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Empires and Puzzles Review

Empires and Puzzles Review

Do you remember when you could buy mobile games? You know, that thing we used to do where we paid once and just played the thing? Maybe you didn’t get another splash screen every ten minutes reminding you that you can buy more special coins that makes the game easier for half a second. Perhaps the developers were happy to just make a product and sell it, rather than whale fishing? Pepperidge Farm remembers, and I remember too. Sadly, those days are long gone, so I’ve had to put on my big girl pants and suck it up to review Empires and Puzzles.

Like so many others before it, Empires and Puzzles is a match three puzzle game, however it’s also got a lot of elements of the Collectible Card Game genre as well, with you collecting heroes of different rarity to battle more monsters or other players. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also got a base building and expansion section as well. I’m pretty sure Small Giant just Googled “what type of mobile games make money?” and combined the top three. They also added in Tai-Chi pandas to be certain about it.

With the mixture of genres, the game is actually pretty complex. You’ll spend a lot of your time managing resources to best upgrade your base with sources of food for your troops and iron to craft new buildings and battle items. You’ll also spend time collecting cards to get the best heroes. Your heroes can consume the cards of your crappier heroes to level up (you get XP, but your heroes don’t) and the stronger a hero is, the stronger attacks from their particular colour are. On top of this, each hero has a special skill, which could be a buff, a strong attack, or a healing function. You earn mana to cast these by matching gems and the matches will send a swathe of troops heading towards the monsters directly in front of them. You can also upgrade these troops with your cards to get even more power.

Screenshot 20170421 2

By now, you can probably see that there’s a lot of stuff going on all at the same time in Empires and Puzzles. If you were just thrown in at the deep end, I imagine it would be pretty overwhelming, but the game does a very good job of introducing you to features slowly, so you have time to take it all in. The downside to this is that the tutorial can take over an hour to get through, but when you’ve completed it, you’ll have a good grounding in what is quite an in-depth title.

As well as battling against computer-controlled opponents, you can also take on the teams of random other players. It’s not a live battle; it’s just a fight against a team of characters that a player has defined as their “defence” team. This mode is terribly implemented however, with little evidence of matchmaking. I found myself frequently going up against players who were two or three times my level, making any kind of chain of victories nigh-on impossible without forking out for microtransactions.

Screenshot 20170423 3

As you progress through the game, you’ll find the same issue with computer controlled opponents eventually. As monsters start to increase in power much quicker than your heroes, by the sixth or seventh batch of levels, you’ll find yourself up against monsters who will one-shot your characters and then after the defeat screen, the game will tell you that you might want to level up or summon more heroes, using a premium currency naturally. You could feasibly improve your team by playing the game, viewing an ad every 12 hours and taking advantage of a free summon every 24 hours, but the random nature of summoning and training up heroes means that it would likely take months to get anywhere. I found myself grinding earlier levels in the hope of rare drops that might boost my team. They didn’t come.

I did enjoy the game, but the lack of any real matchmaking and focus on prising my wallet open just can’t be overlooked. In its current state, with broken online, and an over-reliance on microtransactions, it’s not a great game, but it is a competent one and it is fun. Just be prepared to either pay or spend weeks replaying old levels until you’re powerful enough to move forward. I'm enjoying it enough to do the latter, but your mileage may vary.

Screenshot 20170423 4

6.50/10 6½

Empires & Puzzles: RPG Quest (Reviewed on Android)

Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.

A solid game which is quite fun to play, but like with so many freemium games, you will hit a paywall eventually. The online matchmaking system is atrocious and a pure pay-to-win feature but if you’re patient, the single player is quite fun, just don’t expect to progress quickly without hurting your bank balance.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Gary “Dominoid” Sheppard

Gary “Dominoid” Sheppard

Video Editor

Gary maintains his belief that the Amstrad CPC is the greatest system ever and patiently awaits the sequel to "Rockstar ate my Hamster"

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COMMENTS

Ed
Ed - 01:11am, 27th November 2017

You're more charitable than I am with your description of the online match-making system. While it is arguably the worst part of this cancer of a game, the entire thing is hot garbage that I couldn't delete from my phone fast enough.

