I’m never a big fan of browser-based strategy game, but I’m enjoying playing Call of Gods and starting to understand why many like games of this genre. Castle building, turn-based combat, dungeon exploration, arena challenge and deploy of units can really melt into an enjoyable gameplay.
Character creation is quite simple with a selection from three races (Human, Elf and Undead). No customization is involved. Race decides the visual styling of in-game world, covering the presentation of home castle with all its buildings there, army units and world map, etc.. Distinct in style, each setting goes well with race: urban style for humans, nature for Elf and a seemingly charred ghost town for the Undead.
We learn the ropes from the brief yet helpful tutorial, which covers the basics about completing quests, fighting in combat and managing castle. Then we are on our own for the rest of gameplay. We level up quite fast in the beginning: we are already at Lv. 5 fresh out of tutorial and another half an hour takes us five levels forward.
At low levels, we don’t have many to occupy ourselves but to take quests, either defeating monsters or rival units in turn-based battles or adding new buildings in castle. Whether it’s to explore dungeon, plunder other players for resources or take on monsters as required in quests, all combat is designed similarly: map is grid-based, battle is turn-based and automatic after we assign heroes and units, and results depend on many factors such as hero levels, equipment, skills, unit size and type and formation, etc..
As to structures in castle, there are only ten buildings related to resources, population, units and research. Initially small, various structures expand in size and function. Four resources, lumber, stone, copper and iron, are produced and stored here, fueling the building construction and upgrade as well as units recruit and training. Like many games in this genre, resources are in constant need. While production from mines is the basic and slowest way, alternative choices are also available: we can use resource cards (collected by taking quests, receiving free gifts or pinning the wheel of fortune) in inventory to exchange for different amounts of resources; and we can also plunder others for resources, of that I learnt from being plundered.
At the end of the tutorial, the NPC tells us the rest of adventure is left to us. It really is. Although the quest line is sort-of a help leading us to level up and manage castle, much of the gameplay requires us to figure out how to play by ourselves, such as the use of items in inventory, shortcut to a quest-required destination by auto-walking, and switch of different formations, etc.. These are not hard, but take time to come home to novices. Personally, I enjoy the feeling of discovery, instead of being told how to play.
And the half-closed characteristic doesn’t stop there. Call of Gods doesn’t open all its systems for us in the beginning, but reserves some which we can play only after reaching certain level. At Lv. 10, we can apply to join an alliance and gain access to dungeons; at Lv. 12, we unlock the Wild map, which means we can freely attack others at or above the same level for quick resources (and others can do that to us too, so defense is thusly required before offline); at Lv. 15 we can create an alliance of our own; and at Lv. 20, we can start a fight in arena. And what are stored for us at higher levels? I’m no spoiler. Why not enjoy it and relish the joy of discovery by yourself? Play now.