Developer: Enkord / G5 Entertainment
In this game you are trying to help Aruku, a chief of the Hawk tribe, restore peace and lead her tribe to a better future.
● 32 Locations
● 22 Quests and mini-games
● 20 artifacts to locate and preserve
● Real-time strategy and adventure game
● Game Center Support
Major features: Totem Tribe Gold is actually a bulked up version of a casual PC game released back in 2009. The ‘Gold’ version came out for PC in 2011, and has now made its way to the iPad and iPhone. The game is essentially a real-time strategy genre game, but has enough casual adventure elements to not feel like you are doing the ‘herding kittens’ and ‘resource micromanagement’ typical of the RTS genre.
You are the leader of a tribe in a chain of islands that used to be peaceful and live in harmony with nature and creatures … but since a comet fell from the sky (in the opening ‘cutscene’) that has all changed. Basically that means that everywhere you go you will be trying to solve the mystery of what has happened to upset the balance of things, and to restore peace – but it also means that you will be building offensive and defensive structures as you need to wage battle against creatures on nearly every island.
Creating structures is as simple as selecting from the pop-up list, and choosing a location within boundaries. Those boundaries include proximity to other structures, as well as not being on top of trees or rocks. Once you accept the location, workers immediately stop whatever they are doing and go full-force on the new structure. If you want to finish something already in progress, you tap it and tell the workers to finish that one first.
Once a structure is complete, it will begin producing resources (such as workers or soldiers or armor) at a preset rate. You can also produce research into better weapons and armor. Also, certain structures require others to be completed before becoming available. All of this combines to make you think and plan your approach to meeting your goals.
Also, each island has some optional hidden items that are a fun challenge to find. Some are difficult and require you to commit more resources, while others just take a bit of time. Still others require you to revisit the island when you have developed more structure knowledge. Each island also has loads of jewels to help build up your ability to gain more and more resources, and are therefore worth seeking out. Finally, many islands have puzzles to complete – these are never too difficult, but always present a slight challenge and give you a decent reward.
I do have a couple of minor criticisms: first, it would be nice to get a ‘hint’ button, as I occasionally spent more than ten minutes seeking that one last item; also, it would drastically alter the gameplay but I wish you could set multiple search and attack flags to split your resources.
Overall Totem Tribe Gold is a blast to play, fast paced yet casual all at once. The story is engaging and the characters are fun and well done, and the gameplay will keep you engaged across a couple dozen hours at least – I am a completist so I logged more than that getting through.
Ease of use/Overall performance: If you have ever played a RTS game you will know exactly what is going on, and either feel unsatisfied by the lack of hardcore elements or control of minutia … or thrilled at the casual pace and gameplay. Technically everything worked great – this is the first game I have played exclusively on the iPad Mini and had no issue with screen size or touch detection, and the graphics looked great on the standard screen and even better when I checked them on my Retina iPad.
Would use again/recommend?: Absolutely! It took me a long time to get into RTS games, and it remains a genre where I don’t like the truly hardcore games as much as many of my friends. As such I appreciate that Totem Tribe Gold gets out of the way and lets me focus on having fun and exploring the world and enjoying the story.
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: More hints and the ability to select multiple targets for resources would be helpful.
Price: $6.99 (also $6.99 for iPad $4.99 for iPhone – but through February 9th the Mac & iPad versions are $4.99, $2.99 for iPhone)
Here is the trailer: