The really unique thing about Battle Islands is it has combined land, sea and air fighting. I wish I liked it more.
In a really slick move, attacking armies are trained in a barracks, a harbor and a hanger, each with it’s own troop points. Attacking armies will always be land, sea and air.
Your base is several islands. You start with 1 and get more as you level up, which must be connected (the game adds a little bridge when you move them close enough). Not only will enemy ships be sailing around, bombarding the coasts, but you have deep-sea oil wells, plus your defensive harbor with boats that come out when the enemy gets too close.
The units are the usual mix of attack priorities, but more-so — fighter planes prefer other air targets, but can hit anything; submarines can only torpedo other ships (I assume they are very good at it), battleships prefer to bombard land defenses, sailing around the islands to reach them. And the enemy force will always have all those things to target. It seems like you have a lot of interesting choices.
Each building comes with its own walls (if you want to play it, tap a building’s “reinforce” button). Sandbags at first, then adds really pretty concertina wire across the top. Put 2 reinforced buildings together and the bags combine into a pretty ring around both. It looks like it was fun to program. But it misses the point of walls. The fun part is deciding how to arrange your limited supply. If every building has walls, it’s the same as making all buildings a little tougher.
The cutest thing: troops come in 5-man landing ships. You don’t do anything to get them. When you tap to place an infantry unit, it places up to 5 in a free landing ship. It can be fired upon and can sink, killing the occupants. But that’s fine, since you can upgrade them.
One change I’m not sure I love is having only one resource: “supply”. With 2, there’s always one you currently care less about than the other. Having 1, with your only goal to get more of it, just feels funny.
I can’t believe this is a down-side for me, but the art and theme are oppresively bland. Generic, Americanish WWII troops and buildings. Functional, flat islands. I should like the Quonset huts, corrigated steel and muddy tarps over the machine-guns. But there’s not a hint of backstory or personality. The escorts look like P-38’s, the bombers look like Liberators, in a generic way. The effects for the sea are terrific, but feel wrong. I’ve never been attacked, so that might be part of it.
This game might have a lot of potential for really involved attacks. And maybe it opens up and gets busier with another town-hall level or two. At the very least, someone should rip-off the air/sea/land idea.