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iOS Review: The Hobbit- Kingdoms of Middle Earth
So The Hobbit is coming out very soon and the world seems to be in somewhat of a frenzy in regards to this blockbuster. The mobile gaming world is no exception with this new Android/iOS game hitting the most downloaded for a few days. I’m going to be reviewing the iOS version but apparently there are no differences in the game between platforms so Android users, you can benefit here too.
This is an RTS game from Kabam that focuses on a period of time in Middle Earth where the dwarves and elves are against one and other and goblins are just wreaking havoc, you pick a faction, either Dwarf or Elf, and begin your adventure. I picked the dwarves for no particular reason but also played at the elves and they’re no different in terms of attributes. Characters from the upcoming movie then start to teach you the ropes of managing your Dwarven city. You get the classic resources that are managed by farms,mines etc, Houses that raise population and barracks that train troops. This is all explained by your tutor (Either Thorin for dwarfs or Legolas for the elves) but sort of all at once, it gets a bit confusing and full on in the first few minutes of gameplay but you do pick it all up in time.
At the mention of time that brings me to my biggest gripe with this game, things take an inordinately large amount of time to finish. To elaborate, you need to raise your food production to build some units, level up your farms a few times and it takes a few minutes each time but once you’re around level 5/6 farms an upgrade can take 10 minutes! Research to improve production and units is also long winded often take hours to complete meaning this game isn’t something you sit down and play for an hour unless you want to watch a timer, no it’s a very “hop in-hop out” kind of game.
This is a free game but let me get something straight, this game seems to be designed to make you want to spend money. Mithril is the currency for purchasing special items and for speeding up processes and as aforementioned process times can be very long indeed. The huge problem is Mithril costs actual money and is barely every offered as a reward in-game so you really do have to fork out which I HATE in games. The worst thing a game can do in my opinion is force players to pay money to continue the experience of the game, either charge for the initial download or offer Mithril as rewards for things. After the protective shield over your city pops (Which after 7 days of gameplay or reaching a certain level) Mithril becomes a key element in the game making this a very valid issue.
Mithril is not the only issue that arises once your “Bubble pops”. KoM is designed to be social, it has chat sections and inter-player alliances where groups can form and protect one and other which is great until your bubble pops as once that happens you’re at the mercy of thousands of other players that can attack your city and steal your resources. In writing that seems like an exciting element to gameplay however my ‘Bubble’ popped last night and i was instantly met with an issue with this game. A player located near me on the map called “ashtead” who instantly began to attack and pillage my city over and over again. He then messaged me saying that I should give up and join his alliance, he basically was blackmailing me to join his group? This happened on a number of occasions and due to the long wait time for production I simply can’t defend myself rendering the game pointless.
The map is an easy to use interface and adds a great element of conquering the plains to gain production bonuses and relics, it’s also where you go to savage other players who are no longer protected. Alliances are a great mechanic and if you join a nice one they’ll really have your back creating a nice sense of community within the game which is only tainted by a few aggressive individuals. The gameplay itself is very addictive which make the terribly long production times even more of a pain and the lacking of free Mithril leaves huge portions of the game far less enjoyable than they could be. As a free app you can’t really complain at the graphics and entertainment value even if it does only last a few days although I will strongly encourage that if you want to play this game long term, join a very good Alliance as that would appear to be the key to succeeding. There are other RTS games on iOS Ive enjoyed far more and that have less issues than this but I will still suggest you give it a go nonetheless.
Version 2.1 was available from November 14th and was reviewed after 3 hours of gameplay on an iPhone 4. As usual all images are screenshots from my own game (Yes i’m Inelegance 774,388 coordinates so come and attack me all you want)