Friday, December 21, 2012

March On Oz [City State Entertainment] - $3.99

I remember way back in the year 2000 when I encountered the game American McGee's Alice. It was bold and took a fresh point of view at one of literature's most beloved characters/fantasy world. Somehow playing through that game changed the way I look at, or imagine, Wonderland for the rest of my life. Now I feel nostalgic or reminded about those times having to come across March on OZ.

City State Entertainment's first title for the iOS is a game that transports us to their own rendition of the magical land of Oz. Here, you play an unnamed protagonist which you'll create/customize, that is whisked away by a tornado (like Dorothy) into an alternate version of Oz, only to discover that the realm is in dire peril under the invasion of the evil, mechanical looking, gnomes. Being convinced by the good witch Locasta to assemble and lead the Ozian Army of Resistance against the forces of evil, you march on a military campaign through the Yellow Brick Road towards the mystical Emerald city.

This is a strategy game that uses a lane defense system where you place an Ozian unit on a particular lane/area to stop a wave of marching enemies. Pretty much, the gameplay mechanic is quite similar to Plants vs. Zombies but offers more depth and flows at a much faster and exciting pace. In this game you can discover, or learn, battle formations that have a specific function and perk, summon a band of flying monkeys by using a magical golden flute to eliminate opposing units on a lane and have unique/hero like units that you can put on the battlefield once thus setting it apart from PvZ.

Each level of the game has a four star objective system for rating your strategic or gaming skills and 3 different difficulty settings. It also features unlockable content such as mini games, comic strips of the story and an encyclopedia of the different creatures/characters you'll encounter in the world. Giving it a lot of the replayability options which most of us yearn for. Being equipped with an online file saving interface you can also be rest assured that your progression is safe and can be revisited.

The narration of the story is set on a humorous tone with quirky animated characters to discover as you go along the way. With a beautiful BGM/soundtrack and a lush rendered 3D environment, it makes the game feel more alive rather than dull or soulless, thus making me feel engaged and emotionally invested towards the game.

My only critism about March On Oz is the level select section that's not fixed yet as you can only replay the tutorial levels, though the developers already said they are working on a fix that is to be uploaded soon. It's very hard not to love this game as it is very polished and exuberates with much artistry. The game also has a lot of  features we request and yearn for in the mobile gaming world and has no IAP offering what so ever, which is pretty rare nowadays. The developers passion for making the game is felt on every detail or facet you come across as you play on. If you are a fan of Strategy or Tower Defense games be sure to check this title out.

**This review has been contributed to The App Shack by Alister from the Touch Arcade Forums**


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