A breezy but sometimes frustrating spin on the original Warcraft RTS

Real-time strategy is tough to get right at the best of times, so I was skeptical going into Cartoon Craft: is it even possible to create an RTS experience that works on the (relatively) tiny screen of my Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra? It turns out that yes, it can be done—although there are some important caveats to be aware of here.
Cartoon Craft takes the basic premise of the original Warcraft: Orcs and Humans and boils it down to its essential components. There are orcs, there are humans, and they fight each other, because that’s what they’ve always done. Many of the same basic structures and units are here, too: Building farms increases population cap, watchtowers can fend off enemy attacks on their own, catapults and flying machines can be built in advanced structures.
Everything’s done in a pleasant-enough doodle art style, and the accompanying flavor text matches the theme by sounding almost like a child’s retelling of the first Warcraft story. That’s all fine, and while it doesn’t do much for me personally, I think it comes together into a unified theme that’ll delight some players.
More frustrating, however, are a couple design mistakes that make controlling troops a chore. I can tap a soldier to select him, then double-tap an enemy to issue an attack command. Or I can double-tap a soldier to select all the soldiers of the matching type nearby. It’s unclear, however, how far this group selection range extends, and I found myself missing soldiers from groups when I ordered my army to attack an enemy base. In other cases, I’d attempt to select a group of troops and assign them to a “hotkey” command group, only to be told I had no troops selected. Another annoyance is that selecting command groups recenters the camera on the group, so I’d have to pan the camera back to the location I wanted them to go before I could issue the command, which takes a lot of the utility away from having command groups at all.
None of these complaints are deal-breakers, and neither is the monetization model, which allowed me to “buy” groups of archers or a gyrocopter or what have you before a level began by watching a brief ad, or buy premium currency to use on random heroes to bring into the campaign. All this is easy enough to ignore as I watch my little army grow, mine gold, chop down trees, and eventually tear down the enemy’s base. For a quick dose of old-school Warcraft action, you could do a lot worse than Cartoon Craft.
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