If you are a fan of MMO (massively multiplayer online games), you have a lot of choice and it is a popular genre. Three top games for the iPhone and iPad are tested and there are winners and losers.

All the games were run on an iPad Air, but they also work on an iPhone, and you will find them in the Google Play store as well if you are an Android user.


Age of Lords: Legends & Rebels

Price: Free. Developer: eRepublik Labs

Age of Lords: Legends & Rebels is set in the middle ages and your main building is a castle. Around it is space for many other types of building and you must place farms for grow food, set up quarries to get rock, iron mines to excavate iron ore, and lumber camps to produce wood.

These are your basic resources, but there is also gold and silver to be gained too. Building houses produces an income in silver and you can earn gold by performing tasks in the game.

The gameplay is straightforward and in typical fashion you collect resources in order to construct and upgrade buildings. At first building is quick and easy, but it takes longer as you progress through the levels. Minutes to upgrade becomes hours. Economic and military research can be performed, and this is required to progress. Research is quick and easy at first, but later on it takes days.

An army is required because battles will eventually occur and this consists of militia, bowmen, cavalry, pikemen, longbowmen, battering rams, ballistas and so on. Your army can be sent to occupy resource camps and they gather wood, iron, silver, food and rock.

Age of Lords app for iOS

There are monsters wandering the lands around you and these can be attacked and killed by your army. The monsters vary in level and you start off by killing the lowest level ones and progress to increasingly powerful ones. The rewards improve along with their level. You can also engage in battle with other players and join an alliance.

I found that Age of Lords started off being quite dull, with lots of tedious building and levelling up, but it became more interesting as time progressed because of the monsters and other players you can take on in battle. You can attack other players and they can attack you. You might lose your army and resources in battle, but you don't lose your castle and other buildings.

There are in-app-purchases if you don’t want to wait for buildings to be constructed and technologies to be researched, but the game is playable without paying and it just takes a bit longer to progress.


Imperia Online – Medieval Age of the Lords

Price: Free. Deveoper: Imperia Online Ltd

Imperia Online - Medieval Age of the Lords is set in a similar era and you are in control of a medieval town in a land populated by numerous other players each with their own towns. Unlike some games of this type, the town is ready made and buildings have been placed. New buildings are not added to this and you simply increase the level of existing ones by upgrading them. This does not change the look though.

There is a lumber mill, iron mine, stone quarry, houses, farms, town hall, palace and several other buildings. As usual in this type of game, they are related, so you have to level up one to enable another to be improved.

The number and variety of economic and military buildings and units is impressive. It is quite a complex game and there is a bank, a marketplace, a caravan station, a town square, economic and military universities for researching technologies, and more.

Imperia Online for iOS

The people in your town must be kept happy and you can organise festivals for them to raise their spirits. You choose what type of work they do and allocate them jobs so on. There is a palace with a royal family that grows too. It is all very interesting and the complexity and the way that everything is interwoven so you need to research this in order to do that and so on, is fascinating.

Despite all this, I got bored because apart from building your town, population, resources and army, there is little to do. The map is poor and whenever I tried to do anything, such as raid someone else, I was told I could not do that. There was always a reason, such as the player’s score was too low, too high, under protection, inactive, and so on. It became frustrating and lonely. I longed for battle, monsters, and other things to make the game interesting.

Imperia Online was initially impressive and looked great, but I just never got anywhere with the game. Over time I got bored with it and gave up. Did I give up too early? Maybe it gets better later on, but it was too late.

Some of the in-app-purchases are very expensive indeed, such as £400 / $599 for the Soldier Pack! Are they serious?


War Inc. – Modern World Combat

Price: Free. Developer: TangoMe Inc

Instead of being set in the past, War Inc. - Modern World Combat is set in the future and there are high tech buildings, defenses and military units to build. This gives this game a different look and feel to the other two. It is also more focused on combat than the other games, something which is obviously is implied in the name of the app.

It is different in other ways too, and you start off with a small military base that has a few basic buildings. You construct new buildings to gather resources and these take the form of crystals and oil, both of which are needed in large quantities for construction and army training.

The buildings can be placed anywhere on the landscape where there is a free space. 

The placing of buildings requires some thought and planning because when you come to take part in battles, you can control how your army attack someone’s base to a certain degree. During the attack, you can place your army units anywhere you like and so attack from any direction. You obviously choose the weakest part of the base or place your units near to important structures.

War Inc. MMO app for iOS

You must therefore think about where you place gun turrets, walls and buildings. They can be strategically placed to maximize your defense and protect your command centre, so you have to think about the layout in terms of how easy it is to defend.

You don’t need a large army and a few units is sufficient to enter battles. There are two types and you follow the game’s battle plan, progressing from base to base controlled by the game’s AI, or you can find real players and attack them. They can attack you too.

Some MMOs are slow and there are long periods of waiting while buildings are constructed, technologies researched and armies built. War Inc. has a faster pace and you can get into the action early on. Your base grows quickly and battles come early, making this more fun than some games of this type.


The verdict

Imperia Online looked like it might be the best of the three, but I gradually lost interest due to a lack of interaction with anyone else. There just didn’t appear to be much to do apart from building and researching.

Age of Lords and War Inc. are both good, although in different ways. Age of Lords is slower paced and it takes a while to get going, whereas War Inc. is faster and gets to the action quicker. Both of these are recommended and the one you choose depends on whether you want fast paced modern action or slower medieval building and battles.