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Review by Dustin Murphy
+Precise use of mobile device touch screens allowing for precise and properly placed responses
+Extremely smooth servers that have no lag, delay, or even hiccups
+Character designs that easily rival League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Heroes of Order & Chaos and DOTA 2
+Graphics that could easily be mistaken for PC quality
+Single-lane design is fun and easy to use for 3v3 design
–Several characters such as Koshka, Ringo and Saw are game breaking at this time
–Creating skins needs explained a wee-bit better for newcomers
–Unlocking ranked mode is a bit steep and almost a hassle
–Unlocking skin tiers requires each tier before the higher one to be unlocked
Last year I was introduced to my first MOBA ever by one of the former writers of B.A.T.G.R., he introduced me to titles such as League of Legends (I knew of it, just never played it) and DOTA 2. While both games were ones I knew of, I just never dipped my toes into the Massive Online Battle Arena genre, and it’s one that I grew out of quickly until I met Heroes of Order & Chaos, Heroes of the Storm, and the newest entry in the genre for me; VainGlory. Let’s give a bit of a backstory first.
For ten years, I spent a good chunk of my life playing World of Warcraft; Unfortunately Blizzard had me at just around 9 ½ years of playing before I had quit. I hung up my raiding hat, threw in my subscription towel, and walked away never to go back. Before I did that action I was quite into PVP in my free time; I took to Warsong Gulch like a mad man as a disc priest and even a sub rogue just to sap people however I pleased, but overtime I got bored, it was the same thing over, and over, and over again. The Horde lost, Alliance won, and I once more found my head hung in pure frustration and found the last broken straw I needed in order to walk away for the time being.
A few months later, enter the need for something new, something that would keep my attention, and feast my hunger for an online escapade that I could go to, leave, and never look back at when I decided I’m done; or just pick up and go however I want. Enter the MOBA scene, games that take a RTS and fuse it with the idea that you don’t lead the minions, but you are coined with the task of playing the hero that will ultimately decide their pre-programmed fate to be killed off for experience and currency for that matches session only to start over with the next match. The thing here is that the games are fun, short, and do require a bit of skill to complete since most characters are unique to their own capabilities in combat. While some are support, others are good tanks, DPS, or even a hybrid of the two or even three. This is where skill comes into play, players will have to take time, find out what items are best for that character, what skills to max out, and how that character works for them. So lets focus on the MOBA that I’ve been hooked to since its release last year on the App Store; VainGlory.
When looking at VainGlory there is no surprise on why I am hooked in my free time when not working on reviews. Matches are quick, characters are creative, and it takes everything I enjoyed about Heroes of the Storm, DOTA 2 as well as League of Legends and mashed them into a singular game. With the game having recently released on Android, It was time to make the jump, and once more find out why I’ve truly hung up my mouse and keyboard for the time being and walked onto the Play Store and once more found myself enjoying this title.
The Goals in VainGlory are like any other MOBA; destroy enemy minion’s, level up, buy equipment, learn your combinations on what order to use your abilities, when, and why, but also take on the battlefields minor tasks such as unleashing a Kraken, taking over a gold mine, enemy mines, and well – knocking the ever living Hell out of each other and breaking the enemy’s base. Unlike Heroes of the Storm, DOTA, or League, VainGlory finds itself with one small thing that could be considered a downfall to those who can’t do a singular map over, and over, and over again; it’s that it only has one map at this time. To be honest? It’s a satisfying map, one that works perfectly between each of the characters, but also the games pacing allowing for maps to last anywhere between 10 minutes to almost an hour depending on how well the two teams play out against one another. Though there is something quite notable about this game that can’t be recognized with the earlier mentioned titles; it’s cheap for those wanting to invest their real hard-earned money into this title. For 10 bucks? You can get several character skins or even character’s for that matter and go purchase the few things you want in order to help the team of three developers keep their game alive.
Much like previous MOBA’s, VainGlory delivers a single laned map known as the Halcyon Fold, in this map players will be taking the role of characters that are selected as part of the “Free Rotation”, which currently during this review is Saw, Ringo, Petal, Koshka, and Ardan. In this rotation I was able to experience a unique blend of characters that each played uniquely, but also worked well together no matter what character I chose or my teammates chose. They all complimented each other in unique, and rather fun ways that many could say is hard to do since balancing can be quite the issue when working on games like this one.
When stepping aside from the slight learning curve the game has for beginners, the game itself is a visual feast for fans of iPads and Android Devices alike. The visual fidelity is not something to laugh at thanks to its leading edge against most games out there. When looking at the game on the screen of my HTC One M9, there’s something to be said about VainGlory, and that is that the graphics are superb. Let alone do they look and feel like a PC game, they stay steady even in high combat situations, and even when the phone has multiple apps open in the background, which has shown that this team of developers has worked their rears off to ensure an experience like any other. Let alone does the game look good, the sound is good, and that musical score is definitely something that should be written to home about.
Overall, this MOBA isn’t much different from others, but the way it plays, functions, and the fact it can be played on the go gives it an edge against those that can’t manage to pull it off, and that is where VainGlory has easily become my go-to game for when I’m on the go next to Blizzard’s Hearthstone and Order & Chaos Online. If you haven’t downloaded this game? You should, it’s definitely one of the best Android and iOS games available for mobile devices. With skins being able to be crafted through unlocking card boxes or paying for them, this game, unlike others, gives features that other games should be taking notes on so that they will get players coming in from all reaches of the gaming world. All we can say? Super Evil Megacorp has made a game that easily topples the competitors and shows what dedication is all about.
Our review of the game is based upon both the iOS and Android versions of the game, which are both available for free through the App Store and Google Play. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him on Twitter @GamingAnomaly,Google+ o