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dominoid
dominoid - 11:52pm, 27th November 2017 Author

Don't sit on the fence, will you XD

Reply
Puzzle questing
Puzzle questing - 01:23am, 23rd February 2018

I really wanted to love this game but sadly your review gelled with my experience too. I sadly gave up on it. Do you have any recommendations for a similar game?

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dominoid
dominoid - 07:18pm, 23rd February 2018 Author

I haven't found anything that mixes these two genres like this, but the Civilisation series is a much better city builder so just play Civ V and keep Candy Crush Saga open on your mobile at the same time maybe?

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 Puzzle questing
Puzzle questing - 07:36am, 26th February 2018

LOL! Sounds like a solution. Thanks ;)

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Warriorway2004
Warriorway2004 - 11:01pm, 12th March 2018

Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware! Game is a scam. Don't download ever!!

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Danman
Danman - 02:37pm, 10th April 2018

For a pure Match 3 game/RPG Mix without ANY IAP (something nearly inexistent for mobile these days) and many hours of gameplay I‘d suggest anybody to try Hero Emblems. One of the best mobile games. Second part is on its way too (bound for release this year, also full premium experience again).

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dominoid
dominoid - 11:40am, 18th May 2018 Author

Thanks for the tip-off :)

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Pete
Pete - 01:27am, 12th April 2018

The most fun I've had on my phone! Don't buy into the haters. I'd rather play this game than most PC games - and yes, I am and have been a seriously avid gamer for years. :) 9/10

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dominoid
dominoid - 11:40am, 18th May 2018 Author

I'm glad you liked it Pete, thanks for adding an alternative view. 

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Silvernight
Silvernight - 09:39am, 18th May 2018

While the game does have an in-your-face money-grabbing aspect, it can totally be played for free and thoroughly enjoyed. You will need patience to develop your team and your home base but you will need it even if you splash money right, left and center (which, by the way, still won't guarantee you'll get what you want). For example, "legendary" heroes are very hard to get, and it's based purely on RNG, so even if you pay a ton of money to do summons, you might get none for your efforts or you can just make one pull and get it if you're lucky. It's an awesome game, actually, give it a try. It's not just a simple puzzle match-up, you'll need to think tactics and strategy and choose the right combinations of heroes if you want to defeat monsters and other players.

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dominoid
dominoid - 11:42am, 18th May 2018 Author

Very well put, thanks for the input :)

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Leo
Leo - 02:05am, 19th May 2018

Never seen more rigged game in my life. Someone got to put stop to those FREE games that'll cost you arm and a leg top play A message to those greedy makers Fuck you

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dominoid
dominoid - 07:49pm, 20th May 2018 Author

Thanks for the comment, Leo. Hope to see you around the site again soon.

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pwyller
pwyller - 07:10pm, 24th May 2018

Empires & Puzzles could be a great game, but sadly the developers continue to ignore the requests of many players for a more fair and balanced game -- it doesn't take one long to figure out the Empires & Puzzle's only purpose is to force players to spend money to advance.

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dominoid
dominoid - 02:11pm, 29th May 2018 Author

It's a sad sign of the way that puzzle games have gone these days.

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p h inkwell
p h inkwell - 07:30pm, 8th June 2018

pay to win game  would be an understatement, to discribe this game. The recent main event fables of grimm forest, players paid though thier noses to try and get certain event heroes. we are talking 100's of pounds to find they got rubbish. the online forum was packed with complaints. if one pays then one should expect to win. This game i'm afraid to say is a pay to gamble game with no cash returns or even good hero returns. a great game with lot of potential but ruined by greed and short sightedness. i can see this game losing its revenue quickly as players stop spending money.

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