Etherlords is a fantasy strategy game with collection and world-building mechanics. A great evil is awakened, causing a massive cataclysm that destroys the world as we know it—shattering mountains and streams into countless pieces. Players, as the “Etherlord,” have the power to rebuild and restore these worlds. To shoulder this massive responsibility players must gather creatures to help themselves along the way, grow their team, and wage war against countless monsters and bosses. In the process, more is revealed about this great evil and the dark secrets behind it.
The game is played in three different ways: building the worlds, fighting creatures vs. creatures, and merging/managing creatures and battle teams. The world building was inspired by the wildly popular tabletop game, Carcassonne. For those unfamiliar, tiles are drawn and placed in a certain orientation which then form buildings, roads, landscapes, etc… Players spend resources building and placing these tiles (in the vein of Carcassonne) which then become living terrain. The new land generates ether and spawns creatures that can be collected and sent into battle.
These creatures are of 3 different races:
Vitals: those with protective mindsets and nature-driven spells.
Chaots: brute force warriors with raw power.
Kinets: an ancient race of flying magical creatures that can manipulate energy.
There are more than 180 creatures in total—including Wolves, Dragons, Witchdoctors, Scorpion Kings, and even a mighty Colossus.
One of the more refreshing parts of Etherlords is that it is free-to-play AND there is no time mechanic like so many other iOS games. Players can stay in the game and fight to their hearts content, no need to wait for powers to recharge or resources to be gathered. That being said, there are in-app purchases for more ether, booster packs, and so forth. Still, there is no need to make any purchases to enjoy this game.
Etherlords does a lot of things right. The controls are so simple that you can play this entire game with one finger. The gameplay is engaging, variable enough to keep from monotonous RPG grinding, and there is a nice random encounter element to finding new characters (something that always motivated me to play these sorts of games). The graphics are wonderful. There is so much energy, vibrant color, and fun character design, and it is wrapped up with an immersive fantasy style.
As a fantasy strategy game with unique gaming mechanics, Etherlords is pretty darn good. As a mobile game (for iOS and Android) with all the previously mentioned goodness, Etherlords is amazing. It is great for the mobile gamer who needs their RPG fix or the strategy gamer with an itch for fantasy. For the perfectionists who enjoy rare hunting and set collecting, there is a scratch for that itch here too.