My Little Army
Attacking the base is a time-honoured military tradition amongst gamers. In the same veing, losing your base is simply an unspeakable blunder. Such is the world of the base attack/defend title: spawn a stream of soldiers towards your nemesis (conveniently planted on the far side of the screen), all to dethrone him from his oversized riding beast. He's doing the same to kick you off your giant monkey/limbless panda/royal riding turtle. Such are the tribulations for warlords in Artlogic's action-packed real-time strategy game My Little Army.
After choosing your preferred difficulty (easy, medium, hard — each with a different character and storyline, but still the same game), you set about defeating your enemies on the battlefield, which is represented by a two-dimensional horizontal plane. Your character, seated on a giant animal, is on the far left and on the opposite side sits the warlord whose fall will mark the end of the level. To wage war you spawn soldiers via four different icons at the bottom. You can also cast spells to aid your fighters or do damage to the enemy. Spawning soldiers require mana, which you slowly regenerate, while a unit cap makes sure you don't swarm the battlefield.
Each mission awards golds and new items. Back at the home base you can change your army; applying new class types for improved attributes and giving them better weapons. You can also buy new spells, weapons and classes at the shop. In addition to the story missions there are random bonus missions where you can make more gold and get a chance to test your army (one, called Friday The 13th?, had zombies in hockey masks with chainsaw swords).
The trick to victory is to manage when you spawn soldiers and how you spend your mana. Archers and magicians need to be covered, but they often can swing the battle for you. Warriors, your front line, must be well armed and easy to deploy. But every upgrade you make to a unit renders it slightly more expensive. On top of that, casting spells is useful, but you might land yourself in a mana deficit; not where you want to be when a boss starts to stumble towards you after flattening your forces.
Analysis: My Little Army is clever strategy fun that wears its real-time nature on its sleeve, made from cutesy graphics and carried forward by purely-for-decoration storylines. You might even be fooled by thinking that this makes the game easy. See if you feel that way when a giant Jason is stomping your Khan Kong's face.
My Little Army makes this genre more playable. Attack/defend games tend to overdo things and make even early levels a bit too demanding. Not here, though if you do not pay attention to your hero and army stats, you'll soon be scraping yourself from the ground. It's a great example of how the base attack/defend genre should work.
Where the game needs a bit more work is in the nitty-gritty of arming. Although the help screens do well to illuminate the basics of the game, some parts of the buying/arming side, specifically the quantities and how they impact your decisions, could use some demystifying. Combat, in comparison, is straight-forward, but if you can't get to grips with the logistical side, you eventually start to lose. It would be sad if that isn't due to the player, but the game not making concepts more understood.
So My Little Army is not perfect, but it looks good and plays well. Its themed levels and impressive amount of units, enemies and weapons, not to mention the wacky character design, deserves a nod of acknowledgement and a bit of your gaming time.