Gaming on iOS has come a long way. In the early stages of the App Store, iOS gaming consisted of addictive (high score based) games such as Doodle Jump and clones like Tap Tap Revenge. Fast forward a few years and the App Store is still filled to the brim with simple & addictive games, but wedged in between are high quality, desktop-quality games. One of those games is Vainglory.
Most of you should already know about Vainglory. Apple featured the game during it’s iPhone 6/Apple Watch keynote (remember the scarf guy?) and it’s been the star of a new commercial (one of many starring Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake). It originally caught my eye due to its wonderful visuals, but what really drew me in was how Vainglory took a mouse & keyboard game and adapted it to a >5-inch touchscreen.
Vainglory is a MOBA game. For those unfamiliar, let me bring you up to speed. MOBA or multiplayer-online-battle-arena is a variation of the real-time strategy genre where you control a single character in one of two teams. The objective is to destroy the opposing team’s main structure with the assistance of periodically spawned AI units that march along a set path. Your player has various abilities that progress over the course of the game as well as the ability to buy upgrades at multiple shops.
The MOBA genre was popularized by a mod of Warcraft III called Dota. From there, multiple variations were created including League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth – the latter which I spent over 1,000 hours playing (according to my Steam profile). In short, the MOBA genre is addicting, competitive and time-consuming. Matches can last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes without the ability to pause or step away from gameplay (without sabotaging your team of course).
When I saw that Vainglory was bringing the MOBA genre to iOS, I was both excited and worried. After all, this has always been one of my favourite genres and the mobile platform (and restrictions that come with it) have produced terrible versions of many popular desktop games before.
I’m glad to say that’s not the case with Vainglory. It’s the perfect mobile adaption of a MOBA with stunning graphics, well-implemented touch controls and strategic gameplay choices to adapt to the limitations of the iPhone and iPad.
Before I go any further, I have to show you what mean when I say “stunning graphics.” I normally don’t post images on The H&F, but I don’t know how better to showcase the visuals of a iOS game than to just show you:
As I mentioned, Super Evil Megacorp (yes, that’s actually their name) had to make some strategic choices when adapted a MOBA to a touchscreen. First of all, they reduced the tradition 5v5 match to 3v3. Then they reduced the amount of creep lanes from 3 to 1. Small changes like teleporting back to home-base and three ability slots make a huge difference when it comes to gameplay.
I was hooked on Vainglory after the first match. The level of detail, thought and execution that went into making this game a reality is downright impressive. I’ve been playing on my iPhone 6 Plus and Vainglory has been a great game to showcase the future of mobile gaming to friends and family.
Vainglory is free on the App Store and is available for iPhone 5S , iPad Air & newer generations of both iPhone and iPad – which means there is absolutely no reason for you not to download it right now.