|Platforms||Android 4.4+; iOS|
Destroying other peoples’ phones by beating them in online strategy game matches was never easier. Like a walk in the South Park: Phone Destroyer.
Talk about caring for your players! Unlike in other games, where you are being forced to sit in front of your phone and wait for the game assets to download, Ubisoft came to a perfect solution. It’s simple, but yet so surprisingly good. If your game has character creation, put it while it’s downloading! Brilliant. Don’t let the name scare you. Your phone won’t actually be destroyed. But your character might get a shattered screen if you lose a PvP match. Other than that, you can progress in a cool story mode, in this harsh, funny, and over the top game, sharing the same qualities as the cartoon of the same name. Win matches, earn new cards and upgrades for your old. So, if you are a fan of one of the most popular animated sitcoms to this day, feel free to explore the South Park. They spared no expense.
What an immersive intro! So, kids in South Park are desperately arguing what should they play: Christians vs Jews, Aliens vs Humans, Police vs Criminals and so on. Cartman, dressed as a sheriff enters the fuss and notifies everyone about a kid that never lets down his phone and that is unbeatable in mobile games they play! Especially Cowboys vs Indians. So he gives him a call in front of everyone, and would you know it? Your phone rings and it’s Cartmans’ picture all over your screen. You answer the call and start fighting the Indian Chief, Stan of Many Moons. But you don’t actually fight. You use your phone to summon various units to fight his men. Soo meta, don’t you think? From there, you’ll venture around South Park, defeating Stans’ goons, until you reach him! Everyone from the animated series are here, and even more characters.
In each episode (story mode match), near the end, Stan will introduce a new hero with some special traits. That way you get to meet Inuit Kenny, Storyteller Jimmy, Shaman Token, Medicine Woman Sharon (Stans’ mom) and many more. The best thing about this is, after the hero is introduced, the enemy continues to use it in future matches as a regular unit, and there is a chance you can get it too, from winning or buying cards and card packs!
Best way to describe this game is to say it’s a squad strategy. You slowly progress in a 2D side-scrolling environment towards your opponent. Both of you summon your troops by using cards that cost energy, which refills over time. After you summon a unit, it will simply attack the nearest one. Each of the well known characters from the show has a special ability, which you use when the icon appears over their head. These usually center around damaging a large number of foes, providing a special bonus or aid for your other troops and similar. Other than units, you can use the spell cards to apply an instant effect on the battlefield. After each match, you’ll get to draw your rewards! From a locker room with 10 lockers. On your left will be the best possible loot, just to be miserable if you don’t get any of that.
There are four types of units: a tank, an assassin, a fighter and a ranger. Tanks are slow, but have ton of health and can taunt opponents to attack them first. An assassin is fast as hell and hits like a truck, but is squishy. Then there are more balanced types like a melee or a ranged fighter. After a certain character dies fighting for you, it will be available for summoning again. Just keep track of your energy bar, at the bottom of your screen. That is your phone battery, because all of this is just a virtual game in their world, remember, meta?
The PvP works in a similar fashion, but you are against a real live human on the other side of the world, so it’s more challenging. Two main differences are that there is no side-scrolling element, and matches last three minutes. The rest is pretty much the same, but the tactics do differ a bit from the story mode. Hence your hero is not moving, you’ll need to be more careful with summoning troops, which you can do only on your half of the court. So if a strong enemy unit has surpassed your tank, your avatar is in direct danger of receiving some high damaging attacks, until you summon someone to protect him! Thing some will find frustrating, but I find it innovative – at a certain point, you can’t progress any further in the story mode, if you don’t play PvP. Great implementation of content, right there!
Speaking of meta, let’s talk about the interface. So, everything you can do in the game is presented to you via a virtual mobile phone. Well, of course! When you start the story mode, all of the dialogue, and the story elements are delivered through phone messages that pop out all the time. If you want to make changes to your avatar, equip some new gear (mostly of cosmetic nature) or to view your achievements, you’ll have to use the little phone icon in the top right corner. That presents you with a phone, through which you can even change game modes (switch to PvP), alter your deck or visit the shop! Everything is accompanied with fitting sound effects mimicking the real phone notification sounds.
The visual aesthetics of the show are masterfully transferred into the world of this video game. The 2D segments feel almost exactly as watching the collage animation on TV, and that sensation is kept even in the short 3D passages (when choosing a level in story mode). The resolution, color pattern design, and most important, humor, is top notch – absolutely the same as in the show, which is a good thing in this case. The music mix is quite amazing, since it combines the music from the show, with a cool epic western theme, fitting the setting. The sound effects and random character chants seem a bit too loud, but it’s all serving the same purpose: to pump up the fun!
Having played some of the Ubisoft mobile titles, I do feel they have a lot cleaner business strategy than on their PC and console market. First of all, the game is free to play. That being the case, it’s pretty normal it has an in-game shop and the option to watch ads to receive some bonuses or second chances. Other than that, ads don’t pop up randomly like in most other mobile games out there. Each four hours you’ll get a free card pack, containing new units, upgrades for your units, items used to craft your own upgrades and some coins usually. Coins are a free resource, won by progressing in the game and winning PvP matches. You can buy lots of stuff using these, so purchasing some premium currencies, like dollars, really does feel like an optional choice in this game.
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