Oct 22, 2012
Price: $1.99 | $4.99
Publisher: ALSEDI Group
Many people who played computer games on the MS-DOS and Mac platforms in the late ’80s and early ’90s have fond memories of the Warlords series. The simple rules made Warlords a great introductory series for new strategy gamers, while the sheer number of units to control added plenty of depth. Warlords Classic brings the first game in the series to the iOS platform with all of its vintage game charm intact. However, a few shortcomings prevent it from being a must-buy; the in-game manual is incomplete and control is occasionally poor. In addition, Warlords Classic includes only one very large map and lacks the ability to add more. Games on the included map can stretch for hours — especially when playing against other people. You may end up walking away without finishing a game because the slow pacing is so poorly suited to mobile devices.
Warlords Classic iOS Gameplay
The basic gameplay in Warlords Classic is simple; tap a unit and then tap the desired destination. If the destination is a city or army, a battle takes place and the winner claims the disputed territory. Each time you claim a city, you can use it to produce new units. Weak units are produced quickly, while stronger units take several turns to produce. Periodically, one of your cities will produce a hero unit. Hero units are very strong in battle and can search ruins and other types of buildings for special items and potential new allies.
Having more units available allows you to claim new cities more quickly in Warlords Classic, so at the beginning of the game it’s likely that you’ll want to pump out weaker units as quickly as possible to keep your empire growing. When you reach mid-game, you’ll change your production to favor stronger units as you prepare for the final assault on your opponents. The key strategic decisions you’ll make include determining when to attack your opponents, when to change unit production and whether to use your heroes to conquer new cities or search for treasures.
Warlords Classic: Long and Shallow
Anyone searching for a deep and engrossing iOS strategy game might be a bit disappointed here, as there’s essentially very little to Warlords Classic — build units, march them to cities and slowly expand your domain. After all, the game is two decades old. It supports pass and play, allowing multiplayer gaming on one iPad (online play isn’t supported). In a multiplayer game, however, simply claiming all of the neutral cities on the map can take hours because of the enormous amount of ground to be covered. If the players find themselves evenly matched, the back-and-forth struggle could take forever before a clear victor emerges. Games against AI opponents proceed a bit more quickly, but you’ll still need to set aside a few hours if you want to finish the game in one sitting.
Both of these problems would be solved if additional maps were added to Warlords Classic. A smaller map would greatly speed games up, giving people a chance to finish pass and play games without devoting entire days to them.
If you loved Warlords and don’t mind only having the default map to choose from, by all means, you should buy Warlords Classic on your iOS device. Aside from some occasional control problems, this is almost exactly the game you remember. Otherwise, wait for the ability to play on a smaller map — or, better yet, wait for an iOS version of the superior Warlords II.