Whether you're a fan of its universe or a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) enthusiast, The Witcher Battle Arena is a highly addictive and spellbinding experience. Since it's a free-to-play title, gamers can immediately test the waters and begin their journey. Fortunately, it’s a journey well worth taking.

Before starting the game, watching the tutorial is highly recommended. Although the MOBA dynamic is simplified for iOS devices as far as controlling your characters, the intricacies of the genres still stand. The video gives a proper breakdown of every integral element on the battle screen.

The Witcher Battle Arena features nine characters from the jump, with three adventurers (the warrior Letho, an archer named Iorveth, and Philippa the mage) immediately at your beck and call. Three game modes (player vs. player, co-op vs. AI, and offline practice vs. AI) are your available options. As soon as you pick a character and match, a randomized terrain (Korath Desert or the Nilfgaardian Arena) will serve as the battleground.

CD Projekt RED

To move your hero, tap your finger to the desired destination. To sling an arrow, cast a spell, or slice through an enemy, just tap the opponent and watch the combat ensue. There are no slide or drag controls during combat, and although tapping on icons and parts of the battlefield may seem too simplistic, The Witcher Battle Arena's selling point is its multi-layered gameplay.

Tapping on an enemy doesn't win the battle, as the goal is to drain the opponents' scores to zero. During the match you must work together with your team to kill the enemy, and most importantly, capture several pillars on the field. Once you turn the pillars to the designated color of your squad, the opponents' points will significantly decrease. The key is to fortify the position while continuing to vanquish the enemy. Although every warrior is resurrected after every death, respawning removes them from combat for several seconds, and in a 7-10 minute match every moment counts.

CD Projekt RED

Along with respawning, upgrades are also available during battle. Since your gold collection accrues as the match progresses, you will use that currency to incrementally increase your fighter's armor and combat skills during the resurrection. Choosing to either protect oneself or increasing your kick ass abilities, coupled with balancing your onslaughts and protecting the pillars, are choices that give this MOBA experience a welcome amount of depth.

The nuances continue after battle, as you'll collect items and gain skill points to customize the heroes. Even if you lose the match, crowns (the game's form of currency) and items will still be accrued. The objects that you don't keep can be smashed up (there's an hammer icon located at the upper right hand side of your device) and transformed into crowns.

Keeping certain items is imperative, as each object, if they are compatible with your character, will increase its battle ready skills. There are a ton of customization options in The Witcher Battle Arena, and although most of my hours of gameplay were spent in attack mode, outfitting and upgrading my warriors was just as pleasurable.

CD Projekt RED

Visually, The Witcher Battle Arena also passes the eye test. It's easy to get lost in the shuffle in a MOBA universe, especially when your character is caught in a bloody scrum. Although The Witcher's spiritual environment in shrouded in blood and darkness, there's enough light in the proceedings to keep your eyes trained on your hero.

Last, but definitely not least, The Witcher Battle Arena hits a home run with its freemium mechanic. Although in-app purchases are available to save time, you can also grind it out and organically earn your unlockable heroes and weaponry. Considering the game's high level of playability, and how addictive its gameplay is, grinding it out is something I'll eagerly do in the coming weeks.

CD Projekt RED

If you're looking for a mobile MOBA experience that may keep you busy for hours on end, The Witcher Battle Arena fits the bill. You may experience a few seconds of lag time getting every single player into the battle arena, but that's a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent title. Although it serves as an excellent primer to the impending release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, The Witcher Battle Arena proudly waves its own sword, carving a path for eager gamers waiting for a new adventure.

This review is based on a downloaded copy of The Witcher Battle Arena for iOS.

App Store Link: The Witcher Battle Arena for iPhone and iPad | By CD Projekt RED I Price: Free | Version: 1.0.6 | 55 MB| Rating 12+

8.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating