Addicting, Yet Repetitive
Most tower defense games seek to amplify the challenge by throwing different level designs and larger numbers of enemies the player’s way in order to force them to strategize their attacks. This ensures the game does not become too repetitive even though the game loop remains the same. However, a reverse or idle tower defense game such as Dracula City Master: Idle Army needs to rely more heavily on the level design to reduce the feeling of repetitiveness.
Without a change of scenery to add to the challenge, an idle tower defense game feels like playing the same level over and over. Unfortunately, Dracula City Master: Idle Army doesn’t hit the mark when it comes to variety of level design. There is still fun that can be had here. The title begins to lose steam as the player reaches the higher levels.
Controlling the Horde
Developer and publisher Tilting Point have created a horror idle tower defense game that sucks the player in as much as vampires do town’s folk. The gameplay is easy to pick up and master, straightforward and accessible for any level of player. Simply tap your screen, spawn vampires and watch as they take out the number of defenders trying to stave off your blood sucking horde. As your vampires take out defenders, ranging from base level pitchfork carriers to higher level priests, you collect blood and souls. Blood and souls are then used to upgrade your horde. You can improve your vampires’ damage output, health and even the chance to turn defenders into additional vampires to fight alongside your army.
These upgrades keep the game fresh for a while. However, once you learn the ins and outs of the game and upgrade the right skills, the game begins to fall apart.
When I first began playing Dracula City Master: Idle Army, the excitement of watching my vampires try to overpower the field was palpable. The challenge came from the amount of elapsed time necessary to spawn another vampire. However, as I leveled up and began upgrading my army, this excitement began to fade.
In order to spawn more of your vampire horde, you need energy. This is represented by a small box at the bottom of your screen. It takes ten total energy to spawn a vampire. This is the total amount of energy players can store at the start of the game.
Alongside the blood upgrades outlined earlier, there are soul upgrades which allow the player to increase their energy per second thus shortening the amount of elapsed time before you can spawn another vampire.
Additionally, players can upgrade the amount of max energy they can store. If a player spams these upgrades early on, they quickly reach God mode due to the sheer abundance of vampires they can spawn at any time.
At about the halfway point of my playthrough, I began to feel as though I had broken the game. I was clearing levels with ease. The addition of new enemy types was welcome and interesting. One such standout are priests who, when killed, spawn the light of God to destroy all surrounding vampires. However, not even these space-clearing defenders were enough to weaken my horde or make me feel as though there was any challenge.
While Dracula City Master: Idle Army may lose its sense of challenge early on, I still found myself wanting to play it. There was something satisfying about watching my horde of vampires grow and overtake the field of the living. The sheer number of spawn trudging across the screen and growing in number after every kill was hypnotizing.
This is where the game creates its addictive appeal. Players will want to continue upgrading their army because they will want to watch how fast their horde can grow. At the end of every level, players are provided with stats showing how many humans died, the number of vampires spawned and the total amount of time it took to clear the field.
Along with upgrading your vampires, the game also provides upgrades to Dracula’s Castle in the form of various room types. These rooms allow you to bank blood and souls while offline, spawn a giant Dracula to fight alongside your horde and provide various other advantages to raise the stakes of your army. However, room upgrades take several hours to build if you are not willing to submit to microtransactions.
Room upgrades are worth the wait for players who catch the itch for clearing the field as fast as possible. These upgrades change the game from the strategic challenge of clearing the field to clearing the field in the quickest time possible. However, I’m not sure this was Tilting Point’s intention.
The Final Word
Dracula City Master: Idle Army is an addictive game, but also, a repetitive one. There is plenty of fun to be had during early gameplay, but the game quickly loses steam due to its upgrade system quickly breaking the game loop.
However, this upgrade system helps create a new challenge to the game. Rather than the appeal of clearing the field through strategic placement of their vampire horde, players will attempt to beat their quickest time. Depending upon how you look at this transition of challenges, Dracula City Master: Idle Army can be hit or miss as part of the idle tower genre.
Is It Hardcore?
Dracula City Master: Idle Army is a fun, if not repetitive, loop that transitions from a strategic idle tower defense game to a beat your best time as players upgrade their horde.