Tribal Trouble


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JohnBTribal Trouble is a downloadable real-time strategy game for Windows, Mac or Linux. Compared to most RTS games, Tribal Trouble is easy to learn and to pick-up and play, yet it still offers a deep strategy that takes time to master. The game, created by Oddlabs, has earned many words of praise, including being a finalist for an IGF award for technical excellence, a spot on Game Tunnel's Top Indie Games of the Year list, and some impressive sales and downloads statistics.

tribaltrouble.jpgThe story may sound serious, but the tone of Tribal Trouble is quite light-hearted: A group of vikings were sailing the South Seas when they crashed near a set of small islands. As vikings are apt to do, pillaging and plundering quickly ensued. Of course the native islanders weren't too pleased with these newcomers and their looting, so they picked up spears and stood their ground, competing with the foreigners for land, resources, and their lives.

Nearly everything in Tribal Trouble is based on gathering and using four main resources: wood, rock, iron and chicken. Yes, chickens are a resource. You can build the game's three basic structures right off the bat and never have to worry about upgrading them later on. Peons even harvest the materials automatically. This lets you jump right into the game without having to worry about managing statistics early on.

tribaltrouble2.jpgAfter settling in you'll want to amass an army to defend yourself and/or conquer your foes. Tribal Trouble simplifies all of these tasks into one central hub: the Armory. Once you build this structure everything you need to create warriors is just a few clicks away. Fill the Armory with peons, click on the building and start giving orders. First you'll need to send workers out to gather resources. Then, turn those resources into weapons that will go into the hands of your trained warriors.

A major part of the strategy in the game is deciding where to allocate your peons and which resources to hoard. Wood is the most abundant but produces the weakest warriors. Chicken is the most difficult resource to find but, surprisingly, will create a powerful fighter.

Tribal Trouble offers three modes of play: a single-player campaign, online multiplayer, and a solo battle mode. Campaign includes dozens of unique missions for both the vikings and natives and will keep you busy for quite some time. The real fun begins when you take your tribal troublings online and battle against players from around the world.

Analysis: As a genre, real-time strategy games are notoriously time-consuming. It can take hours just to learn how to play, and missions can devour whole afternoons. As a self-confessed gamer-gone-casual, I've gradually turned away from these games simply because I don't want to invest so much time into them. But along comes Tribal Trouble and breaks some of those conventions. It manages to gather most of the strategic elements from RTS games without all the complexities.

Tribal Trouble's interface is very clean and easy to use. Every action has a corresponding icon and keyboard shortcut, great for beginners and experienced players alike. I was impressed by the fluid camera controls that let me do everything from tilt, rotate and seamlessly zoom with the touch of a button. There's nothing like pulling the camera behind my warrior's shoulders when they move in for the attack.

On the down side, Tribal Trouble does suffer from a few minor issues. When you order peons to gather materials, they'll strike out across the island to find what they need, even if that means walking right into an enemy's camp. Then you're forced to deal with the inevitable attack. And if too many peons are assigned to one task they'll clump in useless groups rather than spread out to get more work done. There are a few annoyances of this nature, but nothing you won't quickly learn to work around.

Tribal Trouble should satisfy most RTS fans but is especially well-suited for casual gamers. The game has a lot of little perks and ends up being just plain fun. No serious real-time strategizing, no losing sleep over missions, just a few vikings and a few native islanders duking it out with spears made out of chickens.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version


[Jay adds: Tribal Trouble is an excellent casual game and one that we highly recommend. It is also a game from which we will benefit when you purchase the full version. These sponsored game reviews provide us a way of informing you about the best downloadable casual games available, while giving you another way to help support this site via your purchase. We will continue to provide sponsored reviews only for games we emphatically endorse.]

38 Comments

OK, I found the demo version pretty bogus, and here is why: OK, so they don't want me to have the full features of the game, no problem, I understand. However, it is pretty lame to give the computer opponant the full features so there is no way you can really play a demo game. The computer AI player is throwing iron warriors at me and I am supposed to put up a fight with stone warriors? Weak. In a demo I want to be able to at least play a sample game (even if just a partial one) to see if I like it or not.

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Hmm, I haven't played it yet, but I'm about to. In the meantime, I really dislike apps that spew icons up my start menu and on my desk top. Sure, in this case it's just 1 extra on my start menu and two (one to start the game) on my desktop, but that's 3 too many! It still takes a few seconds to delete. Especially after it put many other icons in its own start group.

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... And it wanted to speak to the local network (and maybe the internet). I denied it. It does not need to.

The next problem: Java. Ugh.

And the final problem: It appears to not like my graphics drivers, and crashed with a message (which, given Windows' inability to copy from dialog box text, I'm unable to paste here).

