Little War is the perfect game for groups, but will be disappointing to the solo player.
Earlier this year, if you told me that a new game had launched on Facebook allowing you to virtually travel back in time and create an ancient civilization from scratch, I would have jumped at the chance to experience something that new. Skip to the present, however, and we have multiple established games in the genre (see: My Empire and City of Wonder, as but two examples). Little War hopes to break into that circle of success by adding in two fairly unique elements: Magic and Territory occupation .
The story in Little War sees you as the ruler of an ancient village, charged with building the village’s population, training new warriors, and then sending said warriors out to the far reaches of the world to gain influence and power.
While that sounds grand enough, at the core Little War is a still a city-building sim. You’ll add huts that increase your population cap, decorations to add flair and personality to the town, training camps to train your warriors, fields to produce food (the game’s currency), and so on.
Food is earned by setting your production structures to work for varying amounts of time, like in most every other game of the type. In addition, you’ll be asked to complete tasks like building certain structures, or training a certain number of soldiers, with quests opening up further quests down the line.
It’s through these quests that you’ll be introduced to the elements of Little War that set the game apart, those being the Magic and Occupation systems. You’ll be able to build Wonders (Stonehenge and the like), which grant you Magical powers for you to use as you see fit. You can either use these Magic powers in your own land (such as the ability to summon beasts that can be killed for resources and food), or you can use them in a neighbors’ village.
Using magic is technically a voluntary process, but if you are following the quest system rigorously, you’ll find that a few are only passable if you use magic, with various stipulations added on (Use “Lightning” on a neighbor’s village, for instance). Unfortunately, this adds in the all-to-familiar element of finding friends to play the game with you, which might be a difficult proposition in this case.
Furthermore, the “War” in the title pertains to the ability to attach your friends’ villages and potentially take them over, or occupy them. Occupying a tribe earns you various amounts of food as a tax, so it’s a very real aspect of the game that should be enjoyed. However, as we said, you’d need friends to do so.
“Well, that’s alright if I don’t have real-world friends that play this game – I’ll just use the stock neighbor,” I hear you saying. Unfortunately, in that you would be incorrect, as you aren’t even allowed to attempt an occupation of the AI account’s tribe, let along cast a magical spell on it. That leaves you with little option but to spam your friends, or add random strangers to your account to be able to get anything out of this whole set of features.
Without the village occupation and most of the magic system, you’d be left with “just another ancient city-builder,” and if that is the case for you, you’re better off playing another title like City of Wonder, that excels in the genre.
That being said, however, if you have a handful of friends that play the game, or you aren’t opposed to asking random strangers to add you as a Facebook friend, then the combat system between villages can be quite intriguing, as friends become temporary enemies, all in the never-ending struggle for food.
Technically speaking, the game functions nicely, and we didn’t experience any big problems other than the very frequent oddly translated sections of text in the menus. These aren’t enough to be a deal breaker, but they are a bit amusing, in a way that really shouldn’t be funny. Additionally, the game lacks sound effects or even music, which is a bit odd, to say the least.
All told, Little War isn’t a bad game, it just places so much of its focus on a user having tons of Facebook friends that it can almost alienate those that are new to the service, or who prefer to play games in a more solitary state. For that reason, Little War is really recommendable only to those that can find a large group of like-minded individuals to share in the experience.