At first glance Assassin's Creed Rebellion looks quite a lot like Fallout Shelter, which isn't a surprise considering they were both developed by Behaviour Interactive. But unlike Fallout Shelter, Assassin's Creed Rebellion's gameplay is centered around turn-based squad strategy mechanics more similar in style to the X-Com series.
When you think about it, X-Com's turn-based squad strategy gameplay fits quite well within the confines of the Assassin's Creed series. There are already a ton of developed characters to take advantage of for the team-based gameplay and the stealthy mechanics found in the mainline series complement the strategy leanings of this particular release perfectly fine. In all actuality, I have to say that the developers nailed the feel of the original series while also giving us something fresh to play with.
You see, the way the gameplay works is you will build a team of elite assassins, with each having their own original skills. Once you dive into a mission with your selected team, you will simply move room to room in order to complete a set objective.
Each room allows you the choice of which teammate you would like to use. You could go with a character that can climb objects easily or one that can cut through traps, but either way, you have to make it to the end of the room without dying. This can be harder than you think, as each maneuver you perform has a percentage rate of success. Sure you could hide behind some object to then lure an opponent towards you, but they may just discover you hiding there and then you will need to fight them through a turn-based battle. Of course, once your enemies are defeated, (or you snuck past them) you will then move on to the next room, to then decide which character will best get you through.
In my opinion, it is within this style of decision-making where the team-based strategy gameplay is apparent. It's up to you whether you try to stealthily make your way through a stage, or simply brute force your way through every enemy with a powerful fighter. But the point is, the decisions you make are your own, which is what really creates a draw for this style of game.
Once you make it through a few of the starting missions, you will then start in on upgrading your base. This is where the similarities to Fallout Shelter will become clear. You have the ability to expand your starting base and build new rooms. Things like training rooms, living quarters, storage rooms, and treasuries are a few of the options you have laid out before you. Most of these require you to be a certain level to unlock, and they will cost you some of the primary in-game currency in order to place them in your base.
On top of the base building, there is also a hero collection aspect. Basically, your team is comprised of Assassin's Creed characters that can be unlocked through DNA fragments. You can find some of these fragments by simply playing the game, but they can also be purchased with the game's secondary currency.
Now when it comes to the primary in-game currency, as I mentioned earlier, you can earn it through gameplay, though this method will take a while to build up enough for some of the game's more expensive items. Conveniently enough you can purchase a secondary currency that ranges all the way up to $99.99 per item. It's mainly used for purchasing the primary in-game currency, but can also be used to unlock random DNA fragments (new characters) through the game's loot crate system. This style of monetization is of course done on purpose to confuse the user as to how much money they are spending on the game, and it is a practice I heavily frown upon.
Sadly the bad news does not stop there as Google Play Games Services, while supported, has no achievement system, leaderboard, or cloud saving. It appears to only be used for an auto sign-in. Luckily there is support for cloud saving through Facebook. This way you can store your save and pick up where you left off no matter what OS you are playing on.
All in all, I would say my first impression of Assassin's Creed Rebellion has been a good one. The gameplay is excitingly different, not to mention fun. Sure the IAPs may become a bother, but if you find that is the case, you can always stop playing the game. Sure it would be better if we were allowed a chance to purchase the entire game without having to ever think about IAPs, but the reality is this is what we are given. Considering that it is free, I see no reason not to try out Assassin's Creed Rebellion when it officially releases and see if it's to your liking.