iPhone App Video Review: Ballistik Wars

by Andrew Koziara

Ballistik Wars is a new entry into the castle defense genre of games, created by Ponos. It combines simple UI and gameplay with a colorful, cartoon art style to create a fun experience; though it definitely has some issues with balancing the difficulty.

This castle defense is more focused on units that you create. You slowly build up energy over time, and once you have enough, you can summon a unit. You can also choose to spend energy on raising your maximum energy level, which you definitely always want to do, as it makes your energy charge up much faster. The goal of every level is simply to destroy the enemy castle before he destroys yours. After completing a level, you are awarded experience and brought to an upgrade screen with all of your units. Here you can purchase a higher energy cap, a stronger castle, or level up all of your various units. It is also at this screen and this screen only that you can save your game. There are tons of diverse units to summon, and they all work very differently. I just wish the game provided you with more unit info, telling you which are useful in what situations. This is definitely a trial and error game though, to the point of frustration.

The saving was done in a way that just seems unnecessary and frustrating. There is only one save slot that is always overwritten, and no auto save system. You can play five levels, but if you forget to save, you’re going back. There is no level select, and no way to undo the upgrades you purchase. This wouldn’t be a problem if not for the crushing difficulty of certain levels. If you don’t have the right units upgraded at the right time, it can completely screw you over and make a level seem impossible. The AI is also a dirty cheater that should be shot. He can always send out any unit he wants in just about any number, whereas you have a cool down for each unit, and a limited number of each that you are allowed to summon.  It all seems very unfair, though I was able to prevail through most of the game. Pro-tip: Upgrade your max energy and your main melee unit, maxing them out as soon as possible. You can rush the enemy castle and overwhelm him very often, even late in the game, by spamming your main unit. Also, use the healing unit constantly as soon as you get it. It’s a game changer.

I really like the simple and cartoony art style, as well as the simple UI. It all works together very well. This is a free game though, so you’re going to have to deal with advertisements. Normally they aren’t so bad, but here, they annoyed me to no end. You can make an in-app-purchase to get rid of the ads for one dollar, though you can also just play the game in airplane mode or something and get rid of them that way. Despite the infuriating save system and balancing issues, I’ve greatly enjoyed my experience with Ballistik Wars. For a free game, I definitely recommend trying it out.

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