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Android  header logo

Cartoon Wars

For: Android   Also on: iPhone

Two tribes

Product: Cartoon Wars | Developer: BLUE | Publisher: Gamevil | Format: Android | Genre: Casual, Strategy | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Cartoon Wars Android, thumbnail 1
The trouble with freemium games like Cartoon Wars is that you spend way too much time worrying about when you’ll actually have to spend some cash.

Yes, you could play Gamevil’s Flash remake for an eternity and never spend a penny, but you’d be committing an insane number of hours making minuscule progress in a desperately simple strategy game.

While there’s some joy to be had in the lively character art, with pencil-drawn stick heroes fending off dragons with tiny pistols (think PSP game Patapon without the earworm tunes), Gamevil’s title needs precious little skill beyond tapping icons to send another troop to death or glory.

Stick with it

While there’s a hint of a story about a Black and White Cartoon Tribe rising up against their Blue-coloured oppressors in the Android Market blurb, the game itself is remarkably straightforward and rendered with rough, heavily upscaled graphics that betray its ageing Flash game roots.

Over an infinite number of stages (determined only by your patience), you have to send your monochrome military from their tower on the left to storm their more colourful opponent’s battlements on the right.

While you can auto-fire at enemies with a moveable crossbow on top of your tower, which is handy for keeping foes at bay by thinning their numbers, it’s the troops on the ground that do the real work.

Bought using Mana, which builds-up during battle, soldiers are selected from a responsive tap menu at the bottom of the screen. There’s a cool-down period before another unit can be sent out, also determined by its Mana cost, so you have to constantly choose between spamming the enemy with cannon fodder or holding out for a real hero.

Of course, the enemy has its own forces to call upon, and these are generally significantly bigger and more powerful than yours. Consequently, defending your tower long enough to build enough of an army to force the invaders back is the most reliable tactic.

In theory, you have more than 20 different units to pick from - all of which (along with the crossbow and tower itself) can be levelled up to boost their strength and power - but unlocking them requires gems and gold collected by finishing stages.

Raiding the war chest

Gold is doled out pretty liberally, enabling you to boost your current army’s resilience between rounds, but gems are less forthcoming - making your dreams of owning a 40 gem Dark Angel seem futile unless you’re prepared to buy it yourself.

After about a dozen or so stages, the enemy starts hurling powerful beasts and monsters to make mincemeat of your men. This forces you to either grind through previous levels to earn enough gold to max-out your current units and even the odds, or wearily agree to increasingly expensive extra resources via in-app purchases.

Ultimately, however, Cartoon Wars presents a battle you can’t win without being prepared to repeatedly raid your own coffers or agree to play some more Gamevil titles to earn some scraps of virtual cash.

A costly battle

While it’s not unreasonable to be expected to pay to properly play a game, Cartoon Wars’s endless, deeply repetitive, battle of attrition isn’t really worth the money.

There’s a modicum of entertainment to be had in seeing your tiny warriors facing off against an onslaught of oversized enemies before slowly seizing the advantage, but the lack of variation means the game's appeal wears off faster than a supermarket watch strap.
Cartoon Wars
Reviewer photo
Paul Devlin | 10 February 2012
Looking and playing like the rough Flash original, this is a simplistic strategy game that requires deep pockets rather than tactical nous to battle through to the best content
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