It’s like Vegas, but not.
I’m not a gambler, sitting down in front of a slot machine only makes me wish that I was in an arcade. Coin Army is clearly a game built for gamblers, but without the potential for a real-world money payoff I’m not sure if it will scratch that gambling itch.
The game certainly does its best at mimicking a machine of sorts. At the bottom of the machine is a coin tray, with an oscillating block to push coins forward a certain distance. I’m not sure what to call this mechanism, but I’ve seen something like it at Chuck-E-Cheese’s before. Coins, gems, and powerups fall into the tray, and the player must hope that they are pushed off of the bottom. Items pushed off of the side of the tray don’t go into the player’s inventory. This is the first element left up to chance in Coin Army.
The better portion of the screen is occupied by the battlefield. Enemies strut about in randomized patterns, and the player must fling coins from their limited coin bank in an attempt to destroy enemies. Most enemies take several hits to kill, and will at times fire back coins at the player. These coins can in turn be blocked, and if the timing is right the coin will be reflected back and damage enemies. Killing enough enemies and avoiding screw-ups will trigger a frenzy mode in which coins are more plentiful and the player deals more damage. Certain enemies trigger a slot machine , and this is how the player gains items crucial to progressing through the game. The player has the additional option to buy their way through the game if the slow drip of items and gems isn’t enough to push forward quickly enough.
Coin Army is simplistic, and quickly becomes mundane. There is very little payoff in terms of gameplay, simply an increasing ‘variety’ of enemy types. Most of these enemies can be reduced to a palette swap with some altered behavior. The only incentive for killing enemies is having the opportunity to kill more enemies. Each level seems the same as the previous one, and there isn’t a clear motivator for progressing outside of progression itself.
I can tell that Coin Army wasn’t made for me. I was looking for a game, and only found a series of feedback loops and empty rewards. There isn’t a tactical element outside of killing everything fast, while still trying to meter your coin usage.
Coin Army isn’t a good game. It may, however, be a good approximation of the gambling experience. If you love playing the slots, give Coin Army a shot. I’m not going to review it well as a game though- which is what it is presented as.
Coin Army is available as a free universal download on the App Store