The Tribez & Castlez Review (iOS)
Building on its 2009 title, The Tribez, Game Insight takes the munchin' peons from its original title and moves them up from fending for themselves in the wilderness to the stronghold setting of The Tribez & Castlez. Of course, taking such underdeveloped folk and moving them into a new plateau of technology doesn't come without a few follies. As we see in The Tribez & Castlez, there is a huge price to be paid for settling a vast world.
The Tribez & Castlez is a farming-based game that eventually unfolds into town management, warfare, dragon-slaying and world exploration. While it’s vibrantly colored and flaunts tons of charm, the mechanics you must forego in order to explore this luscious world are greatly hindered by its rudimentary concepts. So for those hoping to see the world, dragons, imps, dungeons and everything else this world has to offer, you must trudge through being stuck, countless times, in an obvious push for 'freemium' content.
Given The Tribez & Castlez’s aspirations to produce a lively and massive world for your castle community to expand through and explore, you're going to be stuck doing remedial tasks for quite some time. From my time with the title, I did not experience any form of combat from my hours of gameplay. So instead of trying to find out what was cloaked in the fogs and shadows beyond my castle walls, I was stuck farming food and waiting on building/task cooldowns just so I could slowly expand my territory in the preordained way Game Insight intended.
Game Insight uses a quest system in order to get players to make certain buildings and farm specific resources (such as food, wood, metal, etc.) in order to expand your community in a set manner. Nearly every single task that helps expand your community is dependent on either a blue crystal resource (which you gain like experience through successfully finishing tasks or quests) or through the expense of food. Procuring food is limited to a few methods, such as picking trees and planting harvests in fields. Unfortunately, every field, tree and building has a temporal cost where you must simply wait in real-life time for each structure to be harvested. Sometimes this is a few seconds, other times this can be at upwards of forty minutes. When this happens, your growth as a community slows to a crawl based on the completion of one or two jobs. This is where The Tribez & Castlez tries to reel you in with its freemium content.
You gain blue crystals by completing quests and having your minions successfully pulling off jobs. Jobs can be sped up if you wish to use blue crystals to accelerate the process. The jobs that warrant blue crystals or help finish quests (which also warrant blue crystals) also have mandatory times invested as well. In other words, you must spend the currency just to hurry and get more of it. After hours and hours of play, it became rather frustrating to not even encounter any of the enemies, dragons or dungeons that Castlez offers simply because I was unwilling to pay real-life money for more crystals to help expedite all the town's processes.
The resulting effect is that I found myself tapping every small tree/rock/or bush for resources and paying attention to every single detail of the small part of the map I had unlocked, keeping track of how many minions I had available and simply trying to factor in which jobs I could afford to do. While this is somewhat expected of most farming games, especially of the free-to-play variety, this should not be the case for a title that offers a rather large amount of adventures outside of its farming. After so many hours in and after so many repetitive farming quests done, I still felt nowhere closer to exploring this massive world that I was dying to see.
The Tribez & Castlez is quite intricate in regards to its community expansion to the point that it proved detrimental to the overall experience. Sure, gathering resources and improving your town can be fun, but when there are so many things beyond the walls of your town to explore, players do not want to feel confined to them. The exploratory aspect of Warcraft 3 is an excellent example of using minions to procure resources, expanding your town and going out to wage war or simply explore the level. The Tribez & Castles, on the other hand, seems to do things in a very time-consuming, unnatural way. Even after letting hours of time pass, I would immediately find myself back in another corner of waiting just minutes after gaining access to all of my resources and buildings again.
Unfortunately, The Tribez & Castlez undermines a potentially great experience by forcing you to buy in-game currency with real money or to wait for excessive cooldowns to progress through the game at a snail's pace. The game itself is beautiful and the micromanagement is quite in-depth, but being held back from seeing an even prettier outside world takes away from its overall experience.