Dofus: Battles 2 feels a little familiar, but is no less compelling than its predecessor
“Dofus” might be one letter away from something goofy in English, but it's serious business in France, where Ankama Games has turned it into a mini-empire of MMORPG goodness. For the iOS crowd, Ankama is revisiting that world with Dofus: Battles 2, a tower attack game that makes players use their brains as much as they use their fingers.
The story of Dofus: Battles 2 centers on Jeff Stobbs, an amnesiac inventor trapped in a particularly dangerous part of the World of Twelve. To aid in his escape, Jeff discovers he can bend the will of some of the monsters he encounters to fight on his behalf – but not without a little work on your part.
That's because controlling each new type of creature requires you to first complete a mini-game that involves pushing balls (neurones) into like-colored holes (synapses). It pays to think first before you start moving rocks around randomly, and the puzzles get increasingly tricky as you progress through the game.
Once Jeff gets the creatures on his side, they can be summoned into battle to help him defeat the various enemies who are trying to stop him. The combat stages are played on tiles, with each monster Jeff calls costing him a portion of his magic pool. Since Jeff has no offensive powers of his own and is pretty fragile, your job is to send the friendly monsters to clear the way for Jeff to walk safely to the end of the level.
Like the mini-game, combat is also more a matter of brains than brawn, because your monsters can't just bash their way through. Some monsters are better at causing damage, while others can cause various effects like slowing enemies. Your best bet is finding combinations of monsters that work together effectively to defeat their foes.
The monsters pretty much march straight forward and attack anything they run into, but Jeff can influence their behavior by laying down special tiles called Zaptis. These can turn the creatures in a different direction, heal them or even sacrifice them to free up more points in the magic pool.
Rewards for finishing each level include experience points for leveling up Jeff's magic, items that can be used to power up friendly monsters, new Zaptis, and kamas, which can be used to shop for more power-ups. There are three difficulties for each level (the hardest of which is only unlocked once you've successfully passed it on an easier one), with better rewards waiting as you move up.
The graphics in Dofus: Battles 2 are top notch, especially in the HD version for the iPad. Ankama may be a French company, but the artwork shows a definite Japanese influence. Square-Enix distributed the most recent Dofus MMO in North America, and the characters in the World of Twelve are very much in that vein. The soundtrack is pleasant enough, if a bit repetitive.
For people unwilling to commit to the entire Dofus experience, there's a free Lite version of the game that contains only the tutorial and a few battles. The complete game costs $4.99 and touts 25 different monsters that can be captured to assist Jeff in his quest to find out who was responsible for his plight.
Dofus: Battles 2 might not bring anything revolutionary to the table, but it is a refreshing twist on the tower defense/attack genre that benefits from being set in an established fantasy world. It's not a game for the quick-twitch crowd, but if you're looking for something that rewards quick thinking and clever strategies, this is probably right up your alley.
- Twists around its predecessor to make a fresh tower attack game. Battle system and mini-games push thinking first but still feel fast-paced. Great visuals that draw on the established Dofus fantasy world. Lite version allows players to try it for free.
- Could be a bit too tame for players who enjoy testing their reflexes more than their wits. Price point feels a bit steep for the full version.