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Battleheart

For:   Also on: AndroidiPhoneiPad
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Straight from the heart

Product: Battleheart | Developer: Mika Mobile | Publisher: Mika Mobile | Format: iPhone | Genre: Strategy | Players: 1 | File size: 62.7MB | Reviewed on: HTC Desire Z other handsets | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.5
 
Battleheart iPhone, thumbnail 1
There’s no 'I' in 'team', and no game proves this fact more effectively than Battleheart.

An intriguing mixture of fantasy role-playing, real-time strategy and challenging action, this lighthearted effort manages to fuse together several genres to create an instantly gratifying experience rather than a muddled mess.

Let your heart rule your head

The story is your usual fantasy fare: your land is overcome by evil forces and you need to amass an army of warriors to push back the invading hordes. Battleheart is actually quite light on plotting, but this is more than made up for with the high standard of the gameplay.

The controls are kept as simple as possible, which is good because the game can become somewhat chaotic at times.

To move a character you simply drag a line from them to where you'd like them to trudge. Dragging a finger to an enemy issues a command for that unit to attack (or, if the unit concerned is a healer, drag to a friendly character to administer aid.)

Tapping a character once brings up a special power sub-menu, where you can select unique powers such as improved defence, massive meteor attacks, or tarrying screams which unsettle and rout your opponent.

Sword for hire

Although you can hire new characters from the local tavern, your team can only consist of four members per mission. It's here that your man-management skills come to the fore, as each class has distinct strengths and weaknesses, and none can survive without the help of the other party members.

Knights are excellent at physical combat but invariably take a drubbing in the process, so they need support from clerics who can heal them. Clerics are of course feeble weaklings that need constant protection. Wizards are also poor in melee situations, but they're capable of hurling fireballs at distant foes rather than healing their companions.

Other classes include bards (who can inspire fellow fighters with their music), witches (who are versed in the art of black magic) and dual-weapon wielding barbarians (who possess even more brute force than knights).

Balancing act

One of the most appealing elements of Battleheart is the way in which each mission calls for a different selection of characters. Some levels see you facing off against multiple enemies, while others pit you against a super-powerful boss. Finding the right balance is a demanding, but ultimately rewarding, experience.

After each mission your characters earn experience points, and for every five levels they learn a new special power. You also gain cash which can be spent on new armour, weapons, and items.

It's possible to replay previously conquered stages to gain more experience and money, something that is near-essential when tackling some of the later levels. You often find that your characters require more experience to best the trickier enemy bosses.

Marvellous mixture

Battleheart gets an awful lot right. The visuals are gorgeous, with smooth animation and well-rendered characters. The controls are also brilliant, although it can be hard to select the appropriate party member when they're crowded together in a pack. Finally, the instantly appealing gameplay digs its claws in deep and doesn't release you easily.

The game's biggest failing is repetition – although there are loads of party members to choose from and a wide range of enemies to fight, the action never changes all that much. Juggling the various classes adds some longevity, but it would have been nice to see some different mission objectives to spice things up a little.

It's a relatively minor issue in the grand scheme of things, though. Few games manage to strike the perfect balance between presentation, control, and fun, and Battleheart is most definitely successful in this regard.
 
Battleheart
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 21 March 2011
Battleheart's thrilling concoction of strategy and role-playing will prove spellbinding to any iPhone gamer looking for a quality fantasy action title
 
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