Some games make great use of the retro, pixelated look. And then some games use it as a gimmick without having any real substance to back up the stylized simplicity. Into which camp does Stephen O'Gorman's All Glory to the Pixel King fall?

Put simply, this game is a barebones basic interpretation of the turn-based strategy genre. And because of this, it's quite boring. While some gamers might appreciate a good pixelated romp, this game is anything but. Let's dive in and explore all of the misses in All Glory to the Pixel King! that sadly could have been great hits.

The game is simple and tasks you with only one goal: defeat the other team's king. You start out by using whatever funds you have to create your own defenses and gather your army of defenders and attackers.

You'll have enough cash at the outset to build a modest little castle in which you can safely house your king, but having a lot of money definitely helps since it enables you to buy some of the more useful building materials. Why settle for a wooden door when you can buy a braced door with added defense? And why settle for putting decorative trees when you can surround your castle with an impassable moat? Better materials always equals a better defense, which in turn gives you an edge over your enemy.

The trouble is that you'll have to defeat your enemies first, before you can build up the moolah to create an impenetrable fortress. But since you start out small, this may be a difficult endeavor.

After you've purchased your initial soldiers and built your little castle, you can attack an opposing team controlled by the computer. The interesting part about this is that the computer uses castles and soldiers that were created and bought by other players, so you could potentially end up fighting yourself.

You tap on a unit to see its range of movement and then choose what it should attack after it has moved to your chosen tile. Each unit type has different ranges for both movement and attacking, so you'll have to be very careful in choosing where they should go.

Weapons such as battering rams, ballistae, and such are perfect for destroying walls while archers, soldiers, and spearmen are for fighting other humans. Each unit can take a different amount of hits before dying, but the king only takes one blow before keeling over.

The rub is that it takes so crazy long for you to get anything done in this game that you'll find yourself skipping your turn just so that the enemy can just come to you and kill your king while you try to take out a few of their stragglers for coins.

And speaking of coins, you get a very piddling amount whenever you win. But if you want the very best in building materials for defense, then you can always purchase 5,000 coins for $0.99 through a handy little button on the top-left side of the screen. But hey, we all know how I feel about in-app purchases like this, especially in a lackluster games that seems like it's a trap for IAPs.

This game had a lot of potential as a strategy game, but it's just built on a shoddy foundation of gimmicky retro graphics and painfully basic gameplay that does little to inspire the tactician in players. The soundtrack is also the same song looped ad infinitum, which certainly lends itself to the monotony found in this title. Make the sound, strategic choice and just skip this altogether. There are bigger and better strategy games out there and your time would be better spent trying to find them.


App Store Link: All Glory to the Pixel King! for iPhone & iPad | By Stephen O'Gorman | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0 | 3.3 MB | Rating 9+

3.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating