One Squirrel To Rule Them All Takes A Crack At Tower Defense
In a land far, far away, there exists a squirrel king. His territories were captured by a massive army of trolls. It's your job, as said king, to conquer each and every province and restore peace to your kingdom. One Squirrel To Rule Them All is a cute but disappointing attempt at the tower defense genre.
Like many free-to-play games on the mobile platform, you are given allotted resources to delve into this squirrelly kingdom. Your dispensable currency in the game are coins, acorns, and energy. All of which are necessary to battle groups of trolls in this linear story driven game. Each time you battle, a little bit of your resources are drained.
Navigating the game to find out resource information is near impossible. The only way to determine how much you have of anything is to start a match. Before each confrontation you're given a minute of cheesy dialog that usually fails to deliver. On the upside, at least the characters in the game are pretty to look at.
I can't help but appreciate the art style in One Squirrel. Big doe-eyed squirrels and dopey looking magical mushrooms just ooze with charm as they explain why you need to demolish these equally adorable trolls.
In each territory there is a special animal or defender that you must rescue. After you defend the treasure chest, the following level you will unlock the once trapped creature. Each ally has their own special abilities. For example, a mushroom provides the in-battle currency to plant more defensive creatures like black cats, squirrels, and sheep - which slow down the enemies even more.
The trolls and allies alike are horrifically slow. Very, very slow. I found the pacing of the enemy flow sporadic at best, and annoying. As the mindless zombie-like trolls meander down a gravel pathway, the pink squirrels I placed will launch acorns at a sloth-like pace.
The classes, for both sides of the treasure chest battle, never felt balanced. I often felt overwhelmed and never given proper tools to overcome some of the basic tutorials. With a variety in abilities and animals, there's a total of 18 different classes. As much as you would think it's important to have the right unit, it's hard to be efficient if you don't know where the enemy is coming from.
A lack of clearly defined lanes makes for confusing placement. Many times my attempts to place an allied creature had to be redone because it was hard to tell where the trolls were going to come from. Most environments I found were very cluttered and quite distracting. There's also a severe lacking of nuance and audible goodness.
Another aspect of the game I found uninspiring was the music. I simply found no relevance for the odd tunes coming from my phone. Coupled with a cartoonish "boing" when clicking just about anything on-screen, I ended up muting my iPhone.
Needless to say, One Squirrel To Rule Them All would've been a better game had they concentrated on how to make this game FUN and challenging. The charm of the art style unfortunately can't drag this game out of the mud. Tower defense games aren't popular for a few reasons, one fo them being because they're so hard to get right. One Squirrel shows us just why so many miss the mark.