The goal is to sail the savage seas in search of an evil group of warriors called the Blackguard. They invade islands that cross their path, staking claim to various villages and destroying everything in their path. The first order of business is to build homes that generate gold and structures that create wood to help you build military structures that can protect your own environment.
As you gradually build and fortify your surroundings, experience points will be earned and gold will be accrued. A plethora of crystals are also available at the game's inception, and they help speed up the process in creating your world as well as upgrading your buildings. Sticking to your nest and hoarding your fortune isn't Boom Beach's main directive, as your growing wealth and power will be used to journey out into the waters, explore more islands and hunt down the Blackguard.
As your fighters invade the islands, weapon icons are available on the lower right hand side of the screen. Since missiles are the game's first weapon of mass destruction, you will click on that icon and tap your finger on whatever part of the island you want to destroy. Depending on your strategic instincts, you may want to blow up a sniper tower to ensure less casualties on the field. If you're more of a gambler and prefer letting your troops dodge gunfire, you can aim your missiles at an island's central building.
This tactic may ensure a quicksilver surrender but lead to an attrition of troops. During my battle on Eternal Flame, I used my missiles to take out the command center and was lucky enough to win the engagement.
Boom Beach's main drawback is its freemium model. Whether it's farming your land or sending your army on missions, everything about this app is addictive. Unfortunately, it takes a ton of crystals if you want to upgrade your village and strengthen your troops. Within the first hour, I plunked down five dollars for a batch of crystals, which in turn just wasn't enough to keep me pleased. If you end up loving Boom Beach's gameplay variety and its playfully cartoony visuals, you might fork over a few bucks in the process.
I don't regret making my premium purchase, but if you're not willing to spend a few dollars on Boom Beach, you might be frustrated with the lengthy time it takes to enhance or build even the simplest of buildings.
When your ships leave port and head out into world, they are surrounded by clouds that can only be opened by spending some hard earned gold. Once these clouds clear, various islands or treasure chests appear. The chests, most of which contain crystals, are a much needed help on your journey. Landing on an island and taking out the Blackguard also costs money, and coming to a battle unprepared can lead to a total decimation of your troops. Since everything in Boom Beach takes a long time to create if you don't want to use your crystals, losing all of your warriors during a foolhardy battle isn't a good idea.
The great news is that crystals can be earned by earning various achievements, leveling up, or opening treasure chests. Your homes are also consistently generating gold, so traveling to the open seas, though expensive once you open up new areas, is an extremely seamless experience.
Several hours into gameplay, I still haven’t raided other players’ bases. With Boom Beach, you get the chance to wage war against other players and it's also important to keep your own environment well protected. If you're spending all your resources traveling to different lands and forgetting where your bread is buttered, your kingdom will serve as easy pickings for other gamers. While much of Boom Beach shines as a single player campaign, having indirect contact with other iOS enthusiasts, even if they're ravaging your territories, is a welcome addition.
Boom Beach is a free to play app which hits on all cylinders. If you want to hang out and build your village from the ground up, you can luxuriate in the title's farming aesthetics. For the less introverted gamers, there is always a battle to be fought and people to be saved from the evil Blackguard. My only complaint is, down the line, I'm afraid my five dollars will turn into twenty bucks, and so on. It's a freemium title that will get you hooked, so before you storm anymore beaches, put your device down, open up that piggy bank, and get ready for a financial shellacking. There are worse things you can do with your money, and whenever a first rate app hits the store, paying for a few premiums is a more than worthy Faustian bargain.