My Little Army is a disarmingly cute side-scrolling strategy defence game from the creator of the popular Epic War series Rudy Sudarto. The aim is to lead one of three hero characters to victory in a quest to gain control of the ‘Myth Balls' - the concept of which I remain unclear about, no matter how many times I sit through the game's colourful comic-book introduction. But then I suppose the story doesn't matter so much when a game is this much fun.
Your chosen hero is permanently stationed on the left of a scrolling battle screen, acting as a command post from where you can dispatch a variety of units to do battle with a surge of oncoming enemies from the right.
Completing the various missions and side quests will earn you some nice shiny gold that you can spend on upgrading your hero's attack or defence, buying different units (48 in total, made up of eight separate classes such as archers or swordsmen) and weapons.
You can also select from an imaginative list of spells that your hero can cast during battles. Some of these boost your troops' defence or attack skills while others hinder your enemies. One of my favorites was the ability to resurrect enemy corpses to fight on your side.
At first, it's possible to win battles through sheer force of numbers alone, clicking idly away with the mouse button to spit out a steady stream of new warriors to overwhelm your enemies - so much so, that the fast forward button helpfully included to speed up the action is a godsend, enabling you to dash through side quests to build up your gold reserves.
However as the game advances, things become a lot tougher. Progress is only possible using a combination of the right units, spells and weapons to counter the sheer number and variety of enemies flung in your direction, each with their own strengths and soon-to-be-exploited weaknesses.
The whole thing looks lovely, with smooth cartoon-style animation and über cute graphics that do a splendid job of distracting you from the relentless carnage you're party to - watching a gang of Vikings hacking away at a helpless wizard instantly becomes as jolly and carefree as an afternoon at Disney World.
The missions themselves have nice variation, with bright colourful backgrounds and detailed environments. Sound-wise, there's nothing to really write home about. The background music is rousing if repetitive, and sound effects are restricted to the odd battle cry or yelp of pain, but it does the job.
Missions are typically fast-paced, so it's difficult to get too disheartened by defeats, even after several failed attempts, because you have not invested that much time in them. Altering the formation of your army, or returning to the side quests to earn gold for new weapons, spells or character upgrades enables you to quickly try out different approaches, which leads to an addictive just-one-more-go experience.
With My Little Army, what initially appears to be a simplistic experience provides a surprising amount of fun, complexity and immersion that could easily keep you busy for a whole month's worth of lunch-breaks.