Battlefront Heroes is a new epic strategy game from Beijing-based Gosu Group. The game takes on the same gameplay of Clash of Clans while using a set of cartoonish artworks.
Clash of Clans is a pretty young game (16 months on iOS, 3 months on Android), but that has done nothing to stop its domination of the Top Grossing charts (it’s currently sitting in the #2 position on both platforms). Clash of Clans’ formula isn’t exactly new, but they nailed a good balance of charming graphics that drew players in, deep strategy that kept players coming back, and fun social features that made the players want to invite their friends. Clash of Clans has been cloned countless times since its release. As the game is still doing so well, it’s no surprises that the new clones keep popping up. So is the case with Battlefront Heroes, a take on Clash’s formula by Beijing-based Gosu Group, the same team behind SimCity Social, My Empire, and Country Story.
If you haven’t at least tried Clash of Clans yet, it’s most likely because the cutesy graphics and fantasy theme turned you off, or else because you simply don’t have a device running iOS or Android. Battlefront Heroes is such a faithful recreation of Clash of Clans that those really are the key differences — it has a near-future military theme (though it’s still pretty cute) and you can play it through Facebook.
The gameplay of Battlefront Heroes is a mashup of city-building, real-time strategy, and tower defense. You build up a military base with buildings that generate resources, train troops, defend your base, and more. Generating resources over time is nice, but you can bring them in at a faster rate when you raid other players’ bases. You’ll nab a good portion of the resources sitting in their storage buildings at the expense of any units you deploy to the battlefield. As long as you pick your fights wisely, you’ll always come out with enough new resources to rebuild your army. Your base can be raided by other players too, though, so you have to carefully design your base to maximize the effectiveness of defensive turrets and protect your precious resources at all costs. Every unit and building can be upgraded several times, with each training, construction, and upgrade taking real time to complete.
As I mentioned before, Battlefront Heroes is extremely faithful in its recreation of Clash of Clans. There are a few tiny differences, but by and large, Battlefront Heroes amounts to little more than a direct reskinning of Clash of Clans. Supercell (the studio behind Clash) has been doing this genre longer and Clash of Clans has a massive player base that Battlefront Heroes will almost certainly never come close to acquiring. Battlefront Heroes isn’t bad at all, but if you have an iOS or Android device you could be playing Clash of Clans on — you’d be better off doing just that.
Really, that is the heart of the problem with Battlefront Heroes. It’s a fine game, but it doesn’t do anything new. There’s nothing significant that it does that isn’t covered by Clash of Clans and twenty other games. Balancing the combat in these games is hard and takes a lot of work, which is exactly why so many of these clones copy the units and buildings from Clash of Clans. The toughest work is done for them — coming up with fun, cohesive ideas and then tweaking them constantly until they fit into the existing game in a way that’s exciting but doesn’t break anything that’s already working.
To be perfectly clear, only most of the buildings and units in Battlefront Heroes are clones. You’ve got Thieves instead of Goblins, Medevacs instead of Healers, and Battlecruisers instead of Dragons. A few units seemed at least somewhat novel, such as the fast and fragile Blast Rotor meant to distract enemies or, in large numbers, overrun other aerial units. As far as buildings go, the only notable addition is a collection of six special monuments you can unlock by completing a certain number of three-star victories. The first milestone is 30 three-star victories, and it only shoots way up from there. That said, the monuments provide special effects that will help you for the rest of the game such as shorter training times, improved tower damage, or slower enemy units. Otherwise, everything has a pretty clear Clash counterpart, even potion-slinging shows up in the form of a Comm Relay that lets you provide air support for your troops.
Like so many of these games, Battlefront Heroes monetizes through the sale of premium currency, diamonds in this case. Diamonds are kind of a catch-all super currency that let you buy extra workers (so you can have more buildings under construction simultaneously), instantly stock up on resources, buy shields that protect you from player attacks for days at a time, or instantly complete any training, construction, or upgrade. The pricing is pretty fair, on top of the fact that you can gradually earn a pretty good stash of diamonds by completing in-game achievements.
I’ve already covered this a few times, but there’s really just not much else to say: Battlefront Heroes is a nearly complete clone of Clash of Clans, except it has a military theme and you can play it in your browser through Facebook. It’s a good game, but that’s almost entirely because Gosu Group copied a good game. The graphics are fine, using a sort of pseudo-3D. Most things look 3D, but aside from zooming in and out, the camera is locked to a strange not-quite-isometric angle. The sounds can get pretty annoying, as a constant loop of ambient noise is littered with clips from the beach and unintelligible chatter. Battlefront Heroes is a fine game, but that’s really just not good enough in a genre that is so saturated these days. It does nothing to stand out from the crowd. While its military theme and Facebook-compatibility do make it unique from Clash of Clans, there are plenty of other clones that have already done both. Battlefront Heroes really needs one killer feature to make it special, but until it gets that, it’s just another uninspired copycat trying to hitch a ride on the coattails of Clash of Clans.
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