Review: Cocoro Line Defender

A strategy game that lacks strategy.

By Anthony Vigna. Posted 07/01/2014 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Beautiful art style.
Poison Mushroom for...
Profound lack of strategy mechanics; Units have barely any unique attributes; Every single map plays the same way.

There’s nothing inherently wrong about designing a simple game. In fact, I generally favor simplicity over complexity because I find an easy to learn but hard to master game very compelling. For example, Swords & Soldiers simplified real-time strategy games by using two dimensional maps with units that move on their own, but you still had to manage resources and use your units’ unique abilities accordingly in each battle. As a result, the game was really easy to pick up but also complex through its tactical gameplay.

Cocoro Line Defender is very similar to Swords & Soldiers, as it features the same simplified real-time strategy gameplay on a two dimensional plane. However, Cocoro Line Defender is too simple for its own good and suffers because of it.

The game severely limits what the player can do in terms of strategic options. There are only four different characters to choose from, which vary in speed, health, and the amount of time it takes to produce the unit. Then, you can choose between six different weapons to equip them with, including variations of melee and projectile weaponry. Because there are no resources, units are made automatically on the touch screen and you have to fling them onto the battlefield using your stylus. Oh, and you get a special attack once in a while that kills everything on screen. That’s literally the entirety of the gameplay in Cocoro Line Defender.

The problem with this design is that there is absolutely nothing unique about the game’s units or weapons. The only distinctions between them are their strength and range, as there are no unique unit abilities or resources to manage for special upgrades. Because of this, many of my battles were determined by how many units I could bunch together in the same area. All you have to do to win in Cocoro Line Defender is create a wall with powerful melee users in the front and a bunch of quick ranged warriors in the back. There’s no need for any other strategy, but then again, other tactical options are practically nonexistent in this game anyway.

Because Cocoro Line Defender follows a war between four elements, you can play as each one throughout the campaign. However, they mostly play exactly the same. The only thing that differentiates each element is their sixth weapon slot, which is different for every team. For example, one element had an equipable healing item while another had a shield that greatly boosted a unit’s defense. Unfortunately, because the sixth weapon slot is locked until the last hour of the game, this ultimately failed to make things more exciting.

If Cocoro Line Defender featured units with a lot of unique abilities that were available immediately, I would probably be writing a very different review. However, as it stands, every battle is determined by how closely you can fling your units together on the battlefield. It’s a shame, because the core concept and art style of Cocoro Line Defender show a lot of promise for the strategy genre. However, this is not a strategy game; it’s an exercise in numbing your brain with boredom.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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