Oh, well. Back to DragonFable (previously reviewed on JIG).

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This is way too cool!! Love the trial. Those guys complaining don't know what they're talking about. There's nothing to not like about it. $30 for the full version is a bargin for this. I would buy it but my wife would see the charge and have a cow.

The graphics are awesome and the sound is great. You can zoom in to see their faces. Pan around and up & down. Fast and easy to use quick keys. Not boring at all and you can set the speed. Less intense than AOE but more fun. This is crazy wild wacky funny stuff. Great battles too.

I played DragonFable and this is way better. I couldn't get off of the thing. If I could change anything about it, just the peons wandering way too far, but that's probably because I need bigger islands. It should be easier to select exactly how many peons you want gathering certain stuff instead of counting clicks. And something showing how many peons are collecting which resource would be handy.

Thanks for pointing out something else to occupy my time when I should be working :)

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Before I try this, I'd like the reviewer to explain how (and if) the game is any better than any other of the millions of RTS games that are practically the same. Strip away the graphics and sound and story, and look at the game engine. Is it anything but clicking on resources, then on a building, then on a soldier, and then on the enemy? Is the player who clicks on them fastest going to win? Is there anything resembling strategy?

If you're going to recommend stuff to buy, you're going to have to sell it to us.

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Well said Beef.

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Beef: The major difference between Tribal Trouble and many other RTS games is that you don't have to divide your attention between resources, building new structures and raising an army of dozens of differen fighters. Everything is done from one central location (unless you build additional Armories), so fast clicking isn't the chief factor in who wins, it's unit management. Keeping peons in your base will earn you more units at a faster rate. But while they're there, they can't be turned into warriors or gather materials to help the army. Do you hold them back or send them out? Do you go for the easy resources (which build weak warriors) or venture out and search for iron or chickens to create a stronger army? Do you defend your home or become the first to strike? There are many more questions to consider as well...

So yes, there is strategy in Tribal Trouble. It isn't as intricate as other RTS games, but it's certainly there. It strikes a good balance between thinking/planning and simple fun.

Satya: Tribal Trouble might be trying to update via the internet. Not letting it check could be the source of some of your troubles. :-)

Flakey: Yes, unfortunately the demo is missing one building and the Chieftain unit. You can still get a good feeling for the game and try out the multiplayer. Many of the players online were using the demo copy.

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Well, it looks great, but it crashes on my computer becase of some pixel thing. I think it couldn't find a good resolution... maybe its because I'm using a dell notebook, and the screen is small?? Anyways, it crashes every time! :(

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Tried the demo.

Annoyances:
- Extra useless icons made by the installer. Annoying.
- When you start the game, the very first thing it does is change my screen resolution, thus horking up all my carefully placed desktop icons. NEVER CHANGE SOMEBODY'S RESOLUTION WITHOUT ASKING. Ever. This alone was enough to almost make me delete the thing without trying it.
- It's a time limited demo AND it's a functionality limited demo? Pick one. Let me play the full game for a limited time or let me play part of the game forever.

Things that need improvement:
- Having a rally point for the quarters is a bit pointless. Why not just have them go straight to the armory, since that's the only reason I'd take them out of there in the first place. At least let me set the armory as the rally point, to make them go right on in.
- Instead of having to manually drag my guys back into the armory when they're gathering stuff, why not let me manage them right from the armory? The counter that I increase to send guys out to get wood, for example.. Have it always show how many guys I have out getting wood. Then I can use the decrease button to bring some of them back in. If you're going to centralize resource management, then really centralize it, don't do this halfway thing.
- The game is *extremely* susceptible to grunt rushing. If I build quarters and dump all my guys in there, then I can have 50 peons by the time the other guy gets an armory built, rush him with those peons, and destroy him easily.
- It needs a fog of war. That would reduce grunt rushing, as well as make it more difficult to determine the best starting location, as the resources would be hidden. As it stands, you just have to look around for an area with tons of rocks and iron and such and stick the armory smack in the middle of that. A short while later, you can pop out a ton of warriors and rush the enemy.

It's a fun game and easy to play, but weak as an RTS. The whole game consists of figuring out the best way to rush the enemy. There's no real management involved. Entertaining nevertheless, but weak as a multiplayer game.

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I think, if you update it to the latest version, the demo is no longer time limited.

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Sara - Looking into your problem, I'll post a reply as soon as I have one for you.

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Sara - here is the response I just received from Oddlabs, and it seems that it's a relatively common problem...

It sounds like the user needs to update the graphics card drivers. It is a typical problem with older drivers that has problems with OpenGL. We have a guide to help people with driver upgrade here: http://oddlabs.com/driversupport.php

Let me know how you make out, or if there's something I can do to help.

