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Consisting of strategy, empire building, epic battles, and a touch of humor, The Battle of Polytopia exhibits everything I expect from a great game. Created by Midjiwan game developers, Polytopia won the “Excellence in Gameplay” award from the International Mobile Gaming Awards in 2017.

When starting a game, players select a tribe, number of tribes they face, and the level of difficulty to play on. Each tribe looks different, and starts with a different tech than the others. Each tech comes from the in-game tech tree. For example, the Bardur tribe starts with the “hunting” tech pre-unlocked, allowing them to convert animals within their territory into population to level up cities.

Each game of Polytopia presents a new randomly generated map.

At the beginning of each game, each tribe starts with their capital city. Through exploration by moving troops across the map, players take over villages to convert them into cities and expand their empire. Cities produce more resources the higher the level they are. Cities increase in level by growing in population. Population comes from structures such as farms, forges, mines, and ports.

Resources take the form of stars that act as currency. For instance, if a player wanted to unlock archers, they would open the tech tree and use resources to unlock the tech. Each turn, the player receives an amount of resources based on their cities and the level of said cities.

Proper use of resources creates one of the many aspects of strategy in Polytopia. Holding off on unlocking a tech could give the player enough stars to train troops and repel an attack. On the other hand, unlocking a new troop tech could present the advantage they need to defeat the enemy.   

Polytopia consists of turn-based gameplay. On a players turn, they they can move their already existing troops one time each, however many spaces those troops are able to move (different troops travel farther than others).

The different troops allow for endless tactical strategies. Weak but powerful, catapults hit their targets from far away, but have no armor. Swordsmen move slow, but attack strong. Another special unit, the Mind Bender turns enemy troops into your troops.

The following podcast features Brayden Iest speaks with Micah Sue ’22 about Polytopia.

FCS alumni Landon Goldsborough plays Polytopia and enjoys how the developers thought out the game as well as the simple mechanics. He also enjoys playing the multiplayer with his friends.

“Polytopia is a very well thought out game that was clearly developed well for the mobile platform,” Goldsborough said. “The art is clean, simple, and colorful, and the game mechanics all work very smoothly and consistently. I like the opportunity it gives the player for deeper strategy by including higher difficulty settings. I also love the multiplayer options and high number of available tribes to unlock. Overall, Polytopia is a great game to kill time with your friends or just work on your solo strategy skills.”

Every time I played this game, I found myself facing new challenges that I didn’t experience other times I played. Oceans appear in different places, mountains form around your starting point, and a lack of resources all present themselves as just a few of the obstacles that make this game highly addicting as well as enjoyable.

All 12 human tribes represent a different culture of the world.

I am always looking for games that challenge my mind strategically. When I first saw this game, I was intrigued by the bright colors and simplicity of the landscape and characters. Most games strive for the highest picture quality on a phone, but Polytopia managed to use simple designs to their advantage.

One of the only problems I see with the game resides in the multiplayer. There are 12 human tribes and 2 special tribes that currently exist in the game. Four of the tribes come free with the game. To unlock the multiplayer, a player must use real money to unlock one of the 10 locked tribes. This is how the free game makes money.

I see the nessesity in a game needing to make money. However, I believe that players of the game would gladly pay to experience the different tribes even if it was not required for multiplayer. Each of the eight unlockable human tribes cost $0.99 to unlock. The two special tribes each cost $1.99.

Each tribe varies in the look of their troops, cities, and landscapes. Each tribe also starts with a different tech, making experimenting enjoyable to the player who likes to find tactics. The special tribes however, present slightly different tech trees than the human tribes, that contribute to the fact that they cost more to unlock. They consist of a sea-dwelling tribe that ride turtles instead of horses (to cross the ocean) and a tribe of forrest dwelling elves that posses the power to turn animals into warriors.

The Battle of Polytopia is free to play on the App Store as well as the Google Play Store. The game’s developers currently have a PC and Mac version in the works. If players desire to play multiplayer, purchasing a tribe is manditory. I belive Polytopia presents a fun challenge to anyone who enjoys strategy games. For more information, visit Midjiwan on Twitter.

For more game reviews, read Super Smash Bros Ultimate offers immersive gameplay and Kingdom Rush: Vengeance provides addictive tower defense game.

Brayden Iest can be reached via Twitter and email.

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