There has been a slight shift, I feel, in the popularity of mobile real time strategy games and now the market is getting flooded with various sub-genres utilizing real time aspects. Quark Games has developed a new game that fits in this new motif quite well called Champs: Battlegrounds which is a real time strategy squad based tactics game. Think Final Fantasy Tactics but in real time. This makes some interesting gameplay with both a lot of pros but also some cons to go along with it.
The biggest draw, I would say, to Champs: Battlegrounds is in the real time aspect. I have played a lot of games recently that put the “real time” sticker on their games but actually weren’t, but Champs: Battlegrounds is true to the claim. Basically in play you have your six team squad and when the battle starts you and your opponent move your squads and attack with them all in real time. The attack/move menu system is again more like a tactics strategy game feel rather than say a real RTS like Starcraft. I do like the real time aspect combined with the remnants of turn based strategy, however it does make battles very chaotic. This happens as just the logistics of dealing with six different units with different class powers is really hard to keep track of until you get a lot of battles under your belt. You’ll find yourself frantically tapping your screen as you wait for your units’ energy bars to fill up and moving them away from your opponent.
Race For the Vents
I mentioned above that your units use energy. As in a typical game of any sort, your units have two bars; a health bar and an energy bar. Health bar is self explanatory but the energy bar is what you’ll need to keep track of mostly. All actions use energy and each unit has four actions available. Movement, basic attack and then two special moves which could be offensive or defensive. This plays into the chaoticness of Champs: Battlegrounds as you need to think carefully about whether you want to move the unit to block an opponent or just attack and the consequences of each action…and of course doing this with all six characters in your squad at once. Also an issue is the energy regenerates very slowly. But that is actually a vital part of Champs: Battlegrounds’ strategy and “storyline” as there are magical vents that are basically a grid spot and if you have a unit on top of a vent they regenerate energy extra quickly. This of course means they can attack more often and becomes an integral part of the gameplay as whoever occupies the vent spaces has an extreme upper hand which turns the gameplay into literally a race for the vents.
Choose Your Champions Wisely
Champs: Battlegrounds is a squad based strategy game of which you can have six “champs”. Available at your disposal is various classes of champs ranging from basic swordsmens, mages, engineers, ghouls, beasts, etc. that you can unlock and then level up to be even better. For instance you can upgrade a basic apprentice mage into either a cleric or a sorceress which has better and stronger attacks. There is a limit to how many of these tier 2 units you can have on your team. So crafting a team that fits your style is vital. Do you want more long range attack units than short units? For instance. Of course buying new units and upgrading them to tier 2 does cost in game currency (either diamonds or Quark points) which you can get from the campaign mode and the online PvP mode or of course buy extra using real money.
Single and Multiplayer Tactics
As in most games, Champs: Battlegrounds offers a single player campaign mode and an online PvP mode. Campaign mode first walks you through a simple tutorial and then there is thirty levels of ever increasing difficulty. A storyline is attempted but it really just sounds shoddy and wasn’t really memorable. However, the actually levels in the campaign mode did do a great job of challenging you and forcing you to think about your actions and such. The tagline on Champs: Battlegrounds Google Play posting is true, “Easy to play, Hard to master”. The online PvP mode is also very well done I thought. Finding matches seem easy and with the actual real time aspect I feel you don’t get bored waiting for people to do a move or anything since you can just keep on doing what you want. I did however experience a fair bit of connection problems which got annoying (even in campaign mode) where you get disconnected for a few seconds and causes some lag. Overall though for being an actual real time strategy game but with the interesting grid based approach, Champs: Battlegrounds is a fun game to play that really challenges you in single and multiplayer.