Empires of Sand city building and tower defence game for iOS and Android

Empires of Sand TD is a free game for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices in which you build a city and battle all comers. It sounds familiar, but there are some clever twists to the story.

There are two popular game genres and there are the city building type and tower defence. Empires of Sand is both. You build a city, but the battles that take place are pure tower defence, so you get the best of both worlds.

It sounds like a perfect match and in theory it should be, but there is a major irritation that spoils the fun. (Something that didn't affect King's Empire or Haypi Adventure Kingdom of Glory anywhere near as much.)

Collect resources

The city and empire is built in ancient Egypt and you are given a small town with a few buildings to get you started. Resources must be collected and there are two, rock and gold, both of which can be excavated from mines.

All lot of both of these resources is required to construct new buildings and to upgrade them. You also need resources to research new technologies.

Empires of Sand city building and tower defence game for iOS and Android

The major flaw with the game is the amount of resources needed to upgrade and research technologies and other items. It takes an awful lot of rock and gold, which is mined at quite a slow rate. Then when you have enough to upgrade a building or research something, it takes many hours to complete.

The city building aspect of the game is just too slow. After playing for just a day, some upgrades were taking six or eight hours.

Tower defense

The game isn’t quite as dull as it sounds because there is the tower defence side to keep you busy. There are several options and the simplest is a skirmish. This is a quick battle between you and someone else and the outcome doesn’t affect your score or rating.

Three take part in a skirmish and there is you and your opponent, plus the app. You send your army to the opponent, they send their army to you and the app sends its army to both of you. You can take advantage of this and send your own troops just behind or among the app’s troops, so they are partly protected.

Empires of Sand city building and tower defence game for iOS and Android

You defend with towers and there are several types, such as one that throws bombs, one that fires arrows, another holds defensive troops, and so on. You must place the right towers in the right places so as to prevent any of the enemy’s troops or the apps from getting to your city.

You simultaneously battle your opponent and try to get your troops past their towers, while defending with your towers against their troops. You can choose how to use your resources, such as for defence or attack.

Empires of Sand city building and tower defence game for iOS and Android

Another type of battle to play while waiting for your city upgrades and research is a plunder. You can attack other players (the app finds suitable opponents), and if your army gets past their towers you steal their gold and rock. You must set up defensive towers in case anyone tries to plunder your city.

There is also a campaign in which you work your way through a series of tower-defence style battles. Each battle gets harder and there are several difficulty levels so you can start out on the easy one.

Empires of Sand city building and tower defence game for iOS and Android

Empires of Sand city building and tower defence game for iOS and Android

Empires of Sand is almost a great game, but the city building is just too slow. You can buy gems to speed things up, but they are quite expensive and the top in-app purchase is near enough US $100 (UK £80). That’s a lot of money to spend on a mobile game.

I played the iOS app on an iPad and had no problems, apart from the slow city building speed. It’s worth trying, but it’s hard at first.

Title: Empires of Sand TD (iOS App Store | Google Play Store)
Price: Free (in-app purchases)
Developer: Digital Things / Codigames
Size: 109MB | 69MB
iOS: 7.0 | Android 4.0
Verdict: Slow to build your city and resources, but interesting battles.