The Ninjabot

Categorized | Game Reviews

Fantasy Conflict Just Hit the Apple App Store

Posted on October 7, 2012 at 11:02 am by Amanda Andonian

Fantasy Conflict

If you’re a fan of real-time strategy and you love playing games your iPhone or iPad, then you might be interested in Fantasy Conflict from Gaijin Entertainment, which just hit the Apple App Store last night. The standard version is $1.99, and the HD version is $2.99, but you can download a free demo version that includes the first chapter of the game. If you like what you see, then you can upgrade via in-app purchase.

The game is set in the kingdom of Baldoria where a hoard of gnomes are sweeping over the land, stealing the kingdom’s power crystal, which apparently runs all of time in Baldoria. Your mission is to fight back the gnomes and get the crystal back. Of course, the story is largely incidental as this is basically a tower defense game in which you take over bases, trying to capture enemy locations before they capture yours. Pretty straightforward game.

Where Fantasy Conflict shines is in the design of the game. The art direction is pretty spectacular, so major kudos to the team at Gaijin and Spellbox for creating such a visually stunning world. The characters, menus, maps, and load screens are clearly a labor of artistic love, and the tongue-in-cheek descriptions and storylines are pretty amusing, if a bit on the wordy side. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that’s about the best that I can say about it at this point. So now for the bad news.

I just didn’t find Fantasy Conflict particularly fun to play. As I’ve said, the art direction is there, the design is there, the sense of humor is there; but when it comes down to actually playing the game, I found it wanting. The game mechanics are straightforward and easy to pick up, but the campaigns themselves are just too freaking difficult. Your enemy totally outmatches you; if you don’t move as fast as possible to end the campaign, then you’re effectively beaten because the enemy gnomes will inevitably have already captured every other tower on the map already. Even with the settings on the easiest level, I couldn’t complete all the achievements or get 3 stars, and I’d be lucky to walk away with even one star.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some weenie who doesn’t play anything except Angry Birds and thus has no concept of what game difficulty really means. I’ve played other tower defense/real time strategy games on iOS, and it’s one thing for a game to grow progressively more difficult as you advance through each level, but it’s quite another for it to make it so ridiculously difficult to complete the simplest of campaigns unless you’ve already unlocked and upgraded a bunch of spells and equipment. That’s sort of what Fantasy Conflict feels like for me.

I think the core of the problem is that it doesn’t feel like you have very much control over the game; you just have to advance your troops as quickly as possible to eliminate the enemy threat because it seems like they’re gathering reinforcements and recruits at twice the rate you are. Although there is the ability to bolster your defenses with upgrades using the troops available to you, that then reduces your forces, which in turn leaves you open to attack because now you have fewer troops. On top of that, many of the achievements revolve around finishing the campaign or capturing all the towers in a certain amount of time, so using your troops to upgrade your defenses never seems like an option if you want those achievements.

Aside from control over troop movements, it just doesn’t feel like you have a ton of options in this game. The spell cool down is incredibly long, and buying upgrades for your spells takes forever because the cost in gold is so high. On top of that, you don’t have any control over which spells you get to use in each campaign–they’re chosen for you–so even if you put all of your gold into one spell, you won’t necessarily be able to use it for every campaign. I understand needing to put restrictions on some things in order to increase the difficulty, and thus have people more engaged in the game, but I feel like Fantasy Conflict just goes way too far with it.

Definitely download the free demo, though, and determine for yourself whether this game is right for you or not. The great thing about mobile games is that developers are constantly working on new updates and tweaking gameplay, so I’m hoping that future versions of the game will feel a little more engaging and less like, “Crap, I need to move as fast as humanly possible or I’m totally going to lose in about 20 seconds.” I’ll be sure to update my review with any changes or additions.

iPhone games are fun, but not as fun as following Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516. Ok, they are more fun than that.

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