Vainglory Review

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We wanted to talk about another indie game today, but the only indie game we’ve played in a while sucked, so we decided to talk about something that isn’t technically indie, but still something not a lot of people will know. Despite the fact that IGN did a piece on it. We weren’t aware of that until we looked up the game’s official website, that is.

That’s why we’re talking about Vainglory, a MOBA developed by Super Evil Megacorp and perfected for touchscreens…That probably caused most of you to roll your eyes and close the page, but stick with us on this one. It really is a great game.

B = Base S = Shop C = Camp (Monsters) M = Minion mine G = Goldmine

B = Base
S = Shop
C = Camp (Monsters)
M = Minion mine
G = Goldmine

Now, as this is a MOBA the set-up is very simple but it is a little different from, for example, League of Legends. As you can see from the map above, there is only one lane with turrets and a massive jungle with creature camps and minions mines on either side. There are less people playing in a game too, as there are only 3 heroes on either side.

Like other MOBA’s the heroes can be classified as laners/adc carries meant to stay on the lane to fight minions and enemy laners, warriors who can run between the jungle and lane and excel at 1v1 combat and junglers/assassins that spend their time in the jungle, killing creatures until the time is right and they can pounce on weakened heroes.

Again, like other MOBA’s, you’ll need to fight minions or creatures a lot for gold and experience. You have two abilities and an ultimate each time you level up you can put a point in one of them to make it stronger. The gold you earned can be spent on all sorts of items to make your hero more dangerous. Each team has a crystal in their base they need to defend. If the opposing heroes destroy this, they win, but this is not easy.

Now that we’ve talked about the ways it’s similar to other MOBA’s, let’s talk about how it’s different. For example, take the minion mines and the gold mine. After a few minutes of playing, the mining phase will begin and slightly stronger creatures will appear at the mines.

Each side has a minion mine and defeating this creature will make the minions that march down the line stronger. Be careful, though, because the enemy can sneak into your dungeon and capture a mine you captured earlier. With both mines in the possession of one team, their minions are far stronger.

The gold mine in the middle of the map slowly collects gold until it caps at 300. If a team beats the creature defending it and captures the mine, the gold will be granted to them and when the mine hits its cap again it’ll automatically go to them and the mine will start collecting again. However, if the other team steals the mine before it hits the cap, they get however much gold it had collected and the mine is theirs until it’s stolen again.

Another difference is what happens later in the game. Eventually the gold mine is replaced by a massive, extremely powerful creature named The Kraken. This beast can take and deal out a lot of punishment, so you’ll need your entire team to deal with it. If you defeat the Kraken, he will join you and start walking down the lane, towards your enemies’ base. On the way there, he’ll beat the crap out any remaining turrets and even the base crystal if he can reach it. There really is no worse announcement to hear than “Enemy team has unleashed The Kraken!”

Oh shit, oh shit, oh shitshitshit!

Oh shit, oh shit, oh shitshitshit!

Be careful, though. It doesn’t matter who did the most damage to The Kraken, but who lands the final blow. There’s a good chance that you’ll exhaust yourself fighting The Kraken, only for the enemy assassin to sneak in, land the final hit and then wreck your weakened team while the Kraken leaves to smash your turrets.

There’s more subtle differences too. For example, jungling in League of Legends is fairly tricky and if you’re not good at it, you’re better off staying on a lane. Here, however, jungling is not only easier it is also absolutely vital. Firstly because the mines are in the jungle and secondly, because a good jungler can actually level way faster than a laner.

We’ve been playing a fair bit of Vlainglory the past few days, heavily favouring anything capable of hanging out in the jungle and then popping out of the bushes to ruin the enemy laner’s day.

Vainglory gives you some background on most characters and, though it’s not always very deep, they are no less fun to play with for it. The ones we favour are Koshka, a perfect kitty assassin who’s a bit squishy but can do incredible damage in bursts, and Krul, an undead warrior who can take massive amounts of punishment and steal what little life he loses right back if you play him right.

Granted, Vainglory isn’t perfect. It doesn’t have a whole lot of heroes yet, so there’s a decent chance you’ll see near identical teams fighting each other. It also doesn’t have many special skins yet, and there is no way to buy those with in-game currency.  It’s either real money or cards that might appear at the end of a game but don’t appear anywhere near often enough and, for now at least, cannot be purchased in the store yet.

Also, why is there no skin for Krul? Quite a few already have alternate skins and even second ones on the way, but there’s not even one for Krul! Treason!

One very sad flaw, though, is the controls. Perfected for touch is a nice statement and it’s mostly true, but that doesn’t mean that touch controls are best for a MOBA game. Moving and attacking is nice and easy, but using abilities that require careful aiming can be a little tricky. You might accidentally pounce on a random minion, instead of the weakened hero right next to it whom you were trying to hit, because of where the iPad thought you were tapping.

Despite this, though, Vainglory is a lot of fun. Some champions are a bit over-designed, but for the most part they look very nice. We’d like to say they all play great as well, but we haven’t been able to try them all yet and downright suck with a few of them, so we’re just going to assume that they’re just as good if not better than the ones we did play with.

Vainglory’s free to play and easily found in the app store, so give it a shot! Maybe we’ll run into each other on the Halcyon Fold. Please don’t take it personally if we kill you when we do.

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