Boom Beach in the eyes of a Hardcore Gamer


If we were snotty editors -- which we obviously aren't -- we might say that having the distinction of being the best game of all time in iOS and Android is like having the distinction of being the tallest building in Topeka, Kansas. But Boom Beach holds that distinction, along with several international awards, for good reason. It's a colorful, easily accessible game the combines both base building and real-time strategy, and is set in the exotic archipelago. The real question is whether hardcore U.S. gamers, fat and satisfied off the meat of games like Clash of Clans and Clash of Lords 2, will really take the time to discover the Boom Beach's charms.

Boom Beach will be immediately familiar to strategy gamers. The goal of the game is not specific; your challenge is really to survive and flourish. Different gamers will take different routes to that destination. Martial gamers can mine ore for weapons and bide their time until their military is strong enough to roar. Merchant gamers can set up trading routes between neighbors and try to remain lean and profitable through commerce. And mercurial gamers can choose whatever tactic best suits their whims.

The single-player version of the game begins with ships, headquarter and looking to settling in a new island. The maps are predominantly made of water, with chains of islands scattered throughout. Each map can contain up to 50 islands, randomly generating from a database with over 700 islands and atolls, complete with mountains, flora and indigenous life. Players will have to quickly sail to an island, scout it for resources and then decide whether to settle it or move on. It's an interesting beginning because it forces players to take into account relative location to other islands. One large island may be richer in resources, but harder to completely colonize. But several smaller islands may be easier to control but for the gamer to spend more wood on ships.

Often the quickest route to success involves a little blasting and smiting of one's foes. Boom Beach places equal emphasis on both land and sea battles. Players must build barracks to train the soldiers, and research and grow to add to military technology. But as important and useful cavalry and cannons are, they are little use without control of the seas. The actual combat sequences are no more complicated than in other strategy games. Players will be able to attack, retreat and guard.

The graphics in Boom Beach scale nicely between on non HD or even those sporting quad HD phones and tablets. Even at the minimum setting, zoomed all the way out, the structures and ships were nicely individuated. And at the maximum setting, zoomed all the way in, there were plenty of nice details like juggling actors and unlucky thieves hanging from the gallows. The point of view is from the standard 3/4 isometric perspective, but the landscape can be rotated as necessary. The map is huge, easily allowing for several different fronts in battle, and can be quickly navigated when the hot spots pop up.

When we spoke to the developers from Supercell, they made it clear that ease of use was a priority. Hacking Boom Beach may not be as complicated and detail oriented as some strategy games out there, but the developers intended it that way. You don't market a million copies of a title but forcing gamers to take into account barometric readings when foresting for berries. The interface and gameplay of Boom Beach is designed to be complicated enough to allow for a variety and spontaneity in strategy, but not so overwhelming that it cuts itself off from a non-hardcore audience.