Review – Autumn Dynasty (iPad)
The Scoop: BulkyPix and Touch Dimensions team up to bring full real time strategy gameplay to the iPad!
The Setup: Set in feudal China, Autumn Dynasty places us in the Autumn Empire, where the legend of the Thousand Sun Weapon and knowledge of firedust has kept the Autumn Empire safe and in peace. But, as tranquility never seems to stay anywhere for too long, the government officials have become corrupt and in expected fashion, the peasants of Autumn Empire have revolted. The campaign takes you through this rebellion revolt as General Li and Scholar Hsu are tasked to suppress the rebellion and get to the bottom of this government corruption.
What’s Hot: If you never thought that an RTS game could work on the iPad, Autumn Dynasty is here to set you straight and tell you otherwise. While it doesn’t offer all of the bells and whistles that you may find in a RTS game on the PC, Autumn Dynasty strips down the RTS genre just a bit to make it work with the iPad’s touch screen and hardware capabilities. Both units and base-building have been simplified, and there’s no need to rely on peasants to gather wood – resource management is done through gold and unit count.
In terms of units, there are only 5 units to choose from: archers, swordsmen, pikemen, horsemen, and catapults. Each unit as its own strengths, weaknesses, and special abilities, and plays nicely into the whole rock-paper-scissors gameplay design, and doesn’t make the gameplay overly complicated.
Selecting units isn’t a complicated process either. Players can select single units by tapping on them, or multiple units by drawing a circle around the group. Once the unit or units have been selected, just draw a line in the direction that you want the units to go. There are also additional buttons that appear at the bottom of the user interface for building, canceling, and using special abilities. Holding the button in displays details of any given command. Simple, effective, and gets the job done.
The graphical presentation of Autumn Dynasty is simply stunning. The environments and units are all done through a traditional Chinese painting style with beautiful scene portraits, which all combine nicely with the storyline.
Speaking of the storyline, the campaign takes players through perspectives of both the empire and the rebellion, and offers a variety of scenarios to keep things interesting and forcing players to make the best decisions with their units and their abilities. From using your units in a stealth/recon manner to the normal destroy anything that moves scenarios, Autumn Dynasty requires you to use each unit to its full potential.
And when you’ve completed the campaign mode, you can dig your finger tips into single player and multiplayer skirmish modes. In both modes, you are pitted against the enemy (human or AI) and must start from square 1, building an army from the ground up with the goal of complete obliteration. Multiplayer is done through Bluethooth (hooray for local multipalyer!) and Game Center matchmaking.
What’s Not: Autumn Dynasty starts pretty easy but the difficult does ramp up considerably, and there is no way to change the difficulty setting. There will definitely be some trial and error on a lot of the latter missions, so both newcomers to the RTS genre and even some seasoned veterans may have a bit of a challenge on their plate.
Editors Note: Version 1.2 has added a novice mode!
To go along with the increased difficulty in later stages, some sort of save or checkpoint system would be a welcome addition. It would be nice to restart from a certain point in battle where you know you can do something different to change the outcome, instead of being annihilated in the campaign and having to start from the beginning of the mission again.
Final Verdict: We have completely enjoyed our time with Autumn Dynasty and predict many more battles to come here at the Level Up News office. Combining stunning visuals and great gaming mechanics, Autumn Dynasty has set the bar for RTS games on the iPad. Autumn Dynasty is a must have for any strategy gamer, and is well worth checking out for anyone remotely interested in the genre.