Merging Tower Defense
Mini War: Pocket Defense is all about merging towers to defend against hordes of monsters. It mixes tower defense and merging mechanics to create a different kind of gameplay from its predecessors. Developer X-Land promises adrenaline filled gameplay, but Mini War becomes more of a long grind instead.
The biggest thing that sets Mini War apart from other tower defense games is the merging mechanic. You can put two of the same towers at the same level together to level a tower up. When you buy towers, they’re randomly generated and placed in a reserve space. It would be nice if there were some way to control what type of tower you get since certain enemies are weak to different types of towers. Even if you could see a queue of upcoming towers, it would be easier to plan ahead for incoming waves. However, in its current state, Mini War leaves its gameplay mostly to chance.
There are also heroes you can place in the road to block enemies. Heroes have special abilities, and will help to fight enemies until they are defeated. Heroes are a fun mechanic, but they’re difficult to tier up. While you can level up towers by merging them, you can also tier up towers and heroes by combining their respective cards together. Tiering up a tower or hero raises their base stats. It also costs magic gems, which you’ll get every time you receive a tower or hero card.
Resources and Ads
Mini War has an interesting relationship with ads. Almost every time you get new resources, you need to watch an ad to collect them. The only time you don’t need to watch ads is when you defeat bosses, which drop free chests. Additionally, you can find randomly generated chests, which will open after watching an ad. Usually these only contain gems, diamonds and gold. The more valuable chests are in the game’s store section. You can get five daily chests by watching an ad for each one. These contain gems, gold and cards. You can also get 30 diamonds five times a day by watching ads. You can also get diamonds by clearing missions, but the game gives you exactly enough to open a rare chest after five ads. These chests cost diamonds and have more resources in them than regular chests. You can also choose to watch an ad after opening a chest to duplicate one of the cards inside.
The game makes ads somewhat optional, but because of where they’re placed, they’re tough to ignore. It becomes almost impossible to progress without watching lots of ads, or paying money. This becomes especially true when modifiers come into play. There’s a special double damage modifier you can activate by watching ads. I originally tried seeing how far I could get without watching any ads at all, but without that double damage modifier, the game stalls around level 36 or 37. From then on, the game is built with the expectation that you always have double damage active.
Losing and Progression
The game’s levels, or waves, are interesting. Instead of having separate levels, you play with the same towers with endless waves. Unless you reset to the first wave, you can’t change your tower types or layout. This is especially frustrating, since you can’t try new strategies or focus on building towers. You’re stuck with whatever towers you started with unless you want to grind back all of your towers’ tiers.
This also makes losing levels weird. Whenever you lose a level, the game will set you back to the previous wave. There isn’t really a game over. This is fine, but it would have been easier just to split waves into their own separate levels. Monsters are weak to specific types of towers, but you can’t really plan for these. If you try to change your towers, you’ll fail the current level because they aren’t leveled up. If you fail, you get set back to the start of the wave with different enemies, so your towers are no longer strong against them. Then you’ll fail fighting the monsters you already defeated because you changed your towers. This is one of the game’s biggest flaws. There needs to be a split between separate levels. As of now, the game becomes an excessive grind until you can brute force your way through enemy waves with whatever towers you happen to have.
Endless Tower Grind
Mini War: Pocket Defense has some interesting ideas, but it falls short because of the way levels are organized. If you could access waves in small pockets instead of all at once it would be easier to strategize and plan. Instead, the game forgoes most strategy and requires you to either grind or watch about ten ads to clear a single level.
Is It Hardcore?
Mini War feels more like an advertisement simulator than a tower defense game. 2.5/5