Battlestone is Zynga’s first venture into the realm of action RPGs. Battlestone starts off with a brief tutorial that goes over the controls of the game. The core gameplay loops are simple: get to the end of the level, accomplish the set goal, and destroy enemies along the way. It’s a theme that’s not entirely original, but Battlestone executes it just as well as any other mobile game. The controls are a simple matter of tapping where the character should move, swiping enemies to attack them, and pressing various on-screen buttons to perform numerous tasks. Battlestone’s gameplay is simple, but it can be a lot of fun.
The tutorial also introduces players to the large amount of work that takes place outside the battlefield. Using gems and coins earned from playing (or via in-app purchase), players can buy new characters or power up the ones they already own. If players get a hold of duplicate or other unwanted characters, they can fuse them with others, allowing characters to become stronger quicker. Players are also encouraged to sign into their Zynga account and join guilds, groups of other players who can assist each other. There are a few other ways players interact with each other, but the biggest is a player vs. player duel feature, where a player can fight another player’s character and earn potentially large rewards.
There are a ton of rewards and items to collect in Battlestone. The top of the menu screen shows off various in-game currencies and collectibles. Gems and coins are used to purchase in-game goods, potions are consumed to go on quests, and stars and trophies mark single and multiplayer progress. Multiplayer is a tad thin, and comes down to guild interaction and duels, but single player features a lot of content that will challenge many players. Single player is built around a series of quests. Each quest has its own goal and completing enough quests will unlock a boss stage. If the boss is defeated, a new map is opened and the process starts over. It’s a simple process, but the game’s difficulty will challenge players of all skill levels.
Battlestone’s monetization comes through purchasing coins and gems. Both currencies can be obtained in-game, but neither comes frequently. Gems can be used to purchase nearly every item, so a lack of gems is always noticeable. The bundles for each of these currencies ranges from $0.99 to $99.99. Players will generally need to spend at least $19.99 to get any real value from their bundles, especially with gems. Players who don’t spend much money on gems will still have many items available for purchase, but they’re also likely to miss out on buying new characters. If a player unlocks a character solely through purchasing gems, it’ll cost about $9.99. Many players may not enjoy spending $10 to unlock a random character, possibly hurting appeal to the core audience.
Overall, Battlestone is an excellent action RPG that will likely appeal to core gamers looking for a bit of action on their mobile devices. The controls work very well, and the gameplay is able to appear to both casual and experienced gamers. The array of character management options might feel a tad overwhelming for casual players, but the tutorial does an excellent job explaining how it works. The high price of in-game currency will likely turn off many players, but those who do spend will be able to get a good bang for their buck.
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A simple role-playing game with a ton of depth and strategy.