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The Bluecoats - North vs South Review

By , on May 21, 2012

The Bluecoats - North vs South
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Quite the well done remake of an old strategy game.
  • Lots of different game modes breaks up any monotony.
  • The game is very customizable.


  • All the random elements seem to affect you negatively and the computer positively. Text is way to small on the iPhone screen. No multiplayer option.


This is a very good remake of the 1990 strategy classic. While some of the underlying gameplay issues of the original have not been solved, this is a unique and fun experience in the world of Risk-like turn based strategy videogames.

  • Full Review
  • App Store Info

The original game this remake is based on, 'North & South' was based on the Belgian comic book 'Les Tuniques Bleues', which was a humorous take on the American Civil War. The Bluecoats – North vs South takes the “turn based strategy laden with mini-games” concept, updates the graphics and smooths over the whole experience. With a fresh coat of paint and some tinkering, how does this gaming classic hold up?

Well the game starts at the options screen in which you choose either the Yankees or the Confederates, set the computer difficulty, and tinker with the game options if you so wish. The main board of the game plays like a modified game of risk, with units available to you to move and conquer either neutral or enemy territories each turn. At the start of the turn, you're given gold based on how many railway lines and forts you control, and this gold can be used to buy new units, or upgrade your chances in the mini-games. When attacking an enemy solider, capturing a fort, hijacking an enemy's train, or defending against an attack yourself, the game changes to one of three distinct mini-games.

Open combat has three units, infantry, cavalry, and artillery on a battlefield, that can be moved and ordered to attack to obtain victory. Capturing or defending a fort entails a shoot out game where you have to fire at enemies in cover while not getting shot yourself. Finally pillaging a train has you running up on horseback, jumping and ducking to avoid obstacles. The controls for these games are easy enough to use, but there is a distinct lack of finesse or aid, as often you'll tap somewhere and either there will be no response, or your tap will register nearby where you wanted it to. This coupled with the tiny text on the iPhone screen can make North vs South a frustrating play experience.

Now in the game options you can turn the mini-games off in favor of dice rolls (as well as turn off the Indians, Mexicans, weather, and reinforcement random events). This makes the game more playable as a strategy game, but the frustration of the mini-games is then traded for the baffling luck of the computer player (whose armies seem to withstand multiple direct assaults). This is where a multiplayer option would have been fantastic, but sadly at the time of this review, there is no such option.

North & South was an interesting game in 1990, and while this remake has polished it up, the game has not aged well. The controls and luck factors make it less fun than it should be. Strategy fans and retro gamers will no doubt enjoy an old favorite, but the game's wider appeal is questionable.


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