Review: Cartoon Craft

By Dick Page 27 Jun 2018 0

Review: Cartoon Craft

Released 05 Jun 2018

Developer: Studio NAP
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
Available from:
App Store
Google Play
Reviewed on: iPhone SE

A lot of people are probably trolling the app stores looking for a game just like Cartoon Craft--a mobile-focused simplified RTS with swords and monsters all built from gold and trees. Obviously, Cartoon Craft is a clone of Warcraft, with armies of orc and humans facing off in a fantasy world. The one thing Cartoon Craft does really well is to make the units super cute, like a high-school graph paper battle come to life. Everything else seems not quite finished.

It's a standard humans-vs-orcs story, with zombies as a mutual antagonist that forces the two natural enemies to band together. Each mission has its own setup and slightly varying goal, but they all come down to surviving and killing the enemy forces.

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Like Warcraft, first you have to build a base, sending workers to gather gold and wood, building farms to increase your unit cap, and building a couple of production buildings to pump out soldiers.

There are only five units the humans can build: worker, swordsman, archer, catapult, and flyer. There's not a lot of difference between the units beyond being able to make ranged attacks or not. There's not even a basic rock-paper-scissors circle of effectiveness. The catapult is significantly stronger than any other unit, which makes it the core of your army once you build the requisite production buildings. The orc side has similar units, but a strong melee ogre unit instead of a catapult. Each side also has a turret tower, which comes in incredibly handy both as a ranged defensive structure and a simple wall to keep the hordes of zombies out. Strategic decisions basically boil down to finding the correct time to shift your production from development of your resources to building a massive army.

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There are a dozen missions you play in campaign mode, but there doesn't appear to be any AI to speak of. There is certainly no global opponent AI. The missions are simply structured as automatic waves of enemies that must be fended off on a timer, and bases that have to be hunted down and razed. The enemies can be phenomenally dumb (to be fair, a lot of them are zombies) and will just let themselves be mowed down by your turrets and archers if there is a line of trees that keeps your forces protected. Your allies will also do nothing to protect themselves or build their forces.

Unit AI is also dumb. Worker units are particularly frustrating in how they cut trees. No matter what area of the forest you tap on, they will interpret it as an order to cut trees in general and beeline for the nearest tree to their position. This can be particularly problematic when the forests form part of the walls that protect you from enemy attack. They will also sometimes just stop cutting trees entirely, for reasons I could not decipher.

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Poor AI is just one sign of a game that needs a lot more time to bake before its ready for sale. I hit a major bug halfway through. Supposedly, my human forces were supposed to ally with the orcish forces to fight off a zombie attack, but the mission opened with the two groups slaughtering each other. Apparently, my mission is to protect the remaining empty orc structures? Then the game just froze.

There's no multiplayer, which is a real shame. Against a human, the game mechanics might offer a few hours of entertainment. There's no skirmish mode, but that's understandable seeing as the AI probably does not actually know how to build a base or develop an army.

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The translation is painfully bad--so bad that I initially thought the writers were deliberately affecting caveman/ogre grammar to fit the theme. That's not really very important since the story text is totally skippable and does nothing to impact the gameplay. Then I realized that there was a major typo on the title screen ... in the title. (Unless the game was actually meant to be titled Catoon Craft?) It's just another sign of how unpolished the game really is.

A cute, simple version of Warcraft for mobile isn't a bad idea, but Cartoon Craft definitely isn’t it. There's no meat to the game, and the lack of basic RTS features combined with the silly AI and bugs makes this one to avoid at any price.

The cute artwork is wasted on a game with derivative, buggy and half-baked design.

Review: Cartoon Craft

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