|Rating: 8/10||Price: $2.99||Platform: Apple iOS||Developer: Chillingo Ltd|
|Unique RTS gameplay||Crashes may occur|
|Levels can be more challenging than expected||Short campaign mode|
|Three different gameplay modes|
Strategy games outside the realm of tower defenses are a rare find – real time strategy (RTS) games even more so. RTS games usually require the use of a mouse and keyboard in a large scrollable map. From these requirements there’s no doubt that finding an RTS game on any phone would be difficult. The developers at Chillingo aren’t scared of the challenge though, and have come up with an intriguing game called Swords and Soldiers that aims to blend the elements of an RTS game into a screen a hundred times smaller than your average computer monitor.
This isn’t Swords & Soldiers first appearance in the world of gaming. Swords & Soldiers first appeared on console platforms as downloadable games in 2009 and later on PC and Mac. Nothing truly new has been added besides touch implementation, which is feels naturally integrated.
The game boasts three nutty, well-animated factions: the Vikings, the Aztecs, and the Chinese. Each faction has a playable campaign and story that is unique and engaging. The Aztecs center attacks and spells themed around death. Contrast to that, the Vikings use defensive and healing tactics. Finally, the Chinese center around casting buffer spells. The campaigns for each race are somewhat interwoven and aim to communicate a grander story. These plot points add marginal value but help drive the diversification of levels and gameplay.
The game’s core mechanics, disregarding race, involve spamming troops and digging for gold, all the while defending your commander. This makes the game simple and easy to manage, which is a stark contrast to traditional Real Time Strategy (“RTS”) games. Here, you stockpile troops and enhance them with spells in one direction of the screen, not the multiple directions found in games like Starcraft. A simple formula like that can be dull and boring, but Swords & Soldiers maintains interest with its upgrade tree and spells. This formula may not be the best fit for a console game, but is perfect for a person who is looking to kill some boredom on their phone.
The few negatives the game presents all concern the AI. In most instances you will be fighting against hoards of enemy troops with nothing much to do except buckle down and wait for a spell that can level the playing field. A more balanced/diverse AI along with more spells could help fix this. Some missions that diverge from the mass hoards of enemies are campaigns that involve no gold or defend objectives. In some cases these missions are more difficult as they provide little resource to pump more men, but when you come across these missions the develops usually provide a solution that helps in your advantage.
Overall a unique game that offers an enjoyable RTS experience.