A merge game with a fair bit more depth, Fury Lion Group’s Merge Empires looks to combine the classic ‘merge’ gameplay we all know so well with ‘world building’ elements.
The clue is in the title: Empires. Beginning with nothing but a cave, combine matching buildings to upgrade them to newer and more advanced settlements. These settlements, 3 maximum, can then be used to house your people who will start hunting and defending the land earning you coins to spend on more settlements to merge.
It’s a simple mechanic but given more depth, thanks to large bosses that need to be taken down. The bigger and more advanced settlements you have, the better. As you merge more buildings the prices exponentially increase forcing you to make choices in regards to where you start from. Do you spend a ton of coins on dropping a few level 3 or 4 sizes settlements or do you stick to the cheaper level 1 settlements and work your way up?
Regardless, you will need to manage your expectations and take your time. Often relying on the offline coins feature or watching ads to gain quick bursts of money. Hardly a problem for a free to play game.
What is less acceptable though is the premium currency of gems, of which you get a handful to use before they dry up completely. Premium because they can be bought with real money starting at 30 for $0.99 and going all the way up to a staggering $99.99 for 3700. That might sound like a fair amount of gems but remember this very important thing, it’s a finite amount.
You could pay a cent short of $100 for something that will inevitably run out. Absurd and as enjoyable as Merge Empires is, it deserves a kicking for this.
Gems are used to double the coin return for a short period, to unlock higher level houses to merge earlier, to activate a time-warp which gives you the equivalent of the hours spent in coin instantly and to spin the bonus wheel for instant rewards. Although the latter can also be spun once you’ve gotten through a few ads.
With a total lack of pop-up ads and the premium currency option, Merge Empires bucks the current trend of free to play ad spam, which is welcome. Not only that, for all crap surrounding the gem system, it’s not a game that ever feels like you need to spend real money to get enjoyment out of it.
That’s a surprise. A nice surprise and that it’s an additive play just makes it all the better.
The Final Score - 6/10