“Alright, Administrator, it’s up to you now. It’s going to be a difficult road, but it’s a rewarding one. We have lots of units here to command, and we’ve considered their strengths and weaknesses. Controlling them all won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it in the end.”
This could be the mission briefing for Quantum Collapse, one of the latest real-time strategy games to hit the App Store. It also sums up our own experience with the game.
You play as the Administrator, fighting a mysterious group of aliens known as the Haha. The story and presentation is a bit amateurish, and the game has its rough edges. For example, upon booting up, you’re greeted by a nearly illegible title screen. Despite this, Quantum Collapse gets a lot right.
Burn, baby, burn.
The game itself takes a lot of cues from RTS classics of the past like Starcraft, but enough has been changed to make things feel relatively fresh. Tough decisions will be made during the heat of battle, and there are multiple choices offered.
Say the enemy just knocked out a power plant, and you’re using more energy than you produce. Until you build another one, all of your buildings and turrets are useless. You can either tough it out until you can build another one, or you can sacrifice one of your existing power plants for a 40 second power boost that will eventually require you to build two plants instead of one.
Another main concern in Quantum Collapse is the whereabouts and quantity of your gatherers. Gatherers cost a steep 350 credits to produce, and can either transform into a building (at an additional cost) or gather resources. These suckers move incredibly slow, which means you need to plan in advance when building turrets and other structures. While this keeps you thinking strategically, it also slows down the overall pace of the game a bit more than is ideal.
We liked that Quantum Collapse offers plenty of different unit types to create, each with their own strengths and weaknesses and covering both the air and ground. Spells can also be cast that engulf the enemy in flames or give your forces healing powers, among other effects.
However, the main problem holding back Quantum Collapse is the movement control of your units. You must double tap the screen to select their destination, but if any other unit is in the vicinity of where you want them to go, you’ll end up just selecting the new unit instead of moving anyone. This can lead to your army standing around, getting massacred by turrets or other threats.
Stationary units will also get pushed across the map when they’re in the way of moving units. Again, this was most frustrating around turrets. Certain tanks are designed to operate at long range to take out turrets, but if they’re at the back of the group they’ll push all their companions into the turrets while trying to get within firing distance, wiping out half the group in the process.
Still, Quantum Collapse is a solid RTS title for the iPhone, especially for just a couple of dollars. If more features besides the campaign mode make their way into the game in future updates (like a skirmish or multiplayer mode) we’d be even more eager to recommend it. As it is, the three difficulty levels and dozen missions should take many hours to beat. Fans of RTS games should check it out.