Autumn Dynasty Warlords Review
- Beautiful watercolor style
- Deep, yet accessible strategy
- Controls well even on small devices
- Light tutorial may frustrate those unfamiliar with strategy games
- Drains your battery quite quickly
Autumn Dynasty: Warlords is a great example of how to distill complex strategy concepts into pure mobile fun.
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There is a fine balance in strategy games between accessibility and depth. Make a game too easy and it won't hold your attention. Make it too deep and it becomes impenetrable to all but the most dedicated fans. Autumn Dynasty Warlords, from Touch Dimensions, strikes this balance perfectly.
This is a particularly impressive feat, as even with the tutorial turned on, the game does little to hold your hand. Bar a few brief messages outlining the basic mechanics and interface, it leaves it up to you to develop your own strategies.
The goal is simple: conquer feudal China, and put and end to civil war by uniting the people. To do this you must expand your empire by fair means or foul, befriending or defeating enemy warlords as you see fit.
Building cities is the key to success. These turn-based sections allow you to spend as long as is needed planning expansions to your territory. Each improvement grants access to further advancements and unit types. Though this may not be the most thrilling element of the game, collecting the money you make from successful cities is rewarding in its own right.
After your city is established, it is time to determine how you want to expand your province. Intuitive touch controls allow you to use commander units to infiltrate opposing cities, and conduct espionage or diplomacy depending on your mood. Both techniques proved satisfying when successful, and crushing when not - a sure sign we were well invested in the war.
Once battles are initiated the game switches to real-time. A selection of swipes – represented by beautiful Chinese watercolour brush strokes – guide each of your squads. The action is surprisingly easy to follow, especially given the amount of units and interaction.
Victory is all about using the right troops for the right task, with a rock-paper-scissors mechanic dictating each unit's effectiveness against others. If you are unfamiliar with this system then this can be confusing, but the feedback given quickly allows you to work out where tactical changes have to be made.
These layers of city building, expansion, and combat work brilliantly together, making Autumn Dynasty Warlords an excellent, uncompromising mobile stategy game.