Fantasy-Conflict--iOS--Review Fantasy Conflict (iOS) Review

   07/10/2012 at 13:54       Flying_Pig       0 COMMENTS. - Score 3/5
 - iOS, Fantasy Conflict, Gaijin, RTS, Strategy

As much as I love the immediacy of gaming on the iPhone or iPad, I have been craving a really serious strategy game to get my teeth into, and despite being initially excited at the prospect of Fantasy Conflict, my craving remains unsatisfied.

Fantasy Conflict is the latest title from those lovely chaps at Gaijin Entertainment – well know for their Bit.Trip games and, more recently, Modern Conflict. It’s essentially a real-time strategy game which sees you marshalling your human army against that of the Dwarf King. To suit the platform and to make this more of a pick-up-and-play title, Fantasy Conflict represents a simplified and streamlined take on the genre.

Your central task is to use your troops to capture enemy bases, while keeping enough back to defend your own bases against the forces of the Dwarf army. You each start with a single castle and (usually) 20 soldiers under your command. Surrounding your start point are a number of neutral castles which need to be conquered as you initially expand your foothold on the map. Each castle you possess slowly generates additional soldiers, meaning that the more castles you control, the more quickly your army will grow. To add some more tactical play (with a nod to the Tower Defence genre) you can use your troops to upgrade your castles, either adding a cannon to the roof, or building higher walls to make it easier to defend.

It’s all one big balancing act – expand too quickly and you risk spreading yourself too thin and making your castles easy targets for the Dwarven hordes, but take your time and you could quickly find yourself overwhelmed.

In addition, the game also includes an element of magic to assist you in your warmongering; allowing you to set the enemy castles on fire or call additional reinforcements. These spells can be upgraded by using gold you’ll win after each battle, with these upgrades being essential to succeed in later levels.

And so we come to the first of my gripes with this game: The first few levels are fairly easy with you conquering the enemy without too much difficulty or use of the spells available. But the difficulty quickly ramps up and becomes extremely challenging – to the point where I almost gave up. This steep leaning curve also highlights some of the games other flaws: As you progress having a well upgraded array of spells becomes increasingly essential, however the amount of gold you earn from successful battles is insufficient, essentially forcing you to grind for gold on previous levels to allow you to upgrade your magic.

The game also adds insult to injury by pre-selecting the spells you can take into a specific battle, meaning that you may have spent the last 20 minutes to upgrade one spell, only for the next battle to exclude it, instead requiring you to use different magic, which you may need to spend another 20 minutes grinding for gold to upgrade. This is an unfathomable design choice and essentially eliminates your ability to experiment with different tactics and spell combinations.

While, on paper, Fantasy Conflict offers a straightforward, fast paced strategy game, Gaijin have made some odd design choices, which materially impact the enjoyment of playing. Some people may well love the grind and repetition of battle after battle, but for me, the frustration of escalating difficulty and lack of variety leaves me unsatisfied in my hunger for a ‘proper’ strategy game.

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