Genesis FREE – Real-time strategy + Mobile devices, what the what?
Tested version: 1.1.0
Latest version: 1.2.3
Requires Android: from 2.2
I'm a big Starcraft(2) fan / veteran and greatly enjoy playing real-time strategy games. That said, I couldn't really imagine that playing this type of game on a small smartphone screen could ever be as much fun—I mean, it boggled my mind to think about how controls would be adapted to suit the smaller format.
With many apps I tried out, certain elements didn't even fit on the screen and consequently the smartphone versions of games were pared down quite a bit in comparison to the computer versions.
Enter Genesis FREE, a game that means to set a new watermark for mobile gaming. Find out more in today's review!
Features & Use
Test device: Samsung Galaxy S2 (I9100G)
Android version: 4.0.4
Runs as of: 2.2
I can't lie: my expectations were pretty high. I've had some lack luster experiences with this game genre in the past, but still I couldn't help but hope that Genesis FREE would be a whole new ball of wax.
The first thing I noticed upon starting up the app for the first time is that Genesis FREE looks like a cross between the well loved Blizzard classics Warcraft and Starcraft.
At the beginning there's one main building and a few worker units harvesting ore, but the fields look a lot like what you might know from playing other Blizzard games (think: mineral and gold fields). Wood and mana also have to be harvested.
So what about the gameplay?
A campaign story is available for the human race (there are three races in total, so one can only hope the other two story lines are in the works). The game also has Bluetooth matches and a thorough tutorial and in-depth online mode.
First off, you will have to register using your email address. Creating an account with your own personal nickname is done in a jiffy and you are logged into the forum automatically . The forum can be navigated from within the game.
The app has only just come out and thus there aren't yet that many players, meaning it may take a while before you find an opponent to play against. The first time I played I had to wait for approximately three minutes and then we were good to go.
As is the case with most strategy games, you start off with a few workers and a base, i.e. the main building. The goal is then to construct other buildings, which requires more ore. Aside from the main building there are farms, factories producing weapons, upgrade buildings, academies and watch towers. The watch towers are used solely for defense, whereas farms can be transformed into offense stations. You may choose between three different races: Humans, Demons and Noah.
Construct more workers to help obtain more ore (money). The fields will dwindle quicker this way, meaning a new storage space is in order... When playing RTS games the key is to keep an eye on everything on stay focused.
Now let's move on to controls:
A special button is located near the bottom of the display and it's this button that makes for rather phenomenal controls. This button allows you to combine different actions. Press is and simultaneously swipe over the units with your other hand: this will make a square pop up via which you can select several units at once. Tap the button once more in order to make it disappear again. This clever solution makes for easy controls and works well. Touchscreen controls will never be quite the same as using a mouse, but this is pretty much as close and as good as it gets.
The game maps are rather small, no doubt due to the size limitations due to the format of mobile devices.
The only thing missing at the moment are campaign stories for the demon and Noah races, as well as a few more units and buildings, but on the whole the game is pretty rad for 79 MB app.
Genesis FREE is the best strategy game I've ever had the pleasure of playing on a touchscreen, bar none!
As a true strategy game fan I hadn't even considered that playing this game genre on a mobile device was a real option, but this app has done everything right. The balancing is good, a great online mode is available and controls are as good as they can be.
I still prefer to play RTS on my computer, but this could prove to be a fun alternative for when I'm on the go.
Screen & Controls
A big thumbs up to the Genesis FREE developers: they've done a great job in this category.
The graphics are nicely made and the menus easy to use. The major wow factor is clearly the controls which are a real milestone for strategy games that have been adapted or specifically designed for touchscreens.
Gamers can select their language in the options menu as well as regulate the volume.
A tutorial explains how to get started and dive right into the action.
Very nicely done!
Speed & Stability
The game performed well throughout our test runs. It ran smoothly and without any bumps along the road. Genesis FREE comes in 2D graphics but the HD designs are awesome. The application didn't crash at all.
Genesis FREE is available for free from Google Play. The app is not quite perfect yet but it's a pretty vast game and we give it props for that.
Two minor drawbacks prevents me from awarding it a full five star rating in this category: the in-game shop and the ad banners which are prominent. While we fully appreciate that free games need to be financed via in-game ads, the ad banners are displayed in the middle of intense action scenes. On the whole, though, the game is great and it's free, and that's what it boils down to.
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