City building, army leading, hero-based strategies are the bread and butter of mobile games. It’s really difficult to make a game in the genre that offers anything new, and the format of these games by itself isn’t too welcoming to innovation. The best you could hope for is to have the game that’s well made in every aspect of gameplay. Is Lords Mobile that kind of game? Let’s see.
According to App Annie, the game is one of the top grossing strategy games on the App Store and Google Play. The official description of game states that it has more than 65 million players around the world. We’re inclined to believe them, considering how popular this game is.
This game combines several genre elements, namely open-space RPG, Real-time strategy, and world-building mechanics. The gameplay consists of several game modes, of which the most popular are PvP battles. The players have to build their own base and army to attack enemy bases, raid the resources and capture enemy leaders. Players can also attack and loot monsters and other world bosses that periodically appear on the kingdom map. In addition to the usual attacks, players can participate in contests in order to capture a location on the map, earning bonuses to either their profile or the guild they’re a part of.
Lords Mobile has some additional gameplay modes, like PvE Hero Stages and The Labyrinth, and PvP Colosseum. Hero Stages are series of challenges players fight trough using unique Heroes. In the Labyrinth, the player can challenge a boss in order to claim various resources and speed-up items. On occasion, players may earn a jackpot of Gems. Finally, Colosseum is a PvP mode most similar to MOBA games like League of Legends. The player selects up to five Heroes and fights against another player’s preselected Heroes. There are over 40 Heroes, and they are divided into several types: Intelligent, Strong, Agile. All Heroes are unique with different skills, attributes, designs, and backgrounds.
Players can join or create guilds in order to collaborate with other players regardless of location. Guildmates are able to assist their allies with build time and research time or to earn rewards for their allies by defeating world monsters and making in-game purchases.
The game mechanics could be roughly divided into three parts. First is city building and management, which is quite a chore. This type of building and upgrading mechanism, in which the game just leads you through so many upgrade menus that in the end you just don’t care what you upgrade, is pretty common for mobile games, but Lords Mobile takes that to the logical extremes. The second part is battles, which are played out on their own, without any direct involvement from the players. All we can do is cross our fingers that our army will prevail. A less patient player would give up from the game at that moment, but that would be a mistake, because the third mechanic, Hero Battles, is the saving grace of this game. It is a real-time, small-scale mission in which heroes battle waves of enemies using their abilities and powers. And the best thing is, you actually lead them, you have an active role in combat. The only problem is that the rest of the game seems even duller after the Hero Battles phase.
With this game, the devs proved that they know how to make an entertaining game with the Hero Battles mode. They just need to make the whole game comparable to that and to trim the boring mechanics that slow the game down.