Forge of Empires Review: An Empire Building Game Which is Both Fun & Historically Brilliant

Forge of Empires Game

Build a civilisation by conquering your way through the ages

In the browser game Forge of Empires you can create your own city and experience all of history from its perspective - from the Stone Age on through the centuries. Explore new technologies that ring in a new era. Leave a mark with unique, contemporary buildings and establish a gigantic metropolis that is unparalleled anywhere. Increase your empire with sophisticated strategic campaigns and skilled actions in Forge of Empires. Create your own world: Forge your Empire

Forge of Empires: Build an Epic Empire

But not everything is peaceful in Forge of Empires. Fight exciting battles, use a variety of units and incorporate the individual features of the terrain in order to win. On the battle field you can either take on the computer or give other players a lesson in battle strategy. Steer the fate of your empire: Forge of Empires

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In Depth Review

Introduction

In my quest for the filling up of the substantial quantity of spare time I seem to have, I rarely find myself turning towards the genre of browser-based, battle-and-build strategy games set in pre 17thcentury in order to occupy said spare time. It was a confusing discovery, therefore, when happened upon a game called ‘Forges of Empires’  and was compelled to see if it made any attempt at standing out from the already populous crowd of largely generic and faceless strategy-based titles with online multiplayer capabilities. With games like Wartune carrying the flag for games of this type, Forge of Empires has quite a lot to do in order to keep up with its competition.  Luckily, it seems the creative human beings at Innogames have their development affairs in order since Forge of Empires seemed to grip me like no other game of its type ever has. 

Forge of Empires Game: Stone Age

Landed: Just because it's the Stone Age, it doesn't mean I'll ever stop building huts like a boss

Deity for a Day

Forge of Empires is first and foremost a game of strategy that involves the careful planning and construction of a city from its rural infancy into a bustling centre of commerce and military capability. Essentially acting as a demigod of your own land, you are charged with the responsibility of nurturing your city and its inhabitants throughout the ages, beginning with the Stone Age and being in control of its development through the passage of time up to the middle ages. You’ll find yourself building and managing your city, its people and its resources, building an army and conquering lands until you can conquer no more. The whole game is controlled through a series of on-screen menus that make up a very sleek and authentically medieval-looking interface, with an element of relaxation provided by the extremely calming music that runs in the background whilst you conduct your daily activities (try and imagine a medieval version of pretty much any Enya song with the added benefit of having no vocals, and even better, no Enya).

Sim City, Medieval Edition

The primary challenge that this empire building game issues you with is the construction and management of your very own plot of land that you must develop into a fully-fledged city that sports buildings for its inhabitants, barracks for your army, a town hall for the proper distribution of resources, and even decorations for morale. Starting with a lowly hut, you will be required to increase the population by building them increasingly sizeable homes. These houses then provide you with regular source of income in the form of gold coins which in turn pay for further buildings and features for your fledgling empire. The game is essentially a lesson in virtual self-sufficiency, and requires you to think a little about the distribution of your resources. 

Forge of Empires Game: New York of the Middle Ages

New York of the Middle Ages? All I need now is a subway and some guns.

The building of workshops is also an essential part of developing your city, since their existence is needed in order to amass resources, as well as to construct various tools and items for your world-conquering goals. Pottery workshops, for example, allow you to produce various items in order to add to the ‘supplies’ counter that sits next to your gold currency in the top right hand of the screen.

Battle Happy

When you’re not keeping the population happy by building them a lovely-looking tree or a casual theatre for their enjoyment, you can focus on expanding your territory and conquering the world around you. After scouting out the terrain on the ‘continent map’ menu, you can choose whether to negotiate with other territories for supplies or you can show yourself to be the leader that you are and lay claim to the land through the medium of battle. The game uses a turn-based battle mechanic whereby after choosing the troops you wish to deploy you are able to control the position of your warriors by sending them to any place you see fit by indicating your desired selection with the mouse. The battles actually have a significant tactical basis to them, allowing you to use the surrounding terrain for cover and to gain the upper hand on your opponents. Building a powerful army becomes more and more essential as you enter into increasingly difficult battles, as it comes a time where two foot-soldiers with bronze spears simply won’t be enough to allow you to conquer your desired territory. You need to build big armies with better weapons in order to further your quest for the ultimate empire! 

