iPad Game Review: Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim (Universal) Review
Reviewed by JadeDragon
HeroCraft mades good quality games in different genres. Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdome Sim has been a successful title first on iOS, then Android and now even available in J2ME. Though the game implies a kingdom building simulation, Majesty has more RTS gameplay than building sim. The game has hefty amount of gameplay in different modes and difficulty levels while the graphics are pretty to look at.
Think of it as a shorter version of Rise of Nation type of games, the gameplay in Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim involves mostly around fighting enemies to defend your kingdom and to destroy enemy bases, castles and caverns. You start out with a castle and the ability to build up to 30 buildings where you can breed armies of fighters and wizards, and research and upgrade. The building types include commerce, research and military classes; and upgrade and research tree is extensive by mobile game standards, though not nearly as extensive as games like Rise of Nation. The game offers one map size, and you can lift Fog of War by exploring with your army units or using spells when you have built wizards and research magic.
The game has a decent size in AI setting and runs smoothly on the iPad and iPhone. The game allows up to 30 buildings and 20 heroes (all units). There are two game modes, campaign and skirmish. Campaign mode does a very good job at introducing different elements of the game to you as you unlock each campaign, and these levels have varied objects which keeps things interesting. Be sure to read the objects for each mission as not all missions are about destroying everything. Once you've honed your skills, you can play skirmish fights which often IS about destroying all enemy buildings and killing every last enemy.
One very interesting aspect of Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim's gameplay is that you don't control individual units. The game lets you choose which units you want to build for your army, then set goals/missions for them. The AI controls the army units' want and need. You can set waypoints for your units to explore the map or attacking targets or buildings for your army to take out. Once you've set these goals, your army units will generally follow through, though at their own pace. You can't control your army units, but over time you will see the pattern of their "wants" and plan your game accordingly; patterns like your units will always want to defend your buildings first before going off to attack enemy buildings, the high price you put to a goal the quicker your units will get there and complete it.
Overall, the AI works very smoothly and well balanced in Majesty with only one thing over weighing others. And that's Magic. The game includes dozes of spells, and you don't have to wait for a wizard to get to a location or a target to use the spells. Using magic can easily overwhelm your enemy and speed up the gameplay drastically, as long as you have the money to spend on the spells. For example, you can take a target out in seconds using a powerful spell where it might take many regular fighting units quite a some time to take out. Also while your exploring units might take a while to walk the map, using a spell (a cheap one at that) you can explore the entire map easily.
Majesty has nice graphics that look interesting yet not distracting. Each building has its own design yet all buildings go well together. Unit design enhances the gameplay and overall look and feel of the game. Each unit looks different and offers special FX animations that go well with the character. In addition to buildings (friendly or otherwise), interesting structures, ruins, archeological type statues and figures litter the map. Terrains also vary in different missions, adding the "fantasy genre" style look and feel.
Sound in Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim falls a bit short when compared to the gameplay and graphics. The game has a good number of background tracks that go well with the theme of the game, and adequate amount of sound effects corresponding to your actions. But the mix of the BGM and sound FX is quite off. The background tracks overwhelm the sound FX in much of the game, becoming distractions to the gameplay. Some parts, the music is jarring and you really have to strain yourself trying to hear sound FX during some actions.
Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim is a surprising title that offers much more than a castle building sim. It has the depth and strong AI that mark a good RTS, and graphics that play well as a fantasy genre game. It offers three difficulty levels in each of the two game modes, and the AI setting matches the difficulty level setting accordingly. Aside from some mixing mishaps, the game offers a good selection of sound and music. It's certainly a worthy title for RTS fans in Rise of Nation or Command & Conquer tradition.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4.5 - Interesting, colorful, goes well with the gameplay. Sound: - 3.5 - Collection of music and sound FX is good, but packaging isn't. Controls: - 5 - Very smooth, responsive; easy to learn. Gameplay: - 4.5 - Good depth, strong AI, mostly balanced gameplay.
Playing Hints and Tips:
-Always make sure you understand the objective. If you aren't sure, check the in-game objects by tapping on the top right button.
-Use guard towers as they are relatively cheap to build and help your units in defending buildings.
-Always make sure you have goals set for your units, whether it's exploring or fighting.