Pax Britannica is a one-button (or one-touch) real-time strategy game originally made for Windows/Mac/Linux, that recently reached the Android Market in a port made by Stefan Wagner. It is a very simple and fun game that will get you completely addicted, with its beautiful graphics and the simple yet deep gameplay.
Pax Britannica is a term used to relate the period of peace after the Battle of Trafalgar and before the World War I. Obviously, there is no peace in the game.
The complexity in Pax Britannica is not in the controls: you just need to tap, and only tap. Once the app is open, you will see four ships to choose from, as well as some basic credits, a music toggle, a help menu, and configuration options. Choose your ship and after a countdown the game starts. If you want to play with a friend locally, you should tap on two ships.
The Game Starts
Once the count down is over you will see your choosen ship, and a message indicating the area you are allowed to tap — it will be always the left side for the player one, and right side for the player two. And this is it, this is where the fun starts.
Every Factory Ship needs resources to make new ships to battle. These resources are kind of imaginary resources; they accumulate over time, and there is no futher explanation about these, but you need them. First of, you will see that your ship has a needle on it. Once you tap and hold, the needle will spin and you can create your ships by releasing your tap. There are three ships to create: Fighter, Bomber and Frigate. The fourth pointing area is for upgrading the ship.
Fighter: The simplest and fastest ship to create, and also the one that spends the least resources. You should use them to take down the Bombers.
Bomber: Bombers take a little more time and resources to be built, but when ready they shoot slow projectiles that are great against Factory Ships and Frigates.
Frigate: The most expensive and slowest ship to create. It is a huge ship that fires a bunch of heat-seeking torpedoes, great to destroy that bunch of Fighters the enemy sent.
Upgrade: Expensive and slower than Frigate, but may come very useful. With this upgrade your Factory Ship can gather those mysterious resources faster.
The game is started, and what you have to do is create your army and do your best to destroy the enemy ship. This is where you need to make your own strategy to reduce the health of the enemy — you’ll know you’ve succeeded if you see the ship sparkling.
There is no health bar, so the only way to see if the enemy’s health is low — even if you’re in trouble — is to see what is going on with the Factory Ship. If it is sparkling, you’re on the way to destroy it; if it is sparkling all over its carcass, you’re practically the winner! But don’t celebrate your victory yet, as anything can happen…
Factory Ship with lesser sparklings
Factory Ship with more sparklings (almost exploding)
Factory Ship exploding
Pros and Cons
Beautiful: The steampunk-inspired illustrations made by Daniel Burton are beautiful.
Simple: The gamplay is simple, but addictive. You probably will find yourself playing it over and over again.
Music: The main track played in a loop is awesome; it has an ethnic feel to it, and reminds me of caverns, which fits into the underwater theme.
Smooth: The transitions between screens are smooth and beautiful, such eye candy.
Free: and open source. The version for Android is a port of the original game written in Lua made by Stefan Wagner, and the original made by the Canadian team No Fun Games (Henk Boom, Renaud Bédard and Matthew Gallant) was made open source, which means that any one following the rules of its MIT license can modify the game, and even sell it.
Graphics: The illustrations are a Pro, but they have cons too. The game isn’t optimized for tablets (The same on PC; I have a 21.5″ monitor and the graphics stretch and pixelate), and have some errors, like an “A button” inside each Factory Ship when you’re choosing it (on the PC, the A button is the button for Player One).
Health bar: There is no Health bar. Even with the sparklings, you could get very confused when playing; you only know you are in trouble when you see your ship almost exploding. Probably the lack of the Health bar is to try to make the game different, but it really feels like it is missing.
Lack of content: Ok, it is a simple game, and very addictive, but in a short time you can get enough of it. It could have more scenarios, and differences between ships aside from color. It isnt actually a Con, but a “could have”.
The game is beautiful and simple. There are a few things you might think is missing, but the game is about simplicity. Even with its general lack of content you will be entertained for hours and hours, and you will not pay for a cent for all this fun. Play alone or with a friend. I hope to see some new things coming up, but with what the game has now, it is pretty complete.