By James Page, firstname.lastname@example.org
Game of the Month: InnoGames
Player’s Page: InnoGames
Summer has come to a close and as the days grow shorter there seems to be less time to devote to leisure activities. A full length game can require multiple days to complete and one cannot advance too far into the storyline without devoting several hours each session to the game.
Competitive games share a similar problem by requiring numerous hours of regular game play to maintain a certain skill level to remain competitive against the other players. Thankfully, there are games out there which can be played on the go and only require short play sessions to advance within the game.
InnoGames is a German company based out of Hamburg which creates games for mobile platforms and browsers. In 2003, InnoGames was in its infancy and the founders decided to create a game with the approach of “let’s create a game that we can play with our friends.” The result of their effort was the browser based game Tribal Wars, and within two years the number of users had risen to 50,000.
InnoGames incorporated in 2007 and has created several browser games which have transitioned to mobile platforms. Currently, there are over 130 million registered users of InnoGames titles, and two of their more well known titles, Grepolis and Forge of Empires have had commercials on U.S. television.
Forge of Empires is a city building game released in 2012 for browsers and has since transitioned to the iOS and Android mobile platforms. Forge of Empires places the player into the shoes of a ruler of a city state and tasks them with guiding the city through the ages from the Stone Age to the Modern Age and beyond. Along the way the player will need to accomplish various tasks, research new technologies, and conquer new lands. The player must judge their resources and forces them to know when to expand peacefully and when to expand with force.
In many ways Forge of Empires is similar to classic PC titles such as Caesar, Pharaoh, and Zeus. The focus is on building a city and managing the needs of the population while gaining new buildings through research which can provide more base resources and unique items and troops. Researching new technologies requires time, in the form of forge points which slowly accumulate over time; and resources in the form of gold, resources, and unique items generated by the city. There is limited interaction with a world map which focuses on exploring and invading neighboring territories while experiencing no real threat of retaliation.
Unlike the classic city building games of the past Forge of Empires brings a social aspect to the game. The player does not exist in a vacuum. Players are grouped together and they are able to visit each other’s cities. While visiting another city a player may decide to help motivate current productions, polish monuments, contribute to large projects, or launch an attack in an effort to overcome the city’s defenses. Peaceful interactions with other cities can reward the player with gold, blueprints, and other rewards. A successful attack on another city will give the player the option of stealing gold, resources, or unique items, however; an unsuccessful attack will result in the loss of all attacking forces.
Forge of Empires can be played with relatively little interaction each day. All of the gold, resource, forge point, and unique item generation is timed and can take anywhere from five minutes to two days. Projects can be run for different lengths of time to suit different play styles. However, it is possible to reduce the amount of time projects and expansions require by spending actual money on in game micro transactions, and as a result one must be careful to avoid unwanted purchases when playing the game.
Forge of Empires is just one of a variety of titles offered by InnoGames. Tribal Wars and the upcoming Tribal Wars 2 are city building titles which are focused on player versus player combat. It is essential to build up the city and create a mighty army because other players will attack your city with the hopes of destroying it and removing it from the game; the goal is simple, expand or die.
Elvenar is another upcoming game focused on city building. The player must choose between playing as elves or humans and build a city in the style of their race. Elvenar allows a player the opportunity to interact with others in a more in depth manner than Forge of Empires but not as competitive as Tribal Wars.
InnoGames offers a nice variety of games which can be played on the go and without devoting a large portion of each day to the game. All of the games are free-to-play but they offer micro transactions so caution will need to be taken when using some of the in game features. Despite their mobile nature each of the games are surprisingly in-depth, and each game offers something different to appeal to different game play styles. In as little as five minutes a day one can play a fun game, advance the story, and have an enjoyable experience which does not consume the entire day.
Remember, like all games if you play them just to have fun there will never be a bad game.