Tiny Token Empires, designed by BiP Media and released by BulkyPix, begins with a familiar backstory: ancient civilizations' ambitious leaders (Rome, Greece, Persia, Egypt, and Carthage) are at war with one another to gain land and wealth. However, this story takes a rapid twist when they decide to settle their imperialistic urges by playing a board game; winner takes all. At the heart of it, Tiny Token Empires is a turn-based topsy version of Risk with a dash of Age of Empires and puzzle allure a la Bejeweled.
In Tiny Token Empires, one acts as a leading hero following certain military campaigns. Heroes can choose planned world domination by completing set goals or freeplay their way to universal rule at a casual pace. In campaign mode, the player begins with an empire and a single territory with a capital. Each territory provides an allotment of funds to gather infantry, build a small army, and reinforce developing settlements. The empire earns more revenue, protection, and influence by defeating enemy territories, slaying monsters, and collecting magical items and useful artifacts along the way.
Puzzle Mode initiates when invading a territory. Each side then faces off against the other to quickly match colorful tokens into groups of three. Troop lifeline meters improve with each matched row, eventually accruing enough strength to engage the enemy in combat. However, troops can also die from being attacked, so strategy in selecting the best tokens (hint: go for the green and orange ones!) is essential. This part of the game is the most entertaining because the outcome determines the territory winner and continues or slows advancement across the map. The tutorial dialogue is also playful, creating a carefree attitude that diminishes the otherwise terse standoff between human will for power and AI brawn. Yet, there remains a slight learning curve, despite the humorous tutorial. For example, the map screen's top menu contains a negligible symbol to save one's progress, whereas auto-save is commonplace in most iOS games. Players should take their time and familiarize themselves with the screens and gameplay settings.