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Gameplay

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Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: 10.4


Tribal Trouble 2
April 30, 2009 | Franklin Pride
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Base Building
When someone offers you something for free in this day and age, you often find yourself asking "what's the catch?" When it comes to games, the catch is usually hidden fees or advertisements blinding you at every turn. Tribal Trouble 2 (TT2) doesn't have advertisements, so what does that leave?

TT2 is a game type you rarely ever see, a real-time-strategy game with browser interface. All missions, multiplayer battles, and upgrades are handled through your browser, but the battles are all played with an automatically downloaded application. All of these are relatively good-looking and work without a hitch, although the bank, one of the most-important areas, isn't fully working right now.

TT2 seems pretty straightforward. You log in, you pick a mission to play, and you get down to business. However, this is where you begin to notice the hidden fees. All the major upgrades for your tribe, like new unit types, require the use of "oddies," the purchasable currency of the world. As such, you don't even have a hope at finishing the later missions or beating opponents in multiplayer unless you're willing to fork over some cash. The only other way to get them is to spend your meager winnings from missions and multiplayer in the bank trading zone, and you can only conceivably get a dozen or so this way. This is a major problem considering you need close to a hundred of them to get all the important upgrades. You can earn tiny bits of money from multiplayer battles as well, but it takes roughly 45 fights per oddie even if you win. So, pay, grind, or die. It's your choice.

Once you get by that hurdle, the game itself is quite boring. You gather resources, use those resources to make unlocked weapons, and use those weapons to create warriors. You then send those warriors in the general direction of the enemy force, wait until they mass up again, and attack your target of choice. If you have a bigger army, you win. There's no rock beats scissors or scissors beats paper, just a battle of two rockslides. The biggest rockslide wins. You can also place towers and use a single hero unit, but those are both relatively useless against a foe that also has them. All you really need to do is run your hero up, blow your magic stunning horn, have your peasants whack the towers as fast as possible, and retreat behind your towers as the enemy army wakes up.

Of course, TT2 is still pretty much in beta, so this may change as time goes on. If there's a new unit resistant to the chicken punishers, if you can set up traps, or even if there's a second playable group, it might get better. For now, though, the battles just come down to who has the best upgrades or the first army. A battle of money and zerging.

At least it looks and sounds good! The graphics are all done in a cartoony style and are enjoyable to look at, the website interface is very well done, and the sounds and music fit the mood of the game perfectly. It doesn't look and sound groundbreaking, but it doesn't look and sound too bad either. This really does seem to be the pattern in modern games, though, so it's nothing too special.

On the price end, it thankfully doesn't cost too much to buy oddies. After you pay $15 or so, you'll have all the oddies you need plus the gold from the missions. The problem with the cost, though, is that Tribal Trouble 2 doesn't appear to offer much at this moment. The multiplayer fights are boring and simplistic, there really aren't enough missions (although they are occasionally fun), and the fact that it claims to be free is slightly insulting to the truly free games on the market. Overall, I'd only recommend playing this game if you're really hurting for a new strategy game and Red Alert 3 isn't good enough for you.

Pros:
• Good presentation
• Easy to learn

Cons:
• Either you upgrade or lose
• Upgrading tends to cost money
• Too few missions
• Resource gathering with no unit variety



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