App Review: ‘Pocket Troops’ Is A Stellar Strategic War Game

Don’t let the cutesy graphics and occasional humor fool you, Pocket Troops is a multi-layered strategic war game that, especially since it’s free-to-play, is worth a look. I’ve devoted about four hours of gameplay to this iOS title, and my love for Pocket Troops hasn’t dissipated.

My motley crew of soldiers in "Pocket Troops."
My motley crew of soldiers in “Pocket Troops.”

Instead of doing a blow by blow review of the game, which hit the App Store on December 3, I’ll break down several reasons why Pocket Troops is a worthy download.

Tons of Weapons and Character skills customization in "Pocket Troops."
Tons of Weapons and Character skills customization in “Pocket Troops.”
  1. The Character Building Is Top Notch And Immersive.

The actual action behind Pocket Troops takes the requisite top-down, turn based style, so on the action end you’ve probably seen this type of combat dozens of times from previous video game experiences. However, it’s understandably hard to revolutionize a mechanic that’s absolutely tried and true (and it works for Pocket Troops).

Instead, the main allure behind Pocket Troops originates in the ability to build your respective soldiers as you progress throughout the game. Along with saving up different types of currency to purchase soldiers to one’s specific liking, they can also increase their skills by working out at the military gym.

"Pocket Troops" - Soldiers getting their workouts.
“Pocket Troops” – Soldiers getting their workouts.

2. There is a ton of multi-tasking involved, leading to immersive gameplay.

If you’re more of a pick up and play type of gamer, then you can engage in a couple of quick missions and resume your play at another time. Whether it’s deploying your troops on a single-player mission or attacking other players online, these engagements will give you a diverting couple of minutes before you head off to complete your daily tasks in the real world.

I prefer playing my apps on an iPad, and I usually spend a couple of leisure hours a day playing some of my favorite iOS titles (since November 2014, it’s been Call of Duty Heroes). Thanks to its character and weapons building options, as well as the plethora of missions, I’ve spent a healthy amount of time on Pocket Troops sans getting bored.

I’m adding Pocket Troops to my favorite apps list because of the diversity of the gameplay. For example, while I have two warriors working out and building on their skill set, I can deploy four other warriors and send them on a mission, where even if they lose the battle, experience points will be gained.

The actual workout room can also be leveled up, and as of this post I have two of my guys training to strengthen their respective skill sets.

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It Really Is A “Tactical” War Game

Many titles that tout themselves as a tactical war game are essentially tap and shoot, turn-based titles that require a shred of thought. Pocket Troops goes an entirely different direction, as some of the missions are actually hard to win.

To increase your chances of victory, deploying the right troops and knowing when to have them fire their weapons is of paramount importance. If one of your soldiers prefers close combat and fires a round within spitting distance of the enemy, make sure your next member doesn’t have a shotgun that’s aimed in his direction. Due to my poor tactical planning, my soldiers have been a victim of friendly fire far too often.

Some of the single player missions in Pocket Troops may be hard to completely finish due to the lack of experience or skill of your squad. Not to worry, however, as you can fight less experienced soldiers online and gain experience points and currency from these skirmishes. Whether it’s by consistently sending your troops to the gym or shuffling them off to winnable combat scenarios, these single player missions will eventually be completed. It’ll just take time and, if you’re hooked on Pocket Troops like I am, then time is not a factor!

Top to bottom - the infirmary, the crew room, the rec room (where one soldier isn't going off to battle), and the gym. - "Pocket Troops"
Top to bottom – the infirmary, the crew room, the rec room (where one soldier isn’t going off to battle), and the gym. – “Pocket Troops”

This is a Goodwill Free to Play Title

Some free to play titles will barrage gamers with distracting pop up ads or, worse yet, turn their premium purchases into an integral aspect of continuing the game. I have yet to experience such an annoying dynamic several hours in to playing Pocket Troops.

Coins are available to purchase that will grant you access to Elite Forces missions, which I’m assuming gives players bigger rewards and more interesting weapons to grab onto. However, you can also earn coins by the organic process of playing your way through the game (aka the old fashioned way!) or if you want to earn one gold coin at a time, you’ll have to option of watching an advertisement and collecting your haul cone the ad’s finished.

I’m sure the developers want the gamers to spend a ton of money on Pocket Troops, but thankfully they understand that the best way to get people hooked is offer up hours of gameplay experience without charging a penny. I am a huge fan of goodwill gaming, and Pocket Troops has that in spades.

Summary
As much as I love cartoonish graphics with a humorous bent, some actually hide the fact that behind all that simplicity lies an entirely immersive experience. Being a lifelong RPG nut, maybe I need a bit more platform titles or Nintendo in my life to understand that simple graphics yet complex gameplay concept. Thankfully, Pocket Troops understands that dynamic, and this is one title that isn’t being immediately deleted from my iPad.

Pocket Troops is now available as a free to play download on the App Store.

If you play “Pocket Troops,” I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below!!
****The “Pocket Troops” review was done with a code provided by the publisher.

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