There's something to be said of a game that respects your time. That goes for both when you have the time and when you don't. Armies of Magic, Playdom's brand new real-time strategy game on Facebook, is exactly that. From its sprawling city-building system borrowed from City of Wonder to its real-time combat that takes cues from games like Swords & Soldiers, Armies of Magic does not dally around with your precious minutes.
In fact, this strategy game makes fine use of them. If you only have a few minutes to steal away, why not find someone to do battle with in real time in the Live Arena? With a few hours to kill after work, it's time to dive into the game's lengthy story mode or spend some time building up your kingdom for the next battle. Armies of Magic isn't limited by an energy system--or any system that artificially limits your play time, for that matter.
Like most enjoyable Facebook games these days, your time spent playing is only limited by your skill at commanding your squads of dwarves, humans or elves in the numerous skirmishes in Armies of Magic. Combat here is somehow both simple and strategic in that you merely manage the amount of resources at your disposal with miners in conjunction with the amount of units you can send charging to their deaths at a time. Of course, it's all in the execution.
For instance, it would be a fool's errand to send in your ranged soldiers ahead of your brutish axe-wielders, and the same goes for your healers. It's also smart to send in large squads of units rather than attack with one soldier at a time, or your army will slowly and surely get stomped. There's plenty to think about in Armies of Magic, and even more so when the need to build a balanced kingdom looms over your head.
Luckily, the proven set-it-and-forget-it style of city building works brilliantly here in Armies of Magic. Frankly, this portion of the game takes somewhat of a backseat to the meat and potatoes: the combat. Getting your town in gear is a simple as clicking a few buttons, and rather than wait around for those buildings to finish, just leap into another battle to pass the time. The beauty of Armies of Magic is in its logistics, how every feature works in tandem to keep players hooked for as long as possible.
But that's not to say that Armies of Magic isn't a looker. From animated cityscapes to units that slash, sling, shoot and slam with meticulous detail, it's clear that Playdom spent plenty of time ensuring that, if Armies of Magic doesn't draw players in with its time-friendly approach to play, that it would with its cutesy looks and adorable sounds.
Armies of Magic isn't without its flaws, like rampant connection errors in its real-time play mode and a painfully steep difficulty spike around Level 6. But throw in guild options, player raids on fellow kingdoms, rivals and three different worlds to play around in, and Playdom's crack at fantasy strategy promises plenty more fun to outweigh its flaws. Armies of Magic is an all-out assault on your free time that succeeds in almost every way.
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