What do you get when you take Roman, Persian, Carthaginians, Greek, and Egyptian warriors and power them up with matching tokens? You get an all conquering battlefield, some whacky board moves, and lots of bloody battles tightly packed into one little game, Tiny Token Empires. The game cleverly mashes elements of turn based strategizing with board matching to culminate in battles with enemies. You can follow a storyline campaign mode if you like to play long and slow, or go in for quick board battles if you’ve got only a few minutes on hand; either way, there’s a lot going on in Tiny Token Empires and we are about to find out more.
When in Rome…
Eternal Love in Greece, Eek! It’s the Greeks, in Rome, or 300 Skulls to Crack in Persia are some of the cool campaigns in Tiny Token Empires, but starting off with Tamdem Eamus would be the better choice, if you want to get introduced to the game elements and style of play. Tamdem Eamus is a tutorial based campaign where scraggy hermit Planc introduces you to the game strategies and elements of play. In each campaign, you are given goals to complete. As the army general, you build your units and conquer kingdoms by moving pawns across a map. Each kingdom carries a unique set of properties, which determines how you strategize to capture it. Conquering landscaped kingdoms will give you loot and treasure, while conquering lands inhabited by barbarians will let you build settlements on it. As you conquer and plunder, you will strengthen your units, upgrade your homes, buildings and other facilities and become more prosperous. As you take over kingdoms, you meet your nemesis to do battles.
Sound the Battle Cry!
Before you get set for battle, you move to a board that features your army units on the left and the enemy units on the right. Each army unit carries a colorful token indicating the power and life bar of that unit. The board throws up a mixture of those different tokens and it is your job to match the colors on the board to the colors carried by the army units. The board matching is turn based, and the faster you power your units the quicker you can attack the enemy. When the Attack button at the bottom of the screen is activated, you can hit it to enter the battlefield where you watch the two armies do battle. The game is over when any one of the sides lose all their army units, the winner collecting the bounty.
Spoofy and Goofy Fun
Tiny Token Empires is not a serious, action packed, real-time sword clashing combat game. Rather, it is riddled with loads of goofy dialogs, silly banters, and tap and drag actions. The 3D maps are quite realistic, the character sketches striking, and the long scrolls that reveal information about each of the game components fun to read. Just going through the lighthearted dialogs about the army units, their history, and struggles gives you a feeling of being part of that time period. It is both magical and entrancing and history buff or not, you will be entertained. If the magic of the ancient civilizations doesn’t draw you in, the board matching game definitely will. You find yourself matching wits with some really smart enemies in single player mode so winning battles is never easy. An interesting twist to the board game involves matching padlocks in under a minute to reveal hidden treasures.
There are other ways to play Tiny Token Empires as well. Free Mission mode lets you choose an empire, set up your own opponents, difficulty level, and mission goal to conquer kingdoms. There’s also a Quick Battle Mode where you can head straight to the board game and engage in quick bloody battles.
Tiny Token Empires is a definite feast for the senses. Rich historical settings, amazing character sketches, and tough turn based board matching challenges are the game’s highlights. I did experience some disappointments in the responsiveness of the maps, pawns, and portraits and this is definitely something the developers should look into. The limited movement points appears to cripple the game somewhat. Additional maps and campaigns would make the game just a little bit more awesome. Don’t expect the game to keep you on the edge of your seat though. It’s after all a strategy and puzzle game where you swoop down on neighboring kingdoms, search for loots and treasures, defeat monsters and Gods, and build your kingdom in a step by step fashion. Tiny Token Empires is not free, but with 5 game modes, a wealth of information, plenty of gameplay hours, and brutally brutal difficulty levels, you may never tire of it for a long long long time to come.