another is an asteroid top in a beautiful panoramic view of an asteroid field, with meteors streaking by, exploding when they hit something. Another is a grassy island in a river with waterfalls – 2 baby dinos wander along a ledge and check you out; while a rare spiderpion walks out of a cave and back. The ice-floes area has a fat lizard man walking behind the ice piles, while angry yeti wander the snowy edges, roaring. My home base has a giant prowling sandwurm and a migrating dust tornado.

Even the main map has a Barbarella feel with churning brightly colored dust clouds and parallax as you slide the screen. It’s by far the most work I’ve ever seen on the environment in a game like this.


Interplanet starts off as a clever outer-space clash-like. Then it swerves when you realize your army is just a bunch of heroes, slowly leveling up. Then it goes nuts and turns into a persistent guild vs. guild conquer-the-galaxy.

The bases are very creative. Every building needs to connect through tubes, eventually to your HQ. Buildings come in different sizes, and 60-degree 3-way connectors exist, so things aren’t on a grid. There’s a real art to putting things where you want, connected. There are 2 races. The non-human one uses 5-way connectors — their bases are very geodesic-looking.

As a space game, everything attacks from longish range but it’s balanced nicely. Your “tough” spaceships still fly in front of your offensive ones, and about the usual number of defensive guns come into range as you advance. For spells, every ship has a 1-use special. Tough guys get a 6-second shield, archer’s get a mega-shot, the missile-ship launches a wide arc of doom. Traps are wonderful. You have 2 or 3 space mines, and that’s it, but the explosions are huge and deadly. Luckily the mine-sweeper special skill disarms mines in a large radius (as all skills, it has 1 use).

The army limit is funny. At first you have the basic point limit, allowing more and more ships. But there’s a hard limit of 15. I’m not sure what harm an army of 25 small ships would cause. But once you hit 15, all you can do is replace your cheap ships with more expensive ones. Now we’re in the problem area. The newer ships you get are simply better visions of tough-guys and archers. There’s not a lot of variety.

And we’re finally at the real problem. It’s a hero game. Your ships don’t die, and need to be leveled-up and upgraded from C to B to A to be useful. It takes lots of time and space-gold to get a useful ship. You’re locked into using your 15 good ships in every attack (I tried easy raids with 15 cheap-o ships. Died too fast without getting much loot).

The game is old-school about how often you can attack. Damaged ships need time to repair. At mid-level destroyed ships take 12 minutes, and at least one ship is always destroyed. It’s a 12-minute wait between battles. It also costs money, lots of money. A fully destroyed fleet will bankrupt you.

The game has some minor silliness. The buildings, even the guns, look alike – lots of shiny grey. I think they realized this too late, so now defensive buildings have crisp icons over them during attacks. Weapons also have a paper/rock/scissors mechanic against types of armour. You can’t do much with it though. It’s best ignored. The gold-targeting “goblin” spaceship doesn’t even have the weapon type that hurts gold vaults more.

There’s a really cool feature allowing you to fly your base next to a planet. Normally you’re in black, empty space. If you build and upgrade the planet-finding building and do a day-long planetary survey, you can move your base. All you have to do is beat the computer-controlled base guarding it. Once there you get bonuses to production for a few days. You see the bonuses in advance, so you get into a cycle of researching a few candidate planets before you have to move again. The art is beautiful “majesty of space” 2.5D style. Finding a planet is worth it for that alone.

Eventually, you unlock Conquest Mode. It’s a different game. There’s one big map where every guild fights over the best planets. You bring in your spaceships but they’re completely different: the stats are different, attacking a planet takes hours of travel, and battles are text reports. It’s another version of Game of War:Fire Age. As usual, the strongest guilds camp out on the best planets, getting the best spaceship equipment, pilots, and so on. You need to keep on with the clash-like part since ships come from there. So now you’re playing 2 different games at once. I don’t see the point. How many people want to mix a 3-minute casual action game with an ultra-competitive action-less one?

I should have known there was a problem early on. The game showers you with free gold. That’s always a bad sign. After a full month I had upgrades I couldn’t possibly steal enough gold for, except for the saved-up free gold packs in my mailbox. When a game isn’t interested in having you just play it that’s a sign they know it’s not fun.