WarFlow Review - Sink or Swim?
Neil Kewn - OnRPG Journalist
I have lost count of how many browser-based real-time strategy games I've played. You see them advertised everywhere, each providing arguably the same core gameplay mechanics hidden under a slightly altered skin. Their relatively quick rise to super stardom comes off the back of Farmville, Facebook's notoriously successful social network game. Not only does it mean we are swamped with bad imitations and cheap cash ins, but those populating offices across the world have an absurd amount of choice when it comes to not working. WarFlow, developed by Leekol Inc, isn't going to blow anyone away with its originality, but how appealing is it to those looking to procrastinate?
In WarFlow, you're tasked with building, upgrading and maintaining a town and an army. Shops, training grounds, houses and most importantly Town Centers require training and upgrades to progress. The latter acts as your "hub", and it is imperative that is it is kept in peak condition. No other building in your settlement can progress to a higher level than that of the Town Center, and the level it possesses determines your overall rank. Training itself is a bog standard affair, with cooldowns populating the left side of the screen indicating when next an upgrade can be queued. Gold, one of the game's two currencies, can be spent on removing these wait times making new training opportunities immediately available. As each action is usually followed by a several minute cooldown, you will find yourself dipping into the gold pot regularly.
Combat is uninspired. A random backdrop plays host to two sets of sprites, who proceed to throw attacks at each other in an awkward fashion. Battle scenes may not last very long but it still makes for a completely pointless and ultimately boring diversion. Combat itself is devoid of any interactivity, so preparation beforehand is the key to victory. Outfitting your heroes with powerful equipment and keeping your level high is important, as battles become increasingly difficult fairly quickly. The level of your shop determines which weapons and armour your heroes can wield and what upgrades they can receive, low geared heroes can often bar you from progressing to new areas.
The interface is split into a number of sections. You can view your town, neighbouring settlements, contested areas and a world map. Flicking through each is pretty seamless and winning battles will reveal other opponents in the area. It is your job to clear zones completely of enemies. Often, those defeated will join your cause.
Silver is the game's other currency, and is used to purchase upgrades and new items. Silver can be acquired by completing tasks issued via the game's quest system. Quests appear in the log when available, and regularly offer large amounts of coin for simple tasks. Extra Gold can be purchased via credit card, or awarded through the levying of silver.
To move onto new areas, you must defeat enemies that populate occupied zones. Progress is mighty quick during the first few hours of the game, but without gold to spend on cooldowns, the waiting time that is applied to the most menial of tasks soon adds up. It's an interesting funding method, opting to slow down your game rather than restricting it, but the lack of polish (and more importantly, content) makes it hard to justify. Despite this, WarFlow possesses something that the hundreds of other throwaway browser games don't - an actual sense of enjoyment and achievement.