Kids vs Goblins Review
- Stance-based skill-sets add variety to three otherwise static characters.
- Multiple mission types mix up the gameplay and challenge.
- Relatively intuitive controls (when they work) and easy to use skills.
- Fun 'Peter Pan'-like story / environment.
- Enemy AI 'focus' hard to control; makes tanking them near impossible.
- Player AI / movement / targeting unreliable; occasionally does the opposite of what you intend.
- Multiple missions in the same area (with no real purpose) break the flow of the story.
Kids vs Goblins provides an alternative to those who are tired of needing to learn multiple RPG class types, earn powerful items or learn complex boss patterns - when this game works it's a treat, but initial release issues hamper an otherwise fun new take on the genre.
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A recent commenter on our videos pointed out that often a game falls under the category of evolution and not revolution - put another more personal context, while new and unique games are praise-worthy, there's no reason why a game can't take something we know and build upon it. Kids vs Goblins by Stolen Couch Games and Crescent Moon Games does just this, giving the Battleheart formula a story-driven tweaking.
This isn't the first time the publisher has pushed something like this through, with Raid Leader doing a decent job of capturing the essence of online MMO combats, however Kids vs Goblins is something entirely else - waves upon waves of enemies are the order of the day and how you approach each challenge depends on the mode you play.
From the outset you're given the quest of rescuing the little baby brother of three children stranded on a magical island. After being granted magical powers they find themselves fighting a literal uphill battle to fight the Goblin King in his lofty mountain castle.
One thing the game can't be accused of is throwing the player in to the deep end without a paddle. At almost every turn the game is ready and willing to explain itself, be it introducing how to move and attack to how a newly unlocked mode works. This is fortunate as the game itself isn't as intuitive as you'd expect.
Despite the familiar drag to move/attack/assign target style of manipulating the trio, their ultimate response to your input is often not what you may have intended. Dragging a movement line away from a hero may result in no movement until you also tap the location, but it may also cancel the movement. Double-tapping results in a hodge-podge attempt to either move to a location or attack an enemy, but one of the children may also wander off in an entirely separate direction.
With this in mind, taking on the game's varied stages and challenges takes on a whole new level of difficulty that may not have been intended. This is a shame as the game makes excellent use of a limited skill system to provide unique scenarios for the player to overcome. Each character can take on one of three stances (attack, support, and heal), each with their own set of spells to define their style of play. Levels occasionally lock you in to a specific stance, forcing you to spread your resources and unlock a variety of skills to survive challenges such as needing to live for a set time without heals.
For a game that has already limited its audience to those with either an iPhone 4S or iPad 2, it's a shame it's so difficult to come to grips with the controls in Kids vs Goblins. What should be a fun romp for all ages feels too unstable to recommend without additional tweaking.