Island Tribe is back, and this time I try it on the small screen. I wasn’t that impressed with the first game in the series when I reviewed it on my iPad 2. The gameplay felt too simple for my taste, and I hoped to see a more challenging approach to the gameplay on the iPhone 4S. A more immediate, or intense experience was what I was hoping for. After just a few levels I had to accept the fact that the game is even less suited to the small screen. It gets more challenging though, but for all the wrong reasons.
Island Tribe 2 tells the story of what happened after the tribe escaped the perils of the volcano in the first game. The first levels are simple, and acts as an introduction to new gamers. The tutorial elements are still not too pushy, and it is possible for experienced Island Tribe gamers to endure them. The gameplay is more of the same from the first game. Get your tribe members to pick up recourses, clear debris, repair bridges and upgrade buildings by taping what you want to have done. There is a queue system to the time management, but it is not numbered. It is not even clear what actions are going to be performed, or in what order. Furthermore obstacles can’t be planned in the queue system. If you want to pick up rocks that lies beyond an obstacle you have to clear away you can’t queue the rocks.
The controls aren’t that responsive. At times it takes only one tap to order an action, and at others it takes two. One to highlight, and another to order. This can be slightly confusing to me, as some orders fail to register if I am not vigilant that a small green checkmark shows up on the targeted action. It helps if I play the game in the zoomed in view, but then I fail to get an overview over the map. This was not an issue with the first game on the iPad. The screen estate of the iPhone is a bit small for this kind of game.
Another aspect that bothers me is that all the text is too small. Not even the brilliant retina screen resolution can help me from squinting like a blind man. Some of the colours used are quite sharp, and can give me a headache. Other aspects of the graphics are some of the best I have seen in a time management game. The fog that you clear by advancing through the map is excellent, and so are buildings and objects in general. There is simply too much of it on a small screen, and it soon feels hard to keep trying to see the small numbers indicating stock. The music is ok time management goes adventure ambient tribal stuff that works well in the background.
There are 30 levels in the game, and two levels of difficulty giving a quite hefty gamelife. The formula still feels slightly easy to get into, and not really possible to master. After the third level I felt that most of the game just became more or less the same over and over with bigger harder to overview maps. If you enjoyed the first Island Tribe on your iPad I am confident you will like the sequel as well. I am hesitant to recommend playing the game on an iPhone, as it needs the larger screen estate to get a good overview.
Island Tribe 2 $2.99 iPhone 4/4S Only
Island Tribe 2 HD $3.99 iPad Only