Combining real-time ideas with turn-based mechanics, strategy title Battle Worlds: Kronos joins a growing list of projects using Kickstarter to find success. Does it meet the promise of its crowdfunding pitch?
In campaign mode, the game follows a war on the planet Kronos, the one hundred and twentieth war of succession. After the previous war was ended with nuclear strikes, those that could moved to the neighboring planet of Rhea. Four factions still travel to Kronos to fight for the title of Emperor, with Kronos’ poor population caught in the crossfire. While it serves to tie the campaign missions together, the whole “fighting for control of a planet” concept has been heavily overused.
Missions are about using limited resources wisely. Unlike an RTS or a turn-based game like Civilization, this game doesn’t let you simply build more units or draw on a large pool of resources to build your army. You tend to get what you are given at the beginning. Given that each unit moves separately, the game would become somewhat tedious if you had to move large numbers of units around.
There isn’t a huge amount of resource management or any base building involved; the game is entirely about using the troops you are given wisely. Repairs to damaged units can be done with finite resources found on the maps, though some units can repair using the wreckage of a destroyed unit. Resource management becomes more important later on, as resources are moved around the map by transports.
The game uses a hexagonal grid, and like a typical turn-based game, only allows one unit per tile. Units have an attack and a move phase, though many can use their attack as an additional move or vice versa to make traversing the map less tedious. Each unit type has its own range that needs to be used to your advantage. For example, some units can’t hit directly in front of them, but can attack two tiles away, making them useful when positioned behind other units. Units attack for more damage when friendly units are in an adjacent hex.
Your units can also level up through combat, which lets you tailor them based on the needs of the current battle. Leveling them up makes them more powerful, but also more valuable and more painful when they’re destroyed. The inability to harvest large quantities of resources or replace troops puts a definite focus on keeping your units alive, instead of simply rushing lines of tanks at enemy forces.
The visuals are bright and colorful, and presented in an isometric viewpoint. The style definitely derives from sci-fi influences, but the combat makes it feel more like a modern setting. It may not be all that visually impressive, but the UI efficiently uses smaller space to be both usable and unobtrusive. The unit designs are reminiscent of previous strategy games, but not enough to make me feel as if they’re copies. It’s clear that much of the art is inspired by previous games; the brightly colored battle maps recall the spirit of Red Alert 2, and are a welcome departure from the often-dark settings often found in this type of game.
Battle Worlds: Kronos isn’t going to be the next Civ, or impress with its graphics, but if you want turn-based combat that reminds you of games like Advance Wars, it’s a great alternative to more large-scale games. It borrows from many games, but the end result is something unique that feels more like an RTS than its peers.
Pros: Strategic combat that makes you think
Cons: Somewhat-bland plot