League of Legends In My Backpack? Yes, Please!

solstice iconAlright, I’m pretty sure you’ve all figured out from my previous article that I am a die hard League of Legends player and take the game very seriously (not that DOTA2 garbage. Ick no, bury that under 12 layers of steel at the bottom of the ocean please).

That being said, I am indeed a fan of the MOBA genre in general and to my glorious surprise, there is a decent MOBA for the iPad (and iPhone).

Solstice Arena brands itself as the worlds first “SPEED MOBA”, a game that goes by much quicker than desktop games in the genre.

Which is quite true. It’s smaller maps and faster exchanges expedite the game play quite a bit. The fact that players are mobile may help too, as I’m seeing way too many people dive for objectives and get their faces wrecked.

Watch out, it’s Generic Paladin and his friends Basic Archetype Rogue and Bland Warrior!

Watch out, it’s Generic Paladin and his friends Basic Archetype Rogue and Bland Warrior!

So the game plays fairly well for being a mobile game, and I’m actually impressed with how it functions. While the shop may try to have you use the cookie-cutter build for each of the champions, you are free to build whatever items you choose and use them to destroy your enemies. So the game starts off with you playing AI opponents to learn the game, sure that’s fine. But HOLY COW are they dumb. I cringe every time my group lunges in to combat and focuses the enemy team’s tankiest character, like they’re covered in $20 bills, like that Geico motorcycle commercial.

The game plays very similar to most MOBAs. You run out, kill things, and get killed, earn money and buy items. What’s different from this and say League, is that the item upgrade paths are more branching. Instead of combining items into more powerful ones, you have a single item that you pay to upgrade in a multitude of paths, which is actually pretty sweet.

When naming fantasy items after a person in the lore, make sure their name is sounds fantasy-like. Not “Roland”.

When naming fantasy items after a person in the lore, make sure their name is sounds fantasy-like. Not “Roland”.

I’ve gotten up to about level 8 – probably going to hit 9 soon – and I gotta say I’m really hooked. It has solid gameplay and bot-play for the less hardcore gamers. With a ton of character customization with the item upgrade paths, it satisfies my strategy cravings quite well. With a solid GUI and easy-to-use buttons, I felt that everything was very user-intuitive. Which as of late, the ability to make a good user interface is so rare it should be labeled as a “super power”.

One of my few issues with this one is the generic hero design. There is no personality, and they seem flat and so very uninspired. I half expected them to start shouting lines like “I am a warrior.” and “I am a mage!” as they fought. However that aside the game has its teeth sunk in pretty good on me, and I’m sure ill be hitting max level sometime in the next week or so.

So is this a mobile League of Legends? No. Hardly. Maybe… I mean it’s as close as you are going to get. Please realize that you don’t WANT a whole League mobile. Trust me. Making players put 45 minutes into a mobile game would be a disaster. Chat logs would be filled with “AFK, Lunch breaks over” and “Sorry guys I have class :[”.

Protecting your towers is your main priority. After that it’s pummeling everything. A lot.

Protecting your towers is your main priority. After that it’s pummeling everything. A lot.

Graphics: Rating-Bar4

Simply awesome. While nothing staggering or jaw dropping, it’s still much more than what I expected to see on an iPad. I can’t imagine things could have been improved that much on this platform.  Things are kept clean and unobtrusive, and everything flows really well.

Gameplay:Rating-Bar4

It’s a “speed MOBA” so things are a bit different. Capturing stat buffs and the center gold chest are really fun additions to the genre. While I really think the item shop may need expansion, the game is fairly solid. My only gripe is the lack of choices of items in the same category. If I want a fully tanky helmet, there’s… one. Though the same can be said about League of Legends’ item shop as well.

Audio:Rating-Bar3

Decent job, and it fits the theme, but I wish characters had a little more personality to them. I want to find a character I mesh with, and sometimes that’s in personality. Defining a characters personality helps you define what it’s skillset should be and in turn makes that process more fluid.

Innovation:Rating-Bar4

Sure MOBA titles are fairly abundant these days. Even DC Comics wanted a slice of that pie with their new game Infinite Crisis. Which by the way, their version of the joker is ridiculous. However Solstice does a fantastic job standing out in the mix with its “speed” variation on gameplay. While this does for some reason truly cause players to dive towers and get killed without thinking, I attribute that to younger players.

Overall:Rating-Bar4

So close. I had a real problem denying this game a 5. I really quite enjoyed all of its quirky combat and fun antics. While I sort of felt that some of the characters are a little…. bland, and that certain item combinations should be balanced a little more, It’s still a fantastic game. If you have an iPad, please do yourself a favor and give this one a go.


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