Boom Beach is a strategy game with a lot to offer. You set up a base on a small island that is part of a huge archipelago, and begin to chip away at your enemy, the Blackguard. You explore the archipelago, take out Blackguard (and other human players’) installations, and free natives who have been captured as you learn more about the true nature of the Blackguard and the islands.
War in the Tropics
Enemy bases are everywhere throughout the islands, and you must take them out one at a time. By destroying a base, you gain resources, which can be used to purchase and upgrade buildings and units. A legitimate strategy is necessary, so fortunately you are able to scout bases to figure out a plan of attack. Your trusty gunboat assists you in weakening and destroying defenses before and after your landing parties are deployed. It also gains additional abilities as you upgrade it, like firing flares to direct your troops or employing medkits to heal them.
I was impressed by the graphics in BB. A couple of the textures could have used a little more work, but for the most part this game looks great. Set in an island chain, there is definitely a tropical feel. The beautiful ocean is colored differently depending on how far it is from the shore, and as waves pass around the islands, the frothy water rises and falls realistically around shallow rocks. Sun glints off the waves farther out, and trees on the islands actually sway in the wind while stray leaves are blown off of them. Seagulls sporadically fly over the islands, and waterfalls cascade from high rocks into clear pools.
The sound design is equally awesome. The music alternates between the drumrolls and trumpets you’d hear in your typical war movie, and light-hearted island music, which sometimes sounds like something that would be present in some sort of undersea documentary. There are also some cool sound effects which add to the atmosphere; as you watch the trees moving, you hear a breeze blowing and leaves rustling across the ground.
As far as the controls go, there is a simple system of interacting with buildings and units. New constructions, upgrades, and getting info on current levels and stats are easily attained. During the battle sequences, there are a couple of hiccups though. When firing from the gunboat, you tap on the area you’d like to obliterate. It seemed to me like it would be more effective to just target units, rather than have the targeting be completely open-ended. It didn’t happen often, but I missed a couple of shots because of this, which was frustrating as the shells are not unlimited.
Also, you can’t move your troops and command where they attack at will. There is a flare that your gunboat can fire which will direct them, but this costs energy, which is limited and used for firing shells too. To some extent I understand that this provides a bit more of a challenge, but it just gets frustrating when your troops walk over land mines that are not hidden, or fire on a building as a nearby machine gun lays into them. It would be better if you could direct your units a little more freely.
Addictive but Restrictive
You could play BB for a long time. There are many buildings, units and weapons to construct and upgrade, and countless islands to explore and conquer. The only problem is that you don’t have the ability to build or upgrade more than one building or unit at a time. You can finish a project quickly, but it costs you diamonds, which are awarded for achievements or sometimes randomly discovered, but not to the degree that you would need to keep the game flowing. If you want more, it’s an in-app purchase. I found myself on some occasions wanting to play more, but as a result of not having enough resources or a high enough experience or building level, I had no choice but to wait. Not a problem that you often run into when playing a game, but it was one with BB.
Boom Beach is seriously fun. It would be nice if the gameplay didn’t involve so much waiting, but it makes sense as it is a free game and the developer is trying to drive in-app purchases. Regardless, it’s still a great game with well-above-average graphics and sound. If you’re ok with making some in-app purchases, or just want to pick the game up and play for a few minutes every once in a while, this is one I’d definitely recommend.