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I'm sure every single one of you has played, or know someone who plays World of Warcraft (WoW). Then you also know what happens when you try to get between them and their guild's raiding schedule. If not, well, it's not pretty. Raid Leader from Red Zebra Games and Crescent Moon Games seeks to emulate that raiding experience, albeit in an extremely simplified and pocket sized kind of way. Nice visuals and deep gameplay make it worth checking out, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it an accurate simulation of the real deal.
Many of the core raid boss elements are here. Managing the positions of your group members to avoid both environmental hazards and various special boss attacks? Check. Using the right class abilities at the right time, chaining them together for the most effective results? Check. I've never been able to play WoW past level 30 or so before wanting to play something else, (and trust me, I've tried numerous times) but I've consulted several WoW experts for this review. I can confidently tell you this game is more Battleheart from MikaMobile than anything else, except in 3D.
I guess raid bosses and Battleheart bosses just share some of those core strategic, real time elements like that. Unfortunately, Raid Leader offers much less variety than Battleheart, with only a Tank, Hunter minus the pet, and Priest at your disposal. Each of them has a huge breadth of abilities and skills, many of which have their names ripped straight out of momma WoW itself. Player's are rewarded gold for their efforts, which is used to upgrade these abilities up to three times each. Choosing which abilities to bring to each battle is where half of the strategy comes from. After a boss utterly destroys you once, you'll quickly learn that your priest doesn't need those holy missiles, and should take a healing circle instead, or that your hunter doesn't need any kind of defensive spell and should focus on increasing that DPS (Damage Per Second). There are some extra arena areas that let you farm weaker enemies for gold if you ever need to grind up a certain ability or two.
The visuals are well done. Characters and effects are impressive and stand out from the environment. Audio is also well done. There are some hang-ups though. Each boss is recycled at some point with a "Heroic" difficulty version; the same basic fight with one or two added boss attacks. Also, should your characters get clumped together, it can be tough to move the right character in the right direction, especially if the boss is part of that clump. Sending your Tank away to safety instead of your Priest due to touchy selection controls can obviously lead to many pointless deaths. This game does a great job of capturing the essence of those raid boss encounters, even if it feels completely different. It's not a great game, but it's pretty solid and worth checking out, especially since it's iOS Universal and only one dollar. I'd definitely recommend you check out Battleheart first before giving Raid Leader a go.