Upgrading a small straw building into a sprawling stone fortress with archers on the battlements, catapults, all while controlling a giant troll does sound fun. Lets explore more about One troll Army, a free indie game created by FlyAnvil and find out.
Before we get into the good and bad aspects of this game let’s talk about what One Troll Army is. You play as a troll named Brain who decides to protect some peons while they build up their defenses and town. You manage the peons and tell them to gather materials, you choose what buildings and defenses to build within the town, and when waves of enemies come you control the troll and fight during the battles.
There are three main missions and the goal of each is to build up the town to it’s max potential. Strawburg is the first town you build which is all level 1 buildings, then Timberpost which is level two, then Stonehold which is level 3 buildings. Did you notice that? “Straw”burg, “Timber”post, “Stone”hold. Each castle is made up of a better material, stone being the strongest.
Some of the buildings you create have special features, in the barracks for example you can upgrade any your tower defenders. There is a store where you can sell and buy different resources, and a tavern where you can hire drunk orcs (I’m assuming they are drunk) to help you defend your castle.
As I mentioned there is some management of the peons. You can tell them to gather specific resources, gather loot off of dead enemies after battle, repair the wall, or construct your new buildings. You do have the ability to pause the game if needed so you can manage them better and not waste time which is nice. Also you can double the game speed which comes in handy when you just want them to gather, repair, or build something.
Finally there is the troll you control. You can choose to spend your money on the castle or on the troll, whatever you think defends the castle best. Increased health, run speed, abilities, they are all here. I do like that as you increase health your character actually begins to wear armor.
OK, now that you know what One Troll Army is let me really get into my review of the game. I appreciate that this game is doing something different where you’re playing a hero defending a castle and managing the castle and the resources. I haven’t played anything like this before and think it’s a good concept. It takes about 30 minutes to really start to get the feel of the game but once you do it is enjoyable. As the troll you’re really just doing hit and runs in the beginning because you’re too weak to fight (I played on Medium difficulty). If you fight toe to toe there is a strong chance you’ll die. Once you get towers and figure out how to put in archers and upgrade them things get easier. The first fort(Strawburg) is purely a learning process and it took me about 45 minutes to complete. Little did I know I’d have to do it all over again soon, more on that to come! I thought the town graphics were good and seeing the town develop into the stone castle was nice. The units on top of towers shooting down and killing the charging army was always pleasing to watch. Overall I found the balance of managing peons, building castle, and fighting to be enjoyable.
So with that said, my biggest gripe about this game is the waste of time. Currently the game makes you build the full Strawburg castle then the “mission” is completed. Once you begin the second mission which is Timberpost you start back at level 0 buildings which is where you first started the game. So you start over and build the full Strawburg again then you start on the timber buildings for Timberpost. Ok, so you stuck it out and you built Timberpost, great! Guess what? Now you start the new mission for Stonehold and that means you start back at level 0 and have to build Strawburg, then Timberpost buildings, then you begin on Stonehold. I just wish you could continue from staw to timber to stone without having to restart. Sure this makes the game longer but damn it feels like a waste of time, and it’s because of this waste of time I have a hard time recommending it. If you’re like me you’re going to want to continue until you have that damn stone castle, but there is really no benefit to do doing this!
Besides re-starting the level there are a few other things I didn’t really like about the game. The troll really doesn’t feel like a hero to me, he feels underwhelming. I like the idea behind a hero defending the castle but the troll just didn’t feel like that character to me. Maybe I could have spent more money into the troll but the mission is to build the castle, not defend it as the troll, so that would have delayed my success. Also the combat for the troll feels a little clunky, walking around just trying to smash things with little aim. As for the peon management I wish that would have been displayed in the bottom right of the screen at all times. It’s annoying to have to keep going into the management mode for the peons, having the screen zoom in, then moving sliders. This is especially bad after each battle if you want to collect the loot. You have to assign them to get the loot, then once it’s collected you have to assign them back to their tasks of gather or building. Again, it just takes a lot of time away and you’re constantly managing peons. I’m fine with managing NPC’s in games but the time spent toggling the UI is what was cumbersome.
With that said, did I mention the troll’s name was Brain? Well you don’t know that until you build Stonehold but it is amusing. So all in all this indie game is good for a free game built by Unity, I just think the progression between the three castles wastes a lot of the players time. If you could just start the game on “Endless” mode or jump straight from straw to timber to stone the game would be much more enjoyable.