Let's just call a spade a spade here: uCool, the startup developer (comprised of folks behind notorious web strategy game Evony) behind Tynon, really adores CityVille by Zynga. Everything about the Facebook hit's user interface and city-building mechanics have been replicated in Tynon, the developer's new web-based, medieval fantasy RPG.
While such practices aren't admirable in the social game space (much less in any space), the shortcuts uCool has taken along the way in crafting Tynon have helped it become, well, a better, faster and less restrictive CityVille. What Tynon does best is take the tried and true concepts of Zynga's successful city-builder on Facebook and give them much-needed and more interesting purpose.
That's because Tynon isn't a full city-builder until about 30 minutes into the game. When players begin their journey into Tynon's world, they're battling goblins and other baddies, albeit rather passively. In Tynon, the king of the land along with most of his subjects have fell victim to a terrible curse courtesy of--what else?--a dark wizard. It's your job to smack some sense into the various (and gorgeously animated) lords of the land and have them join you in your quest to give this spell caster what for.
Again, combat is entirely passive. Players simply create formations for their heroes to attack the enemy in, click a button and watch the chaos unfold. While each hero that you recruit throughout the course of the story has a special ability and his or her own unique statistics, neither affect your participation in combat. Battles in Tynon are strictly a stats game with a dash of strategy in where you place your hero units.
As you progress through territories home to numerous fantasy staples--dwarves, orcs and elves ... oh, my!--you'll need to fund and fuel your campaign through tending to your ever-growing kingdom. This is where Tynon's largely borrowed city-building hook comes into play. You'll place and upgrade buildings, you'll plant crops, you'll collect taxes and you'll even decorate your kingdom to increase the payouts of your residences and businesses.
The difference here is that it all ultimately serves to get you back into what Tynon is at its core, an RPG. For instance, Goods farmed from crops fuel upgrades to your buildings, which in turn increases the power of the upgrades you can offer your hero units from said buildings. This works inversely, too, since your player level directly correlates to your Town Hall level, which governs other restrictions across your kingdom.
Borrowed and iterated upon, yes, but there's no denying that this system flows incredibly well between lulls of city-building and sword-stuffed, fireball-filled tours of combat razing countless cities in the name of reclaiming their inhabitants sanity. (Just ignore the terrible disconnect between gratuitous violence and restoring someone's state of mind.) Throw in extra features like an asynchronous multiplayer battle arena complete with leaderboards and you basically have CityVille ... but better.
It's almost painful to admit, given the lengths that uCool went to emulate what made the top city-builder on Facebook a success, but that's what Tynon amounts to. Actually, it's puzzling that Tynon isn't on Facebook (though it uses Facebook Connect rather well). Call it what you will, but Tynon is an unabashed one-up on CityVille. We're still on the fence on whether that should be applauded or condemned, but if you're going to play CityVille, you may as well just play Tynon.
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