The 3 Best Mobile Games to Play like 'Age of Empires'
WIth Microsoft’s Age of Empires 4 still some time away, but becoming the talk of the internet, it’s worth mentioning some of the best alternatives to be found out there for the meantime. And we don't just mean our selection of free strategy games you can play directly in your browser here at Gaming Impact.
Do you remember Age of Empires? It was an engrossing game where you had to nurture a population via top-down 'god mode' management and prepare them for battles. Back then, it was mostly single player, so different missions presented interesting challenges that could be achieved in different ways, but involved careful strategy and command of units. Narrative cut-scenes connected all these missions together into a campaign.
There was a sense of wonder and pride at seeing the rise of one's settlements from humble, vulnerable beginnings to thriving towns, which could fend off attacks and sustain themselves for the next assignment.
It set off many a sequel or wanna-be in its wake, based in different time periods of ancient or modern civilisations. Many players remember the different noises the kinds of settler, infantry or cavalry would respond with when you clicked on them, bestowing on them their marching orders. Sometimes when a battle started you never knew which way the tide would turn. There were many 'tower defense'-style battles.
The new game may bring back the title, and see it feature modern game-making AI infused with rich graphical detail. Hopefully though, this will adorn some excellent gameplay. History professors or military historians will be tired but smiling on their way to work again.
Multiplayer modes might also get more interesting in these days of fibre-optic. More good news: they also plan re-release updated versions of the previous titles like Age of Empires 3. You can track the progress of Age of Empires 4 here, and see the preview video:
But what are some similar games to play in the meantime? There are too many apps out there that try to combine way too much, and can be off-putting to anyone looking to simply find good old Age of Empires on a tablet or smartphone. That’s why we’ve selected just 3 games for those people, who don’t want to be overwhelmed by tutorials, adverts and other time-draining, MMO-ridden defects.
There’s a reason to pay attention to Godus. It was created by the guy who made the first God game back in 1989: Populous, to which Age of Empires itself owes a debt.
You look after and grow your population, starting with just two lonely castaways on an attractive island. There’s no huge tutorial; it’s intuitive and easy for younger kids too. What you need to achieve in the short term is written at the top of the screen. The graphics are good-looking without needing to be complex, so it allows for the game to run smoothly. There are lots of easy interactions achieved just by tapping on areas which makes good use of the tactile format, and you won’t be squinting at the screen.
There is not much fighting in the game. This is also not a Farmville or base-building Clash of Clans set-up, but that's no problem. In fact, it seems to be ‘tapping’ into the whole Age of Empires era but with updated, screen-tapping, God-like powers.
As the pace unfolds and you find yourself more at ease with the various tasks involved, you realise you’re immersed, and can feel the potential. There’s more scope here for greater things, if Godus can find success. In terms of the ‘freemium’ model, it gets good marks for being accessible and non-intrusive.
It’s very similar to Godus, but it’s more about home building and resources. It’s actually based on the UK reality TV series where contestants are left at a campfire and tasked to fend for themselves. But the game avoids getting caught up on all that, and just concentrates on the settlement-building aspect.
It’s not as intuitive overall as Godus so you’ll need to explain a lot more to any younger kids playing. Once again there are micro-transactions included, but they’re not essential to keep playing.
The graphics are good and the gameplay will keep you working at a relaxed pace to keep your people busy. You’ll need to keep on top of everything they require, and that in itself is an eye-opener. Despite not being as large-scale as Godus, it’s another nice example of the world building aspects, without the battle.
And now to a game that does include battle, but also world-building, multiplayer and historical aspects. The good news is that it combines all of the above very well. Maybe that’s why it’s got over 10 million downloads. It plays easily on a Chromebook, but our guess is you’d need a decent smartphone, as the graphics and sounds are all top quality. We're talking eye-candy good.
As ever with a game like this, you need to put the hours in before you can really begin to tell how good it is. And you will notice some defects, even though this one carries the burden well. As with any MMO - where other players are involved within the freemium model - complaints appear when it comes to ‘paying to win’, trust and fairness, alliances misbehaving and so forth.
It’s not easy to say how much these aspects will affect general enjoyment for an individual player, so for Age of Empires fans biding their time our advice is just to have a go with this one and take it for what it has managed to achieve.
There are still regular in-game events to keep involvement going, and Rise of Kingdoms will make a good comparison for what the new Age of Empires will be up against, especially if it's to arrive onto mobile devices.
To conclude, there are tons of 'freemium' games out there, but it’s not so easy to find the immediately intuitive, addictive titles in the time-consuming, ad-infested swamps of Apple and Google. That’s why we’ve highlighted these ones, to re-ignite some anticipation for the return of the ‘God King’ of them all: Age of Empires, which in turn stood upon the shoulders of legends like Civilisation and Populous that came before.
Age of Empires on mobile?
Will Age of Empires be available on tablets, phones etc? It would be surprising as it was always a desktop game requiring large processing power. If it proves successful, then surely they’ll be smaller-scale versions, hopefully adapted carefully for these formats.
But for now it’s just as interesting to experience a title like Godus, emerging from the 80s Populous age and landing on these brave, new shores of tactile, immediate (and impatient) gaming. It has evolved well and might just engage (some of) this new population with shades of its former glory.
We're sure to do further features about Age of Empires IV here at Gaming Impact, but don't forget you can play our free browser games and lots of free mini-games here on our site while you're waiting. We have Knights and Bridges as just one in our Strategy games category. Of course, we have a top array of free farming simulator games too.