Caravan War Preview: Raid and Defend
- Name: Caravan War
- Developer: Hiker Games
- Genre: Strategy, Tower Defense
- Price: Free, with ads and IAPs
- Installed size: 386 mb
- Best played in medium sessions
- Significant and missing features
- Playable Offline: No
What is Caravan War?
Caravan War is a tower defense and city building game that is currently in open beta. There are effectively three parts to the game. Offense, defense, and the city. On offense players take the role of bandits who are trying to rob caravans that are transporting valuable materials across the map. That amounts to a fairly traditional game of tower defense, as players are tasked with setting up towers and deploying units in the best way possible to stop their opponent. There are multiple tower and unit types, and it is largely what one might expect from a tower defense game. This part of the game is playable against the AI in the campaign mode and against other players.
On defense players assume the role of the caravan owner. The goal is to set up the caravan in such a way that it can withstand attacks from other players. Players are able to determine the number of waves their caravan will arrive in, the layout and type of caravan guards that will be present in each wave, as well as the type of carts that will be carrying their goods. The number of waves and available guards vary depending on acquired upgrades. Players are not present during the actual battles, if they are invaded they will be sent a report detailing the damage done to their caravan.
These raids and trading caravans are not just for show. The goods that players obtain during raids and the gold they obtain from their own trading caravans are used to upgrade their city. Each city has the same basic facilities that are used to upgrade elements in the other two aspects of the game. Upgrading the garage allows players to have stronger carts, upgrading the tavern allows players to recruit stronger bandits, etc. This is the part of the game that ties offense and defense together.
Caravan War is currently in beta and available through Google Play’s early access program. That should be kept in mind before jumping in. Right now this game is missing its clan feature, chat, and the store (and all of its in app purchases). As with any beta, bugs and balance issues are to be expected.
Moving past the normal beta things, Caravan Wars has a number of pleasant things to offer. The tower defense mechanics work well, units are varied, and the amount of strategy that can be employed by doing things like mounting a cannon on top of a cargo cart is impressive. That makes raiding enemy caravans and setting up your defenses something beyond just a progression check. That being said, if you encounter an opponent that is significantly stronger than you, no amount of strategy will save you.
The city building is exactly what everyone expects from mobile city building. Timers, timers, and more timers. Every upgrade, both of units and buildings, comes with a timer. These timers can be bypassed with premium currency, and in the case of troop training reduced by watching ads. This is one of the things that comes with the mobile city building territory, and Caravan Wars doesn’t handle it any better or worse than most games.
Even while in beta, it is easy to see what Caravan War will likely become. It will likely grow into a fun game that can be played for 15-30 minutes at a time every now and then. That is to say that it doesn’t have anything that would get people to play it to the point of it being an obsession, or for people to completely burn out on after a day of binge playing. Caravan Wars is fun, still a bit buggy and not quite balanced, and worth a look for anyone who doesn’t mind playing a game that is still in beta.
Please note that developer Hiker Games has stated that a reset of Caravan Wars progress after the beta is likely, but players who get to a certain point in the beta will be rewarded once the game is launched.