It seems as though the market is utterly saturated with free-to-play RTS games, so for any one to stand out, it has to be really good. Going by the words of our friends in Europe, Boom Beach seems to have the right mix of gameplay accuracy and real time strategy. It’s a standard 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) style game, but unlike some recent RTS games, this one handles all the standard RTS expectations almost flawlessly.
Taking place in an archipelago, Boom Beach has several resources to mine and maintain. As is typical in such a game, peasants are employed (enslaved really) to do most of the grunt work. Wood and stone are gathered to make windmills, barracks, walls, homes, markets, etc. Each structure has a cost in one of these resources as well as in food, which is itself another harvestable resource. Gold, diamonds and iron are used for pretty much everything else, from making gates and weapons to paying armies and buying supplies. It’s all a delicate balance, but it’s automated just enough to not become tedious micro-management.
In addition to the included campaign and instant action/skirmish modes, players can go online to fight it out or join a task force. Instead of being stuck with just a few maps to play on, the game also includes a map generator so each experience can be a new one. Terrain also plays a role, as having higher ground proves to be a huge tactical advantage. Cannons will shoot further and infantry have a better overall view, giving them better aim. Additionally, troops can be led by captains, who seem to handle orders well; in other words, the AI is good enough that the player doesn’t have to worry about every unit at once.
Boom Beach set the RTS world on fire? Probably not. But it takes the time-tested gameplay of classic RTS games and polishes it to a glossy shine. The gameplay accuracy should pique the interest of players interested in realistic warfare, while the standard gameplay will appeal to practically all RTS fans.