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What is different than other RTS games depends on what other and how many other RTS you have played. For me, this is the best "cartoonish" RTS I've experienced with the ability to really move around, zoom, and generally feel like your there. It's more fun than $50 serious RTS games that you have to really concentrate on and play for a long time. This, you can just have fun instead of getting confused and complexed.

Otto, my Peons were going straight to my armory. Maybe you should set your Quarters closer to the Armory.

You're all being a little to critical I think. This is more of a child/teen level type of RTS game. Something to do when your bored and want something quick, easy, and fun to do. Not something you really have to set up, plan, strategize, and wait a lot. Although, you can make it complicated if you just want to think harder.

I did forget my biggest complaint, which was the limited number of uses you have, 5 or 6 I think. I will try the update to the latest demo version to see if this takes it out. But if it doesn't... errrr. I hate limited use demos with limited functionality.

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The download links above have all been updated to the latest version of the game (there is now even a Linux version available.) It's probably something that should have been done before now, but at least all the feedback got the ball rolling in the right direction.

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Pixelrevolt September 19, 2006 5:15 PM

Not mactel compatible. Spare yourself the download on intel macs.

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build 2 quarters it will take longer but it helps a lot

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aww i loved this game so much i wish i could buy it but i dont have enough money if i did i would totaly support u guys!!!

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iam TERMINATOR i would give u tons of tips but evrebody who i give them 2 i dont like. incept 1 person. iam really good because i have beaten titan spikeleeds socom xena and 5 guets at same time 2 members at sam e time but still i wont give u tips

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Sam Deutsch January 1, 2007 11:54 AM

Tribal Trouble is a gret game but sometimes goes funny. The graphics sometimes go all oragami like when i move behind my units. Why?

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Awesome game! Makes me think of the "Worms" series by Team17 back in the old days...

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my name is jhan the game was ok

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ummmmm termonator i beat you once im a guest but i still own loads of peeps

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it dont matter if you cant use metal or chicken im guest you just have 2 out nummber the enemy and ttack from diffent postions at same time that all ways wins

tip:if against a person with game use poens 2 destroy towers and soilders 2 cover them

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is there any guest cheats for tribal trouble?

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Twiste'D May 31, 2007 7:23 AM

cool game =D

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can tell me how to make soliders fast so i can defend myself i am not that good so can you tell me how to make them fast plz?

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i looooove strategy! and i looooove strategy/ war games! but i hate blood. and then i found tribal trouble! after i played the tutorial i said to myself how cool is this!!!! so as a conclusion i loooooove tribal trouble!!!

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Nice Demo but i have some points 1You cann't win becouse your warriors in the Demo are idiots and the enemy is farout much stronger and the price stinks

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death_valley December 15, 2007 9:32 PM

im death_valley and tribal trouble is the BEST GAME EVER

tip: Don't be worried to use iron and rock. It works for me, but still, mostly use chicken warriors most.

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Tribal Trouble is alot of fun even in the demo. It's also easy enough that my 6 yr old and 9 yr old figured it out before they got me to play it with them. I would like it if it wasn't just a "download". I'm old time and like to have the CD.

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flame cheif January 6, 2008 12:14 AM

tribal trouble rocks!! so fun

tip: for the beginners out there,it will be easier if you get in there and take a piece of the action

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death_vally January 6, 2008 12:18 AM

Tip: try making 3 qq make an armory then put your rally point inside your opponents camp. as soon as u make men send them out quickly

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death valley is great in this game tip:use 15 rock warriors 10 iron wariors and 5 chicken warriors to attack when you get them

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haha name? March 13, 2008 10:53 PM

haha ima guest this game is kool
ive played as a member before and
i think its hard lol
i noticed that guest if you attck soon
enough you can beat a member
-the time has come for a revoultion we should not be scared of fighting members anymore!!!
tip:always work with two people and have one person build all the building while the other collects rocks you must build fast and remember you can always beat a member if you are fast enough!!!

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Death_break May 25, 2008 10:09 PM


another way to beat a member is to become one.
It is so worth it.

BUY IT

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im IPOON and i got a new computer and i am kinda bad on it and i lost a lot of rateing and now i am 43 not 38

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Eljavito88 March 22, 2009 12:07 PM

wytze i have the demo, and i can win, its just the way you play, so many people, that are guests, i see win every day. so its obviously your strategy.

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well i think the game is sweet reguardless of any comments dissing the game but the demo is still cool even toug im a member and a good on eat that but dudes u can still win with stone warriors aka rock warriors u just have to be fast i can take 3 hards no problem i can even take 4 but its a lil harder key think is be fast aggresive and have fun tanks oddlabs for making tribal trouble :) oh and yes 30$ is a bargin

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