“Vainglory,” with over 5 million downloads on the Google Play store alone, shows that Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games do not have to be limited to the PC. With a smooth interface and well-developed graphics and heroes, “Vainglory” is able to compete with popular games such as League of Legends and Dota 2.
Graphics and heroes
The graphics in “Vainglory" are remarkably polished for a mobile game. The game’s main battle arena, the “Halcyon Fold,” is filled with realistic greenery and architecture. Blue and orange lights around the map’s jungle give the area a mystical feel, and the surrounding clouds and buildings make it seem like the player is fighting at a high altitude. Everything from the cobblestone paths to the shadows of buildings look high definition – sharp enough to rival video games on consoles and the PC.
Each of the 32 available heroes has a unique splash art, in-game model and lore. Some favorites include Reim, a “grumpy old winter mage,” and Kestrel, an “elite Stormguard archer.” Each hero has three exclusive fighting abilities that can be used in battle in the Halcyon Fold. Beside their abilities, the heroes have various skins that can be unlocked by the player and used to change their appearances.
The main goal for players is to destroy the enemy’s Vain crystal. Players are split into groups of three and face off to collect gold, conquer objectives and slay the opposing heroes. Matches last for around 20-25 minutes. However, there are two other game modes — Blitz and Battle Royale — that take a fraction of a normal game’s time. “Vainglory” is definitely a game of strategy – sneaking up behind opponents, conquering objectives like the “Gold Miner” and knowing when to initiate a team fight.
One thing that is currently missing is the option to fight in larger teams. Sometimes, 3v3 matches do not give a true “arena” feel. However, the developers of "Vainglory" recently announced the coming of a 5v5 map. Overall, the current 3v3 gameplay feels balanced – no hero seems too strong or too weak. Like any good MOBA, “Vainglory” encourages teamwork and good sportsmanship, and offers the satisfaction of winning a game that was hard-fought on both sides.
There is not a whole lot to complain about with “Vainglory.” But its few drawbacks are the ones found in most MOBA games. In some matches, I found that the players on my team were unskilled compared to the players on the other team. In other cases, my games were ruined when my teammates deserted the game or purposely lost the match. It can be frustrating to be matched with a person who does not make the effort to win. A possible remedy to this problem would be harsher punishments for people who leave games or do not take them seriously. Another drawback is that the game can be repetitive with certain quests, and the rewards for those quests are often underwhelming.
Overall though, “Vainglory” successfully brings a full-fledged MOBA to the mobile market. Its graphics, characters and gameplay are well-polished and show that a mobile game can have just as much depth as a computer game. “Vainglory” is currently free to download, but there is also the option to buy heroes and skins through in-app purchases. However, a player can still enjoy the complete game and unlock all content without paying. Anyone who appreciates strategy, unique characters and intense PvP should thoroughly enjoy “Vainglory.”