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Unending Conflict: Army of Ages

When aliens Start invading our planet, it is up to us humans to hold the fort and keep the invaders out. This is the core scenario of Army of Ages game, a combat simulation game that encompasses several major periods in the evolution of human society -in particular, its military strength as you face off invading alien invaders.

The starts players off from the pre-historic age of cave dwelling humans -brandishing clubs and slingshots, you must carefully guide your troops to victory as they hold back the gigantic alien insects. The game takes plenty of liberties with history and fiction as it combines some of the most interesting and amusing weapons with concepts and ideas. To take the battle into the skies, the cavemen will be able to mount various dinosaurs in order to increase their offensive capabilities. As the game progresses, so does the human faction -from the cave to the stars, various stages of the evolution of human armies are shown in the game.

Simple Controls, Extensive Combat

First time players should take full advantage of the game's tutorial feature. Not only can you learn all the important controls of the game, this also lets you earn plenty of experience points and money to start your game with (just keep playing the tutorial and do not build a ranged unit when the game tells you to do so). Anyway, the only thing you need to do is to build facilities which will train troops. These training facilities also allow you to invest money for upgrading training duration, movement speed, defense and attack parameters. Once a troop is trained, it will automatically march on its' own. All you can do is pause Tthe production of troops or sell structures to build new ones.

The troops will march and kill any aliens they encounter, with the goal being the destruction of the alien structure on the extreme right edge of the stage. The aliens on the other hand, are aiming to destroy your home base on the left. There are no complicated troop placements or other factors to consider -all the enemies will come from only one direction, and you can only attack and defend in a single method. It all boils down to having the best combination of troops charging out.

At any given time, you can have 6 different kinds of structures churning out troops. But this does not mean you need all the types on the field. With a maximum of having only 30 units at any given time, players must decide and determine which troop formation works best for a given situation. Remember, the alien army is constantly evolving and changing as well, so being able to adjust your strategy fast is a key factor to surviving the battle.

The Evolutions

As you may have guessed, evolution is a key factor in this game. As you beat (and get beaten by) aliens, players not only earn gold, but they also earn experience points. These points can be used to upgrade your army or as mana for casting special weapon attacks. There is one special attack per evolution phase and previous special attacks are still available in later transformations

The risk with evolving is that it completely wipes out all you troops in the map. What this means is that you will have no troops, no defenses, and a large alien army barreling towards your way. The key here is that prior to evolving, you must sell off all your turrets and facilities, and also, bring the speed down to 1x. Once you have evolved, quickly set down two troop production facilities and max out their production speed. If you can afford it, a turret or two would also help.

There are a total of 5 evolutions available. The first is the default pre-historic generations (this uses a small meteor from the sky as a special weapon). The next is a medieval period, where you will have knights and archers (special weapon: rain of arrows). The next stage is more fictional than the others: a post-Victorian steampunk generation armed with muskets and bizarre mechanical units. Their special weapon is a giant gear that rolls across the screen. The modern era brings forth tanks, fighter planes and infantry armed with automatic rifles; the special weapon used is carpet bombing. Lastly, the futuristic race stands as a possible direction for the human army. Armed with laser rifles and exoskeletons and a powerful special weapon that decimates half of the screen that it lands on, this future army is often the troops that players have when are finally able to destroy the alien base.

Single Stage Game

Army of Ages game is only one stage, but it is a long one at that. As stated, you start out with the very first evolution and as you earn experience points, you will have the option of moving on to the next evolutionary phase. It basically plays a lot like a strategic tug of war game, with your troops and the aliens slowly advancing on each other. While you cannot control troop movement, planning the upgrades for production and movement speed as well as toggling the controls from paused to resume affects the order of your troops as they march on the field.

Visual Delivery

With so many elements present onscreen at any given time, Army of Ages manages to deliver to a decent visual representation of your troops, the aliens and the combat happening between the two. That being said, expect to get a bit of a slowdown on lower spec devices (even at lowest quality graphic settings). The various troops and alien units are all uniquely designed, allowing you to easily distinguish and appreciate the new troops that are fighting for you. While the main facilities could have used a bit of a visual update in design, they are simple to figure out and are easy on the eyes. We also appreciated the fact that the special weapons actually look good when unleashed on field -making them both effective in combat and visually satisfying to see.

The Verdict

If you were hoping for a game with actual historical accuracy or at least a semblance of realism, this game will certainly disappoint. Even sans the alien invaders, the depiction of prehistoric man charging in with dinosaurs and Wright-brothers inspired airplanes with flapping wings is simply way off the factual category. That being said, as a game, Army of Ages is a gemstone and is most certainly worth a play. Expect to spend a little over an hour here as you maintain a battle of attrition against an insect-alien horde. It may seem frustrating for some, but it is actually quite fun once you get used to it. There is also a bit of depth in terms of being to create a strategic attack, though it means having a better grasp of the controls. In the end, all that really matters is getting a hang of the game and you can start having fun. For its interesting gameplay idea, nicely made graphics and decent lifespan, Army of Ages is an instant casual gaming classic. We give this game a pteradon-mounted caveman's 85/100.

We can only hope for a sequel - Army of Ages 2 to build upon the success of the first game.