Zynga Launches Empires & Allies on iOS, Android

The game sees players building a base and army capable of world domination.

Empires and Allies

After testing the game in limited markets, Zynga has today announced the worldwide release of Empires & Allies on mobile devices. While the game carries the name of the former Empires & Allies Facebook game, this isn’t a remake. Instead, the game is a modern experience, taking players to the near future, where they’ll have access to advanced technologies in a war for domination.

As a base-building combat game, many of Empires & Allies’ general gameplay mechanics will be familiar to fans of the genre. Players start with a few structures, and will expand and upgrade their base by balancing the use of multiple key resources.

While the new Empires & Allies may initially look and feel similar to other games in the genre, there are a few key differences Zynga hopes will set the game apart. For one, players can construct domes to hold and hide various defensive weapons on their base, with the weapon depending on their needs. For instance, if a base is being attacked by lots of tanks and armored units, the owner can build a laser under a dome to combat them. Or, if their base is weak to aerial attacks, they can build an aerial defense unit to take down drones and helicopters, and so on.

When attacking another player, the attacker won’t know the kinds of defenses under these domes until they engage. This is one element specifically designed to make players think on their feet, rather than passively watch battles complete on their own.

Speaking with SocialTimes, Mark Skaggs, senior vice president of games at Zynga, commented on this idea:

While you’re in battle, you’re always engaged, you’re always thinking about what’s coming, and participating in the battle to handle surprises — things like, “What’s under the dome?” … One of the things we’ve seen with other games is that you can scan the base beforehand, and then you just drop your troops. It’s a pretty passive situation while you’re watching the attack progress. It’s fun when people are constantly participating.

Another major strategy element comes in the form of rally flags. These let players assign specific kinds of units (including spider drones, commandoes and rocket launchers) to key locations around their base. These unit groups can be stationary, defending specific areas, or wander around the base on patrol, depending on the player’s strategy.

In terms of battles, the game’s single-player storyline sees players defeating a terrorist organization, saving the world from computer-controlled bases and bosses. Empires & Allies principal game designer, Cameron McNeil, described these bases as “handcrafted puzzles,” which have starting and end points, challenging players to work their way to the end of each base using the right military units and powers.

As players destroy enemy forces, they’ll earn Command Points that can be spent on orbital strikes, hellfire missiles and more. These are secondary abilities and powers, aside from standard aerial, ground and armored units.

Empires & Allies 2

Empires & Allies offers in-depth social gameplay. For one, users can join an alliance with others, and when one alliance member successfully defeats an enemy base, they’ll earn loot for the entire group. In addition, players can share resources with others in the alliance. For instance, if one player lacks the resources necessary to begin an upgrade, they can ask their alliance for donations. Finally, each time a member makes a premium gold purchase, everyone in the alliance receives a reward.

Another major social feature lets players speed up their building timers by asking friends for help. These are free interactions, so players only need to send and accept requests in order to activate the time savings.

Finally, strike forces let players add their friends (represented by their profile pictures) to specific structures on their base, which may increase a building’s hit points or damage, as examples. Like domed defenses, attackers won’t know a building has been boosted until they engage.