In the realm of mobile games, there are usually not many standouts that can claim to have made a mark. The saturated market, alongside the less than ideal microtransaction-heavy landscape, has made mobile gaming a race to the bottom more often than not. Yet, that’s not to say that there is no enjoyment to be had, and with VNG Games’ OMG! 三国霸王, players are able to enjoy a free-to-play mobile RPG-lite idle experience that surprises with its generosity to a certain degree.
Taking inspiration from the tried-and-tested source material of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, OMG! 三国霸王 retells the beginning chapters of the wartime epic with a dash of anime flair and over-the-top action. Players take on the role of a new hero thrown into the mix of things, playing a part in the many clashes of the armies of the Three Kingdoms.
Familiar heroes and heroines, locales, and battles will each take their turn to shine, albeit with a different visual take from the many other games that have used the Three Kingdoms setting. By collecting cards and shards, players are able to form their own team of heroes to enter the battlefield.
Alliance Of Heroes
The likes of Shu, Wei, Wu, and other armies each feature a large variety of generals that can be recruited. With various active and passive abilities, as well as synergies with other notable characters, there is an emphasis on the roleplaying aspect of OMG! 三国霸王 that goes beyond just a cursory use of the source material.
OMG! 三国霸王 also requires players to pay more attention to the strategic needs of battles. Although the different fights that can take place on any given map are carried out automatically, with player input only required for activating special moves, there is still a need for you to figure out your best formation.
Vanguard units fare better at the front of the 3×3 grid, while strategists and support units should stay at the back. Yet, should there be assassins in the mix, they are in danger of generals that can attack from the back instead. By putting together a competent team that covers most of the bases, only then are you certain you can hold your own against the many different foes in the game.
The epic story and light RPG elements would have certainly made for a good base for a game, but it is still important to remember that this is a mobile free-to-play title. As such, there are some major caveats to take note of.
First off, OMG! 三国霸王 is currently only available in Simplified Chinese for the region. So if you are not a native reader or speaker, you will not be able to enjoy the game. For those who can, you are in for some impressive storytelling of a familiar tale, coupled with great voice acting that disappointingly stops a few hours into the main campaign.
As a mobile game, one should be familiar with various elements that will either require your time, or your investment in order to make more progress. The game remains quite magnanimous with the aforementioned cards and shards mechanics that allow for more generals to be recruited, at least, for the start. Once you are past the halfway mark of the story, then opportunities for recruitment become lesser.
There are daily objectives and milestone missions that can provide a well-needed boost every once in a while, but that will of course require you to be patient and playing for an extended amount of time.
The same goes for the many other resources found in OMG! 三国霸王. Currency for upgrading equipment, special augments that can be created by harvesting enough materials, and energy for carrying out missions are always going to be limited. Either you wait it out, or you spend on microtransactions to speed up the process.
In a sense, it is not surprising to find OMG! 三国霸王 going about trying to funnel players into paying for shortcuts in the game. It is after all competing in the mobile market. However, the game does allow those who are able to resist temptation and grind to succeed as well. The odds are not entirely stacked against you.
The many different aspects of the game are largely enjoyable as well. The visuals, though flashy, are easy on the eyes, although the designs of certain characters can veer into fan service territory. The action is spectacular, especially for the special abilities, while the sound design is also one to enjoy.
Aside from the main campaign, you can also spend your time in your alliance, fighting against overwhelming foes and helping each other out with supplies and even treasure hunts. There are also PvP arenas, with rankings and rewards up for grabs, alongside prolonged battles against mystical beasts and a gauntlet mode that gets increasingly more challenging as rewards pile up.
Should the stars align, you will also be able to level up and upgrade your favourite heroes in the game, buffing their stats and improving their skills. The race to get a five-star general is a chase anyone who spends time on mobile gacha games like this will be familiar fare, and the thrill of pulling the right cards or shards never quite subsides.
For what it is worth, OMG! 三国霸王 is both propped up and held back by its mobile roots. There is something worth exploring in the game for its unique and magical take on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The more strategic nature of the tougher fights is also a good challenge. Unfortunately, the spectre of time and resources limits, and the constant need to push microtransactions can wear down even the strongest of warriors.
If you are a big fan of the source material and is looking for an ultimately fun time of butchering armies and getting stronger with each fight, OMG! 三国霸王 is a great way to do that. You will just have to steel your defenses for the unsavoury aspects of mobile gaming and grind to the end.
OMG! 三国霸王 is now available to download on the the App Store and Google Play Store.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
OMG! 三国霸王 has what it takes to carve out its own place in the history of Romance of the Three Kingdoms games, but is let down by its mobile tendencies.
Gameplay - 7/10
Story - 8/10
Presentation - 8.5/10
Value - 7/10