Island Empire Review

Island Empire Review Screenshot

Island Empire is a turn-based strategy Android game that quickly became one of my favorites to play. While the free content is limited, you can certainly put several hours into it before it’s over.

This review is based on the first island which contains 40 levels to play through. Even though there are two more islands with 40 levels each that players can pay for. The other monetization that exists in Island Empire is a forced ad after completing a level. Fortunately, once you get past the first few levels, sessions take longer and the ads don’t feel aggressive.

Island Empire Review

Island Empire Paying For Knights Screenshot
Managing your economy in this Android game is important if you want to keep your army alive.
Game Name Island Empire
Release Date Aug 9, 2020
Developer HBRZ-Developer
Price Free
Play Pass Functionality N/a

Island Empire is a creative turn-based strategy game that makes you think about every move. While there isn’t a story to follow, the gameplay purely revolves around completing each level like a tough puzzle.

Once you start a level, you usually have a small amount of territory earning money. You can then spend that money on knights to conquer more land. But, you’ll need to strategize around natural barriers like forests, mountains, and ponds in the way.

Island Empire Choke Point Tip
Combine your units to make stronger versions as you try to hold the frontline.

As you build your empire, you’ll also need to be wary of enemies doing the same. This is where things get interesting as you try to manage your economy while also expanding. Especially if you want to have a large army since each unit has upkeep. And if you want to create stronger knights to defeat stronger enemies, you’ll need to pay much more.

Or perhaps you want to build some walls to protect a new area you’ve expanded into. That can dig into your money and have upkeep too if you pay for stone walls. But maybe you can offset those expenses by placing a few farms for income.

Island Empire Desert Screenshot of Farms and Walls
Take advantage of natural choke points or try to create your own using walls. This special level provides a good example.

This is the constant thought process while playing each level in Island Empire. Most of the time, you’re stuck figuring out how to get the most out of the money you have. So you can survive when the odds are stacked against you. Even though many levels create a fair environment, many love to test you as well.

Fortunately, every level has three different difficulties that you can pick. With that said, the easiest one still feels tough so don’t be surprised if you find yourself playing on it. Despite the mechanics being simple to grasp, each difficulty could be balanced better.

Island Empire Level Difficulties
If you’re the type of person that loves to get as many stars as possible, you’ll need to beat each level on Hard.

A feature that I like in Island Empire is that when your territory is split in half, a new empire will form. This becomes a new territory with its own economy based on what’s in it. Therefore, if you don’t have enough farms or territory in one section, your army will fall apart and disband. Which makes it important to keep your territory connected.

But on the flip side, you can also take advantage of this strategy to split enemy empires. This is why I enjoy this feature because you can easily use it to wipe out enemy armies. Even if you just buy a bunch of cheap knights to take land and cut off their supply.

Island Empire Android Game Screenshot Tip
Fun strategies like cutting up your enemy’s territory can work well. But they can also backfire if one unit splits up your path.

Wrapping up this Island Empire review for Android, I really don’t have too many complaints. One of the few things that bugged me is that there isn’t an easy way to navigate between levels. You have to tap to slowly move your character to each level in a single-file path. This makes it so you can’t easily run back 30 levels to one that you want to replay.

Regardless of if you’re playing it again because it was a fun level or to try and beat it on a harder difficulty. A simple fix would be a level list or perhaps if they were grouped into chapters you could jump between. I can’t imagine people wanting to run all over trying to find a level they don’t remember the number of.

Island Empire Overworld Level Movement
Special levels like this building to the side occasionally throw in a unique start making you play a little differently.

If you’re a fan of turn-based strategy games like Polytopia and the Civilization franchise, you’re bound to enjoy Island Empire. I recommend giving it a try even if you just play through the first set of free levels. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if many Android gamers buy in for extra content.

Review Score: 8/10

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