Pocket Warriors [$4.99] is an action hack-and-slash game, with 2d cartoon-style graphics, from WitOne Games. It’s based on killing monsters and leveling-up your weapons through combat. But you’re not alone on this quest, as your party consists of two little warriors – a male and a female, who must work together to protect the village from monsters and dragons. In the thread in our forums, Pocket Warriors is likened to a 2D version of the Monster Hunter series, and it provides many hours of monster combat, with 3 chapters, each containing 12 missions for a total of 36 quests.
Your adventure starts in the village, as you prepare for battle. There’s a weapons trader selling both weapons and magic spells, a blacksmith offering weapon upgrades, the village chief dishing out quests, and your own home for depositing items and storing stuff. After interacting with these four places to prepare, you can walk through the village gates to hunt the next available monster. There’s often no minions, just straight to the boss!
The monsters are the real stars of this game and fortunately they’re varied and creative, so it’s a pleasure to unlock and confront them, one by one. There’s 14 monsters shown in your “Monster Book", such as fire-dragons, hell-crabs and stone giants, each of which looks and behaves differently and has unique weaknesses. The key to this game, as with any boss-fight, is to study how each monster behaves during combat and then exploit this to defeat it, using weapons and magic.
How does the combat work? Well, this is a hack-and-slash game, but it’s a slowed-down version of this. There’s buttons for moving left / right, attacking, defending, switching characters, and magic spell slots (up to 3, if acquired). There’s definitely some button mashing while attacking, but you also need to constantly withdraw and attack strategically, depending on the monster being fought. I found the block button slow and unreliable, so generally preferred to back away. String together ten successful attacks and the monster will drop some material, which you can grab for weapons upgrades. The goal is to defeat the monster before it reaches the village or kills either of your party members, which leads to a reward of coins and materials.
The male and female warrior use different types of weapons, with swords, lances, axes, bows and magic maces being available. The cost of upgrading these weapons with game money is not cheap, so some grinding is necessary, whereby you fight low-level monsters over again to earn the money and materials needed for upgrades. Once weapons are upgraded to a high level, you can hold down the attack button, then release to launch a super-attack.
While you control one character in combat, your secondary character is automatically controlled. They rush into battle and flee automatically, which sounds great and helpful, except sometimes their battle-skills suck and they die, which leads to defeat. You can switch characters to try and save them, but then your primary character is controlled automatically. It would be better to either have some limited control over the secondary character, or to ensure they don’t directly cause your quest to fail. Some users even suggested it would be better to go into combat alone. The developer has recently joined our forum thread and advises he’ll improve the automated AI controls.
Pocket Warriors has some lovely atmospherics which make the game pleasing to play. Some backdrops include the plains, wilderness, forest, and a lost temple, each with quality sound effects, such as birds, sheep and frog noises in the background. There’s also several spelling mistakes and the character name field accepts lengthy names, spanning multiple lines, which can ruin the display of in-game dialog – so don’t do that! But none of this detracts from the basic pleasure of defeating monsters, using the cute little warriors that reside in your pocket.