Total War Battles
After a long wait, The much-loved series brings its strategy to iOS
The Total War series has been exciting and frustrating power-hungry strategy fans for years, and now those with an iOS device can rejoice as a mobile version of the series has finally arrived.
Total War Battles focuses on medieval Japan, and as such deals heavily with samurai warriors, epic landscapes and diverse climates. As a recipe then this is an instantly appealing game, and this is a theme that continues once you download it and start war-mongering.
The opening sequence of the game sees you having to defend your clan from a surprise attack from supposed allies who have turned against you. It introduces the story, but also serves as a tutorial for the mechanics of the game, which follows a board game-style format. Each battlefield is made up of hexagonal grids, and you must position and deploy your various unit types onto the battlefield, always staying aware that you cannot move them backwards once placed, and they can only attack enemies in front or next to them. This is played out to you in the tutorial where you must fight off an enemy wave before sending your own troops forward for the first time. It captures the battlefield tension of the original Total War series very well, even if the visuals have a more animated edge than the desktop version.
This though is far from a negative, as the way this game looks is one of its best selling points. Having such a diverse setting as Japan means Sega has been able to include stark contrasts to the battle arenas, from lush meadows to snowy mountain villages. Everything that is great about Total War has been streamlined and presented here in a way that is completely new yet oddly familiar.
Of course, Total War has never been about just fighting, despite what the title suggests, and the iOS version is no different in that your success hinges on empire building and good use of resources. As you move through the game, you are given more control of the construction of your village and the resources within it. You are effectively building your war machine, and must fit each part together properly. And although the tap-and-drag functionality has been well integrated into the game, it’s not as simple as just dropping buildings everywhere. Links need to be established in order for them to function. For example, your barracks need to be linked to the blacksmith so your soldiers can get armour. Placing certain buildings near natural resources like stone and water also has its benefits, such as shortening the spawn time on a new unit. All these factors have to be considered when building your village, and getting it wrong means being routed by the advancing enemy as this building work takes place at the start of each major battle. Getting it right is as crucial as organising your troops, as without resources, you will have no units!
What Total War Battles has done then is taken the two cornerstone features of the original game – battle and building strategy – and simplified them perfectly for a mobile game. Add to this the great visuals, which show off the battles brilliantly, and you will soon be hooked. The fact the game is completely story driven is also an interesting addition, and with more than ten hours of gameplay you won’t be bored anytime soon.
Another aspect of the game worth mentioning is the local multiplayer that allows two people on the same device to face off on the battlefield. Just like the main game, you must drag and drop troops into battle, with the aim being to slay your opponent’s general; the only difference is the top-down view.
Total War Battles is advanced enough to satisfy fans of the series that have been craving a mobile version, but is also simple enough to pick up and put down with minimal fuss. Either way this is an epic experience not to be missed.
A desktop series that has been transported to the mobile world brilliantly.
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