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Tiny Token Empires (PS3) Review

 
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At A Glance...
 

Formats: PS3
 
Genre: ,
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Final Score
7.5
7.5/ 10


User Rating
1 total rating

 

We liked?


A fun mashup of two different genres.

Not so much?


Control scheme isn't all that intuitive.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Tiny Token Empires is a passably fun game that resembles what you’d get if you threw Risk and Bejeweled in a blender and hit puree. There’s plenty of turn based, board game like strategy, and a nice mix of match three gaming to add variety. For the most part, it works well – but the controls are not all that they could be. Still, it’s a great choice for whiling away some lazy summer hours, and the option for local multiplayer means your friends and family can also get in on world conquering action.

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Posted June 5, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

It’s a little bit puzzle game, and a whole lot turn based strategy – but is it a combination that works?TTEscreen3p

Tiny Token Empires is a colorful game that lets you take over the world, one area at a time. As the hero, you play as a variety of different empires. Each campaign consists of one empire – Rome, Greece, Persia, Egypt, Carthage, and Monsters. You play as that empire for four battles, each of which has a variety of main and secondary goals, consisting of things like finding ancient artifacts and taking over enemy capitals, for you to complete in your time there. In addition to the campaign mode, you also have the choice to try free mission (which is exactly what it sounds like), and multiplayer. Multiplayer is of the local variety, and that’s a welcome addition – everybody loves to trounce their friends, smack talking all the way.

The game is turn based, with you being given the opportunity to move your units wherever you like around the board, within their abilities. You can travel as one large unit, or split into several small ones – but as the battles get harder, you’ll need to make sure you have the right combination to defeat some formidable opponents. You can also do a variety of other things on each turn, from building and upgrading cities, to acquiring new troops. All of this is limited by the amount of cash you have on hand, so taking over new territories as often as possible is a must. Along the way, you’ll face all kinds of complications, from random occurrences to drunken soldiers, adding even more to the strategy elements of the game.

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So you’ve got a ton of turn based strategy, deciding everything from the makeup of your units to what kinds of buildings to erect to where to attack next. But where does the puzzle aspect come in? In the battles. When you attack (or are attacked), you are taken to a battle screen that will look awfully familiar. Along the left side of the screen, you will see each of the units you have brought into battle, along the right side will be the enemy’s units, and right in the middle is a match three board that looks just like your favorite game of Bejeweled. Each of your units (and your opponent’s units) will have an icon matching one of the board pieces, and two status bars. One status bar is their life, and the other is a power-up bar.

You power up your units by making a match of those pieces on the board, and your opponent does the same. You take turns making one match at a time, on the same board, so eliminating the matches they need can be just as useful as making the ones you need. If you match four or more jewels in a single turn, you earn an extra turn. Five or more will get you a bomb and an extra turn. Given that you are not timed at all, trying for as many four or more matches as possible is a great strategy even if they aren’t the ones you need, simply because it eliminates opportunities for your opponent.

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So what happens when your unit is powered up? Once the power-up status bar is full, you will have the option to attack – this uses up your turn. Each unit that is fully powered will strike the opponent for a certain amount of damage, and when their life bar is empty they are defeated, and you win the battle. You can choose to strike individually as your units become charged, or save up several of them for a concentrated attack. Of course, your opponent has just as many opportunities to strike at you as well, so again strategy is needed.

All told, the combination of puzzle and turn based features works together fairly well. It’s interesting, and the puzzle parts add a lot of variety to what would otherwise seem like a glorified board game. However, it isn’t all good in Tiny Token Empires. For one thing, the control scheme is far from intuitive. A pretty in depth tutorial walks you through how to play the game – and does a good job of explaining all the elements needed to play well – but the fact is, the controls are unnecessarily clunky. Completing an action generally requires you to work your way through several mini menus, even for something as simple as launching an attack, or sailing your ship to new lands, and it is all too easy to accidentally end your turn. It’s doable, but a simpler control scheme would do a lot to make the game more fun.

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Tiny Token Empires is a passably fun game that resembles what you’d get if you threw Risk and Bejeweled in a blender and hit puree. There’s plenty of turn based, board game like strategy, and a nice mix of match three gaming to add variety. For the most part, it works well – but the controls are not all that they could be. Still, it’s a great choice for whiling away some lazy summer hours, and the option for local multiplayer means your friends and family can also get in on world conquering action.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)