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iPad Game Review: Autumn Dynasty: Warlords for iOS (Universal) Review
      #46239 - 03/31/14 02:40 PM

Autumn Dynasty: Warlords is a highly polished blending of turn-based and RTS gameplay set in ancient China. Playing the strategic game in a relaxed turn-based environment, and invading/defending in real-time makes the most of both genres, and strikes an excellent balance between cerebral and twitchy gameplay.



Gameplay

Autumn Dynasty: Warlords (AD Warlords), while borrowing a great deal from its predecessor: Autumn Dynasty, is not a sequel, and should not be viewed as one. The original AD still has plenty of legs for traditional RTS fans, while AD Warlords brings a fresh gameplay experience. Make room for both on your device if at all possible because these two games feel very different from one another. When the AD Warlords begins, you will see a map of ancient China, portioned up like a RISK map. You start with one province, which you must develop. This portion of the game takes place in a turn-based environment so take your time, make your strategic decisions, engage in diplomacy/spying, and sip a cup of coffee. Invasion, however, takes place in a fast-paced real-time environment, so buckle-up before you commit. Once you have decided where you are going to attack, you will be given several options such as full-scale attack, raid, sneak attack, etc. When battle begins, you will have tactical control of your units, and success will depend on combined arms (hitting scissors with rock, rock with paper, and paper with scissors) so know your units strengths and use them effectively. How you attack is also important so always try to flank your enemy whenever possible. Although I am a turn-based gamer almost exclusively, I found myself really enjoying these battles. They were never confusing, and I never found myself frantically tapping as my troops degenerated into an incoherent mess. Herein lies the most important part of this review: AD Warlords is much more a RTS game for turn-based fans than the other way around. If you enjoy the near arcade game experience of simultaneous base-building and troop deployment in real-time, AD Warlords is going to feel a bit too slow-paced for you. If, however, you're not in that vocal minority of gamers (especially mobile gamers) you're likely to find that AD Warlords provides an accessible RTS tactical experience in satisfying bite-sized chunks, while at the same time, offers a satisfying turn-based strategic game.



Although AD Warlords is single-player only, there is tons of content here. Of particular note is the fact that the tactical map of each province is randomly generated every game so each time you play, it will feel wonderfully unfamiliar. There are, however, some balance issues and bugs that detract a bit from the game, but since AD Warlords has been patched 4 times in the month since it launched, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt here as I expect it to be well-supported in the coming months, and even years.

One last note I'd like to share concerns the original game, Autumn Dynasty, the rights to which were recently acquired from the publisher by Touch Dimensions, the developer. Due to iTunes terms of service, this necessitated relaunching the game as new. When this happens, as it occasionally does on the App Store, it usually means that all previous purchasers are orphaned owners of an app that will no longer be supported, developed, or patched. Touch Dimensions, however, took the high road. When they acquired the rights, they made Autumn Dynasty (now known as Autumn Dynasty RTS) completely free for two weeks to give previous owners a chance to pick it up without having to buy it a second time. A classy move. If you didn't get in on the free re-launch, I can certainly understand your frustration. Just remember that it's not the fault of Touch Dimensions, so heap your scorn somewhere else.



Graphics

Like the original Autumn Dynasty, AD Warlords is a gorgeous game that looks like it was rendered in watercolors. The tactical map is a thing of beauty, with smoothly animated units moving on meticulously crafted terrain. The interface is clean and uncluttered, and the whole thing is rendered in high-resolution to support retina displays.

Sound

The soundtrack is pleasant and varied, and the battle sounds offer just the right amount of audio feedback to draw you into the game without making you wince or reach for the volume control.

In-App Purchases (IAPs)

Autumn Dynasty Warlords offers no IAPs of any kind.

Conclusion

If you enjoyed the original Autumn Dynasty, buying AD Warlords should be a no-brainer. If you enjoy strategy games but find most RTS games a bit overwhelming, AD Warlords is also a must-buy as the RTS element is focused and manageable. If you're a dedicated hardcore RTS gamer, however, who things strategy is a dish best served frantically, you may find AD Warlords a bit too thoughtful.



Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 5 - A beautiful game, start to finish.
Sound: - 5 - Great sound/music throughout. Worthy of headphones.
Controls: - 4 - Although it's been patched recently, it still has a few glitches. Even as it stands, however, it's a fantastic game.
Gameplay: - 5 - A great blending of 4X turn-based strategy, and bite-sized RTS gaming. With the provinces being randomly generated each game, you will likely never feel you've seen it all.

Playing Hints and Tips:

Play the tutorial, then start on casual. The RTS portion of the game is actually the most easily understood and accessible so dive in and start attacking. Remember, though, that each unit has a particular strength and a particular weakness so use them appropriately (don't send cavalry against spearmen, for example).



App Facts:

Developer: Touch Dimensions
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Price: $6.99
Buy App: Autumn Dynasty: Warlords

Reviewed by Tom Slayton









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