|AI:||Yes, multiple difficulty levels per scenario|
|Purchase for iPhone:||None available. Buy an iPad now!|
|Purchase for iPad:||
GD Star RatingAmbition of the Slimes,
Final Fantasy Tactics is undoubtedly the most famous strategy RPG in video gaming history. It’s iPad version, unfortunately, hasn’t been updated in 2 years, and may or may not be compatible with current and future versions of iOS. Into this almost-void comes Ambition of the Slime – are you ready to take the other side?
Anyone who’s ever played an RPG knows that slimes are hopeless, hapless creatures that exist for no reason other than for PCs to grind levels. So what happens if they decide to rise up and reclaim the land?
The player represents an army of slimes, indigenous creatures who are tired of the wanton, chaotic havoc humans wreak upon themselves and the environment. Slimes are weak – they can rarely withstand more than one or two hits from a human unit – but they have a secret power: they have the ability to take over any human they want.
They execute this power exactly as you’d expect: by jumping down humans’ throats and taking control of their bodies.
As in any strategy RPG, you’ll start by selecting a region, then selecting a level of difficulty. You can store up to 25 slimes, and will have a chance of obtaining new ones based on the difficulty you select. As this is a free to play game, you’ll start out with a limited collection of slimes that will take “fatigue” with every battle. There are consumable items you can use to overcome this arbitrary timer, or a $5 one-time purchase to do away with it completely.
You’ll begin each level hopelessly outgunned, with the goal being to take over the most advantageous humans. Each unit has a rock-scissors-paper…er, fire-water-wood designation. You will gain a boost in stats by taking over a human of the same type as your slime, and the difference in your relative levels (as well as the presence or absence of armor on the human) will give you a certain percentage chance of taking it over.
Each unit can move, and then either attack or utilize any other abilities it has. While it is possible to fight humans straight up as a slime, the odds are not in favor of this approach – as noted, slimes are slow, weak, and have very few hitpoints. Most of them can’t survive more than a couple of hits.
Take over a human (the red eyes indicate successful control) and you can take advantage of two different combat advantages. The first is a type advantage – if you attack the element against which you are strong, your attack goes up. The game also features elevation – the character on the high ground gains an attack advantage against the character on the low ground. By taking advantage of these differentiators, it is possible to take out powerful opponents with only one or two hits, and it’s here that the strategy of each level lies.
The game is divided into 5 regions (6 if you count the tutorial) and each region is divided into several battles. Straight from the “for better or worse” file: your slimes are weak and level up slowly, and some grinding will be required to complete even the first region. Win the game by winning every battle.
AotS is almost slavish in its devotion to its genre. This results in an odd, 16-bit look, with chunky units and gorgeous, pixely combat portraits, with chiptunes that are servicable if not genre-defining.
Arguably also key to the genre is laughable “all your base are belong to us” style Engrish. For better or worse, the not-even-as-good-as-Google translations fall right in line with expectations. It’s doesn’t get in the way of understanding the game, but it is without question an acquired taste that will only appeal to a certain stripe of gamer geek.
There is a fully interactive tutorial, burdened by the same suboptimal translation. Luckily the rules are simple enough that only a minimal amount of explanation is necessary. Saves do not carry over between devices, and the tutorial is not optional.
The interface, once you’re used to it, does a competent job of giving you the information you need to maximize your strategy. The interface is VERY specific about where you need to tap to select a given unit or space, and there are no double-tap context shortcuts – each instruction is given by tapping a space, then tapping a button. Though the view is always isometric, you can change the view angle, and you can rotate through the four cardinal directions.
As a free download, AotS is worth a look for any fans of the strategy JRPG genre. While not as deep as any of the famed Tactics games, AotS manages to offer some innovation on the genre while remaining true to its roots, if sometimes slavishly so. The only problem is that it’s light on tactics – once you’ve taken over the units you’ll use for a given battle, it’s a fairly standard manipulation of rock-scissors-paper elements to win. It’s unlikely to stick around for ever, but at least it’ll run without question on iOS 8.
Check out other great games:
- Actually manages to throw some innovation into a well-traveled genre
- Making your own pieces naked can actually be used to your advantage - no, really
- Once the initial newness wears off, all the usual bugaboos of the genre hold true
- Interface is as sparse as the translation
- Grind, grind, grind