Forge of Empires Game: light afternoon skirmish

There's nothing like a light afternoon skirmish to keep the boredom at bay and add some square metres your empire. The left side shows a battle in progress and the right shows the screen layout for picking an empire to attack.

We have the Technology

The development of your city and the production of resources rests on your ability to research and develop new technological ‘innovations’ that allow for the furthering of your society in general. The very first step is creating a tribal community, and from this starting point your are able to spend ‘forge points’ in order to develop technologies that loosely follow actual historical landmarks throughout the various ages of man like the inventing of the wheel, the practicing of agriculture, the casting of metals, early impressions of physics and chemistry and a system of higher education. The provision for technological development in Forge of Empires is extensive to say the least, and is an aspect of the game that even by itself would keep me playing for hours just so that I can further my fictional civilisation’s progress and be the one to spearhead the propagation of medicine and hospitals throughout the region. 

Forge of Empires Game: light afternoon skirmish

Researching stilt houses to provide protection from flooding and vermin.

Attack or Assist

The game’s ability to connect you with other people’s cities/regions makes it stand out quite substantially from most games of the genre. You are afforded the opportunity to peruse other people’s cities in order to either attack or assist with its day to day operations. Attacking another person’s city brings up the standard single-player battle screen and takes place in the turn-based format that is also typical of the battles you engage during the single player campaign.

Personally, I lack the aggressive mentality that is required to be a conquer of all worlds so I tend to stick to simply assisting other people’s cities by choosing between either motivating the various buildings in other people’s cities to increase their productivity or by polishing various items in the city to improve the amount of happiness they create. My motivation isn’t entirely selfless, though; you do get coins for your efforts, so you’re not exactly engaging in fruitless volunteer work by choosing to assist other players in their quests for a bigger and better city.

Diamonds Aren’t Forever

One of the main problems I have with ‘free to play’ games is that they are never truly lacking in cost to the player, and usually encourage cash transactions for purchasing in-game currency in order to accelerate or fast-track various functions within the game. Forge of Empires is no exception to this annoying ‘freemium’ model, since diamonds are really the only currency in the game that truly matter. Coins are of course available to be earned throughout the game, but important items like forge points (required for conducting research) take an extremely long time to regenerate, with the idea being to encourage you to purchase diamonds in order to flat-out buy forge points , as well as to perform various functions like speeding up the production of buildings, paying for goods and buying  various expansions in the game. If things moved a little more quickly in the game then this wouldn’t be such an issue, but because the production of useful/usable items and buildings in the game already takes a substantial amount of time, you almost feel like you are at a significant disadvantage if you choose not to spend any real money on the game. Feeling obligated to part with your in-life currency for in-game funds casts the experience in a rather negative light for me, but even so, the gameplay manages to shine through and still have me hooked.

Time is Money

Aside from the game encouraging you to buy in-game diamond currency, the only other niggling factor that tickles my annoyance bone is the amount of time everything takes to happen. Forge points, for example, take a long time to regenerate, meaning you have to wait a whole hour of real time for each one to be replenished. Due to the fact that your technological research is based on these forge points, you will either spend a very long time waiting for the privilege of developing said technologies or you will be forced to hand over cash for in-game currency.

Winning before it was Cool

I underestimated the potential of this game to both entertain me and to sow the seeds of addiction to the smooth rendition of the strategy/resource management/army building/territory conquering style of game. I am glad that I didn’t let my predisposition to dislike games of the wartime strategy genre put me off this title before I even gave it a chance. The mixture of challenges such as managing your city, fighting for its expansion, and most importantly (for me anyhow) the development of technology throughout early periods of history is something that I find hard to walk away from. Put this together with a beautiful visual style and excellent graphics, and you’ll find that Inno Games have come up with a title that is what Charlie Sheen would refer to as ‘winning’.

Our Rating: 82/100

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Announcement: Inno Games Launches Tribal Wars 2!

Tribal Wars 2 game

The free online strategy game Tribal Wars 2 is set in a medieval universe, filled with knights, generals and political decisions. You are the ruler of a castle in a war torn landscape, and must defend and expand your kingdom to ensure its survival.

Find Out More & Play Here

We would also recommend you try Good Game Empire - Another fun free browser castle building and siege game.