Browser-based games represent something of a conundrum for the enterprising development company, as they are typically viewed as freebies. You don't pay for browser games. You log on, you play, you enjoy, you clench your coin purse tightly shut. That's the way it works.
And why? Because the Internet is free. It's a weird beast that's generated a massive base of users who expect free content. This doesn't WORK for the enterprising development company, and, thus, games like Battle Panic appear, games which appear on the surface to be without charge.
Don't be fooled. If you want to COMPLETELY best Battle Panic, unless you are an AMAZING player, you will have to fork out some dough.
All is not well in the world, and it's aaaaaall thanks to orcs. Yep, those red and green bastards are out to cause mischief, spreading grief and sorrow to everyone in their path. It's up to you, a commander among the humans, to kill the northern and southern tribes of orcs and restore peace to the land.
So, in effect, genocide. But defensive genocide. That's not so bad, right?
Battle Panic is a defensive RTS. You're given control of a settlement in each level, and you need to protect your villagers by deploying men-at-arms in three different flavours: footmen, archers, and horsemen. As you mine resources from nearby gold mines and the surrounding forests you can create progressively stronger units, as well as upgrading your settlement into a full-blown castle.
Sounds familiar. Sounds downright generic. So what's the catch?
I'll tell you the catch: you NEVER have to click the mouse buttons. Ever. (Well, except on the map.) Battle Panic requires you to do nothing more than to hover your mouse over objects on the battlefield. Do so and the game will automatically set to work, either mining or building or creating units. Hell, you can even use your mouse cursor to heal friendlies or hurt baddies. It's a really cool idea, and great for lazy gamers.
Does it WORK? Yes, actually. Despite the fact that it's easy to accidentally spend resources on unwanted projects, Battle Panic's system is simple and reliable. I had no troubles doing what I wanted to do - aside from, perhaps, focusing on the right unit in the midst of thousands of other units.
Battle Panic has the sorta soft-full-primary-colour-anime-esque visuals that I've come to expect from these games. I have no problem with that at all. Indeed, I'd say that Battle Panic is a slight step ABOVE similar games in terms of quality. The units don't look so hot close up, but from a distance everybody's just fine. I'm also rather amazed that the sheer number of units that appear in this game can do so, on the same battlefields, with almost no slowdown. Impressive.
Like other defense games, Battle Panic's music doesn't stand out. It's not quirky; it's not chipper; it's not particularly inventive. It's war music, the kind you'd hear in old movies based around sword combat, and easily forgotten.
This is the part of the review I'd been eagerly waiting to address. IS BATTLE PANIC HARD?
In one word: maybe. In two words: it depends.
On Normal mode, the compulsory beginning mode, Battle Panic is NOT hard. Not even CLOSE to hard. I went through the entire mode without a single orc getting close to the walls of my settlement. Sure, it can be tricky to earn three stars on every mission, but even THAT'S not terribly hard. Just build up a castle, make tons of troops, and kill. Simple!
Then you get into Hard mode. Hard mode allows you to carry over the stars from Normal mode, which are used to purchase upgrades. That's cool, that's nifty. I liked knowing that my abilities weren't going to vanish. And for the first six or so levels, I appreciated the big boost in difficulty. Hard mode lives up to its name.
That's when the orcs began to get numerous. TOO numerous. Like, so numerous that you don't really stand a chance in hell of beating them... unless you purchase extra upgrade stars. Or gold. Or wood. Or, hell, backup troops. These things can all be done really quickly, but they cost actual money.
After five tries on one level, I gave up. I couldn't beat the damned thing. I'm not sure that anyone could, given the resources available, and I'd be frightened to see what lies beyond. Knowing that I'd essentially been FORCED to pay money to proceed kinda pissed me off.
And I apologize for that! Really, I do. I know, first hand, how hard it is to make money online. Especially from gamers. We're a bunch of tight-fisted douchebags. We want as much bang for as little buck as humanly possible. In this case, though... sneaking money requirements in... it left a bad taste in my mouth. Especially since Battle Panic doesn't strike me as quite fun enough, or robust enough, to waste actual money on. Not when I could play a similar game elsewhere for free.
Battle Panic is a fun game, and anyone who just wants to test the thing can see every level on Normal. It's a piece of cake gettin' through them all. I won't be purchasing extra gold to secure my settlements, however, and I doubt many other players will either.
PLAY BATTLE PANIC