Total War Battles: Shogun Hands-On Preview

Last week at GDC we went hands-on with Sega’s upcoming Total War Battles: Shogun, an impressive-looking real-time strategy game for iOS. PC gamers may already be familiar with the Total War series, but this is a whole new game, with all original levels, and it was built entirely for touchscreen devices. As far as RTSs on iOS go, this one looks like a serious contender.

The setting is 16th century Japan, and the battlefields are divided into hexes. As in most RTS games, you’ll build bases to gather resources, and hire troops to take out all opposing armies. Thanks to the rich setting, the troops you can deploy include samurai, ninjas, archers, and cavalry.

According to the developer, the story mode will take between 10 and 20 hours to complete. The early levels act as a tutorial that slowly introduce you to the gameplay concepts and troops types available. We’re not die-hard RTS fans by any stretch of the imagination, and we found ourselves picking it up rather quickly.

It seems like every RTS has to have some kind of twist to set it apart, and here it’s that your troops can only advance forward. Since they can’t turn around, you’ll need to adjust your strategy accordingly. Unfortunately there’s no online multiplayer mode, but single-device multiplayer is included, and it worked great when we tried it on a tablet that we set down between the two players.

Total War Battles: Shogun will be a universal app, so it will play on iPads and iPhones alike. It will release on the App Store on April 19 and will cost somewhere in the range of $9.99.

Concept art from Total War Battles: Shogun.