Review: Kill Orcs All Day Long in Tiny Empire!

Tiny Empire ($2.99) is a physics game that appears mundane at first, but adds interesting new challenges as you progress. Rendered in 16-bit graphics that are exceptional, I would have appreciated a bit more on-the ground activity. Still, this is a solid game to kill time and goblins with, if that's what you're after. 

Of course any projectile-lobbing game must draw a comparison to Angry Birds, the iconic patriarch of the genre. Angry Birds is frankly a bit tedious after experiencing the first few games, though the physics certainly are interesting. Sure, it's still mindless fun;, but let's face it, it would be more fun if the pigs could shoot back (or at least maneuver.) This, I think, is where Tiny Empire similarly fails; but it redeems itself somewhat by adding the wrinkle of requiring you to protect your own troops, as they can be blown up by your own errant projectiles.

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The scoring and gameplay are simple but the in-game currency system confuses a bit, though not horribly so: Basically you blow up Orcs and other creatures with as little damage as possible to your own troops. In exchange, you win diamonds, stars, and other gems for the realm that can be used to improve your troop defenses (better helmets, cannons, shields, etc.). Wash, rinse, repeat. Your primary weapon is a cannon that can blast out ever-more powerful projectiles. The motion and in-game effects and sounds are suitably entertaining if not overly fancy. The terrain features and obstacles are pretty simple and one area where Angry Birds clearly outshines Tiny Empire. I like trying to kill pigs in a bunker in Angry Birds because half the fun is destroying the bunker. Tiny Empire fortifications are permanent and apparently impervious to damage—at least that is true in the early levels I had completed when writing this.

Pros

  • Solid physics fun

Cons

  • A few more in-game challenges could be added

Final Verdict

An interesting and somewhat original take on the physics puzzle, Tiny Empire is a solid and worthy addition to the canon. I would have liked a more dynamic ground game to contend with (Orcs and soldiers engaged in their own mini battles adding a time element, for example), and some stuff on the ground to blow up as well (like a giant bunker of Orcs to smash to smithereens), but that didn't detract overly from the fun.

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Nate Adcock is a system and integration engineer with experience managing and administering a variety of computing environments. He has worked extensively with mobile gadgets of all shapes and sizes for many years. He is also a former military weather forecaster. Nate is a regular contributor for the iphonelife.com and smartphonemag.com blogs and helps manage both websites. Read more from Nate at natestera.tumblr.com or e-mail him at nate@iphonelife.com.