Jungle Heat

Jungle Heat (Nord Studios) came out way back in 2013, just one year after Clash of Clans. Amazingly, it has all the new features, mostly. It’s ignored the new stuff that makes it more playable, and has even managed to screw-up things that were working.

But first, what does a “Jungle Heat” theme look like? Not much. The heroes seem like characters from Vietnam war movies — green face paint, headbands, a guy named “machete fighter”, plus ever-popular Robot Santa Clause, and “Agent” (clearly Will Smith from Men in Black). One of the air units is a Black Hawk helicopter, which is a nice try (they weren’t in use until 1979, 4 years after the war ended). The fade-out/in effect is very leafy — it’s the most jungley thing in the whole game.

With that resolved, lets see what this ancient game kept up on. It’s got those defense buildings which pop out riflemen. It has the protect-my-neighbors building, and also the enhance-my-neighbors-power one. It’s got the super-cheesy customizable defense building, upgradable only with piles of gems (I hate these, but it’s a new invention which they took the time to copy). As noted, besides normal heroes there are bonus unlockable ones from the start. There’s a building which lets you spend Dark Matter for various 8-hour buffs. A new type of barracks has troops which cost gold&manna — that’s new. There’s a first-winning-attack-of-the-day loot bonus. It has Boom-Beach-style Idols. It’s even got a Builder Base — the separate small base where you have 1-on-1 duels seeing who can smash the other guy’s base more.

In short, it’s kept up with just about everything, and even tried some new stuff. And now the bad:

The map edges are frustratingly thin. What I mean is, in a normal clash-like, attacking troops can be deployed past edge of the map. Some people like to push their base against the sides, thinking those parts are safe, but they’re not. Well, in Jungle Heat hugging the edges is better. The part of the edge attackers can go in is so thin that it’s tricky to tap there. Now that I think about it, tapping anywhere except a completely open area is wonky in this game. Maybe to help with that, they added a toggle to let you place multiple troops at a time. It puts down all troops of that type. Why would anyone want to do that?

Bombs attack the nearest walls, making them less than useful. After putting holes in the outer layer, your next bombs will blow up every bit of it before going to the inner wall. And that’s if the defender hasn’t placed a single wall post in the middle of nowhere to distract them. The funny thing is there seems to be decent bomb AI — sometimes they avoid useless walls and head for the good ones, but rarely. To make up for the terrible AI, bombs only cost one space. I’ve taken to releasing bombs in waves.

Resting heroes are on your attack scroll bar. Let me explain: after heroes attack they need to rest, skippable if you spend gems. You can pay to wake them up from your Town Hall. Fair enough. But those same “pay gems to wake me up” heroes are wasting space on your freaking attack scroll bar. To get to your spells you’ve got to slide past the heroes you can’t use right now. All-in-all, I’m pretty happy when I get most of my troops about where I wanted them and didn’t spend too many gems by mistake.

The game has players! That’s not the bad thing. The bad thing is that in the course of being steam-rolled twice a day during events, I’ve noticed these TH12 monsters are getting a decent chunk of gold from me. Every other game adds a loot penalty to avoid that. Not Jungle Heat — go ahead and grief much lower level players.

Finally, there’s army training. It sucks. They didn’t add the rule where you can train up to double your army limit, which is merely disappointing. But they didn’t even add a button to retrain your old army. Even worse, they have one, but only to retrain instantly for gems, and it’s right in the middle of your barracks-training scroll, too. You have to go past that mocking “spend a pile of gems” menu every time you’re laboriously tapping your army back in.

It’s not a bad clash-like, except for being unplayable. I’m going to quit just as soon as I get to stage 45 of the NPC missions and rescue “Huntress”. You see, in the first two scripted scenes I had to build a cannon to defend against a bad guy, and then I was told he’s captured “Huntress” and I have to rescue her. That thrilling story has me hooked. I need to see how it ends.