Product Category: Games Manufacturer:Inscenic Studios Where to Buy:Handango (affiliate link) Price: $12.75 USD, a demo is available. System Requirements: Pocket PC 2002 or Windows Mobile 2003, 5 Mb of storage space, 15 Mb of program RAM.
Hard to put down;
Help is a little weak.
Summary: Warring Nations is a great mix of boardgame and turn-based strategy. It takes time to learn the game but once you do, you're in for a lot of fun. Just don't expect to beat this game without working really hard.
Read on for the full review! The Basics Warring Nations is a bit difficult to categorize. It's listed as a turn-based strategy game. But that still doesn't explain what it's like to play. The game is of a cross between Risk, Civilization, and Age of Empires. These are all games I've enjoyed over the years so it was time to give Warring Nations a try.
Figure 1: A game in progress. The purple hordes are ready to crush my teal stronghold.
In Warring Nations, you start off occupying a single territory on the map. You then build an army and attack other territories. Once you've conquered all of the territories on the map, you win. Sounds simple, right? Keep dreaming...
Figure 2: Resource management.
Figure 3: Simplified resource management. Whew!
There is a fair amount of resource management for you. Those of you who aren't fans of the standard real time strategy resource management (wood, food, gold, ore, oil, etc.) need not fret. The resource management in Warring Nations is kept short and simple. You do have gold, food, wood, stone, and armor. But you can turn on "Auto trade" to take care of food, construction materials, and excess armor. I turn on all of the options except for selling redundant armor. When recruiting forces, you need armor and gold. Depending on your character's trade skills, other players, and free lands available, the prices of goods fluctuate.
Warring Nations is a very complex game. Besides feeding your people, building castles, and recruiting an army, you also need to keep your citizens happy. If you don't leave enough guards in each territory, they will revolt and you'll lose that land. The interface makes it very easy to keep track of these impending dangers. If you see a "warning" icon, you know you have lands ready to revolt.
War OK, back to war. After you have your affairs in order, it's time to attack. Or is it? You can scout out your surrounding lands to see what you're up against. It will cost you though. Especially if your spying skills are weak. Plus if you attack a land which is occupied by your native country, you may not need to fight. If your status is good, those people will join you instead of fighting. This is a great way to build up your wealth without risking the lives of your hard-earned soldiers.
Figure 4: Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!
Battles are lot of fun (if you're on the winning side that is). You can choose to either view the battle or not. If you watch the battle, you get a nice overhead shot of the battlefield and your soldiers fighting it out with your enemies. If a castle is involved, you'll see your soldiers run up and attack it. Very Monty Python-ish. The full screen battles are nice but they slow the game down. I only watch them occasionally.
Figure 5: Winning the game.
You have won the game when you have smote (yes, smote) all of your opponents. Defeating them involves cutting off their army from their supply chain, then moving in for the kill. If your forces are strong enough, you'll win and your opponent will vanish. Do this for the rest of your opponents and you win the game.
Are You Up to the Challenge? It's refreshing to see such an involved game for the Pocket PC. I've been playing this for about a month and still can't put it down. Games can last for hours (or days depending on how much time you dedicate). There are four difficulty settings: Trivial, Easy, Normal, and Hard. I have not been able to win on the Normal setting yet. This is one of the hardest games I've ever played on my Pocket PC. Despite the difficulty, it's still a lot of fun. I actually like that I can't win on Normal yet. Each time I play, I get a bit closer. One of these days, I will beat it on Normal. Then, it's on to Hard.
Figure 6: Starting a new game.
When starting the game, you get to choose the game type (one or two player). You then pick your character. In the initial game, there are 15 different characters. Each one has his own strengths and weaknesses. Next, pick your map. You can choose from "Medieval Europe" or "Fantasy Land". Both are unique and have their own challenges. If those options aren't enough, you can even choose "Random resources" to make the game a little more fair.
Figure 7: Landscape mode. Looks great, eh?
Visually, this game looks great. It's colorful and loaded with information about your status. Most of the menus can be turned on and off at will. This really helps you plan your next move. You can play in either portrait or landscape mode. As impressive as landscape looks, I found myself using portrait more often. There's a lot of information and portrait just seems to give you more room. Landscape does include a nifty little mini-map that is pretty handy though.
Extra Features Since I started my review, a Medieval England add-on has been released for free. I'm glad to see this addition. It makes the game even better. Inscenic promises more add-ons in the future. This really adds to the replayability of the game. The two maps that come with the original game are fine but might get a bit boring after a while. With the add-ons, you will have plenty to keep you coming back for more.
Figure 8: Defeat. Get used to this screen.
The Website for the game has a manual that you need to read before getting serious about playing. Even then, you'll need to play a few times to get all of the nuances. It's not that difficult to learn, it's just a bit more complex than your average turn-based game.
OS Integration Warring Nations integrates well with Windows Mobile 2003. If I turn off my Pocket PC in the middle of a game, Warring Nations game saves my game and exits. You can only have one game at a time. When you run the program again, you're taken right back to where you left off. Alarms also go off properly during gameplay.
The game has good sound effects but no music at this time. As with most Pocket PC games, I turn off the sound so I'm not a fair judge of the sound.
Conclusions Warring Nations has quickly become one of my favorite Pocket PC games. It's complex, challenging, and most of all, fun. If you're looking for a deep strategy game, give Warring Nations a try.
I have been playing this game for about a month or so and I love this game! Sergei and company are also very open to suggestions from players and the game's replay value is very high. As the reviewer already stated, this game is very hard to beat on anything above the Easy setting.
In fact, I have only beaten it once on Easy and never on anything higher than that.
This is a great game. I bought it on the strength of this review, and have since put a few hours into it. This game is easy to play, and strategy becomes appearant durning gameplay (when you see how you lose, you learn how to win)
I can see myself waiting for something in the future lane, bus, movie, speeding ticket: and playing a game of this. Lots of easy enertainment!