Lords Mobile is a game that ended up surprising me. We all know the saying about judging a book by its cover. Well I'm adding to that: never judge a game by its tutorial.
For whatever reason, the developer has stocked the opening of the game with the players repetitiously digging through the menus. There were a few moments where I had to watch a battle unfold, but they all played out on their own without any direct involvement from me. Once those battle segments ended, it was right back to opening a menu, hitting "upgrade," closing the menu, and utilizing the free instant upgrade ability to finish off the timer for that particular upgrade.
Lords Mobile directed me from menu to menu, upgrading so many buildings that I stopped paying attention to the specifics and just went straight to the "upgrade" button and then the "free" button to finish off the upgrade. This kind of chore is typical (though to a lesser degree) in many mobile strategy games, but Lords Mobile has taken it to an extreme. One or two examples of how to finish an upgrade is fine, but a dozen or so back-to-back is boring, and less patient players than me will likely check out the game before they even get to play it.
If you were paying attention during the large-scale fight sequences at the beginning of the game, you'll have noticed that hero units lead the armies. Players can not only collect heroes, but they can take their team of heroes on side quests that involve battling waves of enemies and strategically utilizing each hero's unique special abilities during real-time combat.
Loot collected from these battles is used to upgrade the heroes' stats, and as the player levels up their account, the heroes themselves can level up further, allowing them to progress against tougher enemy groups.
I was surprised by how much I was enjoying the hero mode on Lords Mobile, when moments earlier I was halfheartedly tapping away at menus.
The hero battles taking place in real-time, combined with the need to frequently summon and aim special abilities at crucial moments, stands in stark contrast to my experience with the rest of the game. Because the hero mode is just a side attraction and not the main focus, it's not a completely fleshed-out experience. But I was happy to play it, as it did not give me an active role in combat, but because it did not involve me mindlessly upgrading more buildings.
The rest of the game became busy-work once I discovered the hero mode. I'd check in with my town before jumping into tackling a few missions, and then checking out my town before closing out of the game. I was probably supposed to be analyzing my defenses, checking out what my neighbors were up to, and so on. But I did not care about that. I've done that stuff in so many games before Lords Mobile that the familiarity and repetition held very little interest. I just wanted to tackle some more monster fights and collect more heroes.
Lords Mobile's hero mode gets a thumb up from me. The developers have the right idea of how to make a fun game with that gameplay mode, they just need to trim the fat that slows down the rest of the game down.
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