Rivals at War is a card battle game where you must lead a team of soldiers into battle against real world opponents.
Unlike other popular Android combat games like Modern Combat or Brothers in Arms, Rivals at War doesn't require you to pick up a gun and shoot at the enemy. Instead, you just sit back and watch as your squadron competes in missions against another real-world player.
The gameplay in Rivals at War centers around trading cards rather than all out action. You purchase packs of cards using game currency which contain soliders with differing abilities, special attacks, customizations, etc. It's then up to you to select which of these to use when you go into battle. You can level up your soldiers and military arsenal to make your strike force even more potent.
It might sound a bit boring but actually Rivals at War is strangely engrossing and just watching battles can be hypnotic. Of course, there are times when you're getting destroyed by your opposition when it feels frustrating not being able to do get involved in the action.
While in-app purchases of cards and upgrades certainly helps you through the game, thankfully it's not a necessity to progress and as long as you're prepared to wait sometimes you can improve on your own.
How to play Rivals at War
When you first start Rivals at War you'll be walked through the logistics of the gameplay so you can learn as you play. Essentially, you just collect your card pack, choose which special items you want to use then click 'watch' to see the battle take place.
On the battlefield you have a number of viewing options. You can tap a particular soldier to follow them or use the satellite view to see the whole battlefield from above. It's possible to zoom in and out to really study what's happening out there.
Rivals at War looks great, both in terms of the setup screens and the battlefield itself, though perhaps the action shots aren't quite as classy as many of the top third-person shooters for Android. But the game performs well, with decent animation and realistic sound effects.
In terms of the match-making of online players, Rivals at War does a pretty good job and we found most of the battles we were involved in were fairly matched, making for an exciting gaming experience.
If you're a fan of tactical card battle games and you don't mind enduring the frustration of not being able to participate on the battlefield you'll no doubt enjoy Rivals at War. If you're looking for a straight action shootfest you won't find anything for you here.