I find myself suddenly, for the first time in many, many years, playing games on more than just my desktop PC. PC gaming has dominated my computer gaming hobby ever since I first bought a 386SX computer back in 1992. It’s part of the reason why I never got into console gaming in any big way, since before I was an adult, I’ve had a PC to game on.
The only ‘big’ console I have in the house is a venerable Playstation 3, one that for about a month now has been de-mothballed to replay several Skylanders games. For years it has faithfully served us as a Blu-ray movie player and nothing else. The lack of serious use of this console for gaming is a big reason why we haven’t moved with the times generation-wise.
By chance really my husband discovered just recently there is an “auto battler” Skylanders game: Ring of Heroes. I’ve paid so little attention to mobile gaming over the years, the existence of this passed me by until now. It was released back in 2019 with the revamped version coming out late last year – I pay no real attention to mobile gaming news, unlike the MMORPG genre that occupies most of my interest and gaming time.
Auto battlers are unusual games, they can play themselves for the core game-play – the battles between your team of Skylanders and enemies. You can choose to manually control everything down to the minute detail of setting targets and choosing which abilities your Skylanders use on your turn, but in reality this slows down gameplay a lot and doesn’t, I feel, add a lot of value. Occassionally there are specific tactics in boss battles that benefit from ‘manual override’. The gameplay such that is, consists mostly of managing the team (or teams) of heroic creatures that you have collected: you form the team, gear up the characters and choose what adventures to send them on.
When logging in you are bombarded with free currencies, tickets, and items. It’s rather like some free to play MMOs in terms of the bewildering variety of popups and things to click whenever you login. There are events to take part in, mostly related to the random summon system that’s rather like a lock-box mechanic but specifically focused on collecting or upgrading the Skylanders.
I’ve not played any auto battlers before though I’m not a complete stranger to games playing themselves. When playing Black Desert Online, some activities are automatic. So if I’m reading blog posts on my second monitor while my wizard rides automatically to a waypoint, is that any different from watching my team auto-fighting enemies in Ring of Heroes?