HonorBound is a free-to-play app available for iOS and Android devices. I myself have been playing this on my iPad.
Free-to-play games tend to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Sure these games are free but they structure the games in a way that requires the player to pay for severely overpriced in app items to progress and enjoy the game. I never cave in to paying for in app purchases because I always know within a short period of time I will eventually give up on the game. I’m sure I’ve stated this in the past but I would willingly pay money for an app that is complete over contributing to this ridiculous model.
With that said when I first started playing HonorBound it did not feel like I needed to pay for in app purchases to play the game and enjoy it. However now that I am much further into it the game is still playable but the enjoyment has tapered off quite a bit as it is hard to progress without doing a lot of back tracking to completed areas to move forward through newer areas. Now onto the review.
When you start the game for the first time you need to select a commander from the five available. I’m not sure if the initial story is different for whatever character you select as you can only play one game, no multiple game saves. I quickly lost my interest in the story for this game as it is pretty generic. Your character is sent on a noble quest to save the world. That’s the story in a nutshell. Of course plenty of games in the past have had this exact story but they add interesting elements to it, like for example great characters. HonorBound does not have that.
Most of the story elements get lost here with the hindrance of having to back track too much in order to advance. When you have to do this it takes you out of what little bit of a story there is and for me it left me not caring one bit.
HonorBound’s gameplay is pretty basic so any gamer can quickly get it down in the first five to ten minutes of playing. Each battle is turn based with either the user or AI going first depending on how the battle came about. The attack options in the beginning are fairly limited to start, you have a choice of 2 attacks; the basic (just tapping an enemy to hit) or the first available special ability. For the main character their first ability is capture. This ability allows you to capture an enemy to add to your stable of heroes but you can only successfully do this when their health is roughly under 20%.
Let’s discuss this capture ability for a second. When the game first dropped it seemed you could capture an enemy at a decent rate. When capturing is an option you’ll see a percentage of how likely you are to capture this enemy when the power is selected. Since they have released a mandatory update, capturing has become ridiculously tough to the point it’s just a nuisance. Every failed capture attempt lowers the enemies chances of being captured on each consecutive turn. To me that is a terrible game mechanic because as the battle is progressing you are still taking damage, the percentage should go up rewarding the players who are persistent, but I digress.
The level designs are pretty simple to navigate. Usually a one way street in each dungeon with the occasional option to go left or right. Most of the dungeons in the beginning you can get through in one go but as you progress further and the dungeons get bigger the power bar for how many moves you can make ends up depleting before you can reach the end. Thus forcing the player to wait for it to recharge.
Upon it’s initial release the level designs and character models were uninspiring at best. Nothing to write home about but hey you could play it in standard or HD. Now since the mandatory update the graphics have become fuzzy and the character models severally broken. Each character model now looks like a jigsaw puzzle with the pieces in the wrong spots. Very disappointing and makes some of the battles hard to distinguish what enemies you are up against.
I wouldn’t be so harsh on the graphics if the Juicebox fixed this issue in a timely manner but it’s been at least 2 weeks now which is pretty unacceptable. If you look at the reviews in the app store you can see plenty of comments from people having the same issue.
This might be the only part of the game that did not break with the most recent update. However that does not mean it was anything great or good for that matter before that. The music is basic but gets that tone of “hey it’s an adventure” across.
The sound FX on the other hand feel very canned and adds little to the experience. I usually find myself playing this game now with it on mute.
For the people willing to shell out a lot of money to progress through this game where it feels natural I’m sure they’ll get a good amount of playing time out of this app. It does have an arena where you battle other players teams (not actually controlled by the player) but you can only do three matches before you run out of power making the player wait an hour to generate one power to battle again.
I myself am still playing this game mainly whenever I’m watching the March Madness games but contemplate giving up on it. The latter seemingly will happen sooner before later.