Review – Battle Islands
Do you love free-to-play games with brutal stretches of waiting to be able to do something? If for some reason you said yes then boy, do I have the game for you!
Battle Islands released recently on PC, PS4, and Xbox One after starting life on Android and Apple devices, and it’s a lineage that shows. You’re in the South Pacific in 1942, tasked with constructing a base on the island you’ve landed on and holding out against enemy attacks while you raid other islands to gather resources.
Now while THAT explanation sounds exciting, the reality of the game is that you will log in, gather the resources your base has created – those not lost to enemy attacks while you were away doing other, presumably much more interesting things, and then spend them on making a new building, fortifying an existing building, or training troops. Want to make a new building? That’ll take time. Train troops? Prepare to wait. Promote troops to a higher level? Boy now you’re really waiting a long time. Those things are generally accepted on mobile devices, where people want to play for short stretches on commutes or as a momentary distraction, but they feel far too forced on a console where you settle in for extended playtimes.
As mentioned, enemy attacks only happen when you’re not playing so there’s no excitement to be had there. Raiding other islands sounds fun, but it’s a completely hands-off process. You deploy your troops then wait for them to succeed or fail, without even the ability to guide them with ‘attack this target’ flares like Boom Beach, another free-to-play title, for example. Adding to the poor decisions, at the end of combat all your troops need to be trained again – you lose your entire force no matter if you were successful or not.
Every wait timer, and there are an awful lot of them, has the option to shortcut it if you just spend a few gold bars. You can also spend gold bars to generate resources if you don’t have enough to build a structure or train troops. The game provides you with some gold to start, and grants you some with the completion of challenges, but you’ll run out quickly enough if you want to actually ‘play’ the game for more than a 10-minute stretch at a time. At that point it starts asking you to buy gold…and that’s where it gets expensive as gold bars range from $1.99 for 200 all the way up to 15,000 bars for $99.99.