Back in the early days of Windows Phone 7 gaming, online games were few and far between. One game – Haypi Kingdom – made a name for itself by offering an MMO experience in which players could build strongholds and war against each other. Haypi Kingdom was quite buggy though, and eventually the developer stopped supporting it.
Since then, Windows Phone 8 has come along and we can now play genuine MMORPGs like Order & Chaos Online (also lamentably unsupported by its publisher). But that old Haypi Kingdom-style design is still fun and addicting, it turns out. Flare Games (who also made Royal Revolt) have just released its second Windows Phone 8 game: Throne Wars. With beautiful artwork, an easy to learn interface, and lots of player-versus-player battles, Throne Wars might just become the casual MMO to beat.
Fortifying the settlement
Throne Wars is a massively multiplayer online game, so you’ll need an internet connection to play it. As the game begins, the player has just built a castle and founded a small kingdom. The game’s medieval world is filled with many such kingdoms, all fighting for resources and dominance over their neighbors. You’ll need to build defenses, gather resources, and form an army in order to stand a chance against opposing forces.
Each player only has a castle to start with. Quests will teach you the ropes and guide you through the construction of the settlement. First, you’ll need to build production facilities for the three chief construction resources: wood, stone, and metal. You’ll also need a storehouse to keep all of those resources.
Once the resources start rolling in, you’ll want to upgrade your castle and other buildings. Upgrading the castle allows you to research new technologies such as warfare, bureaucracy, and administration. Each of these unlocks new buildings and abilities. Several buildings and the settlement wall have their own technologies and improvements to research as well.
Time and In-App Purchases
Building, researching, and upgrading new things doesn’t just cost physical resources; it also takes time. Completion times start out short but get longer as you reach higher upgrade levels. These times don’t tend to be a big deal, because you’re usually waiting for resources to accumulate anyway. Impatient gamers can spend gems (premium currency) to speed up building times. But I don’t recommend it, as that’s always the worst use of hard currency in games.
The in-game shop sells a variety of boosts (such as temporary resource production or defense increases), as well as extra wood, stone, and metal. As far as I can tell, Throne Wars lacks an in-game auction house like Haypi Kingdom had. That is a drag, but we can expect new features from future updates.
Two things you’ll definitely want to buy with the gems you earn from leveling up and completing quests are the Ruler’s Chest and Special Chest bundles. Each one includes a great assortment of boosts, military units, and an extra worker for your settlement. An extra worker allows you to upgrade two things at once. These bundles can only be purchased once and they’re well worth the gem cost.
Join an alliance
Another goal you’ll get from quests is joining an alliance. And it just so happens that we have a WPCentral alliance on the Pangaea (INT) server. The alliance is full right now - thanks for joining, everybody.
Alliance membership carries several benefits such as access to Alliance chat. One criticism I have about the game’s chat interface right now is that chat is completely hidden during normal gameplay. You have to specifically enter chat in order to see messages. In the future, I’d love to see a dedicated area for chat messages (or something similar) on the main gameplay screen.
More to come
One major downside to Throne Wars at this point is the lack of cloud storage. Here is a free to play game that will likely entice many players to make In-App Purchases. But unless save files are stored on the cloud, we run the risk of losing those purchases when switching devices and/or reinstalling the game.
Player data is clearly stored online anyway, otherwise we couldn’t all see and attack each other’s settlements. The Settings page does mention that cloud storage is unavailable, which seems to hint that it will be added in the future. We’ll confirm with Flare Games by the time our review rolls around.
Flare Games has told us that Throne Wars will appear on Windows 8 and RT if the Windows Phone 8 version does well. Let’s hope that comes to pass, with both versions sharing save data on the cloud.
There’s much more to see and do in Throne Wars – I haven’t even touched on building an army and attacking other players yet! Stay tuned for our full review.
- Throne Wars – Windows Phone 8 – 41 MB – Free – Store Link
Thanks, Mohamed A., for the tip!
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