The predecessor to Archon:Conquest, Archon Classic, was a good game that was based on classic gameplay archetypes and was stronger for it. We were very much hoping that the sequel could finally win us over fully, and we could declare this a Must Have title. However, the complaints we had with the first game, unfortunately, have not been addressed in the sequel. While there are a few issues that hold this game back from brilliance, it’s still a very good game and one that we heartily recommend– especially if you like chess, but think it could do with a few more monster smitings.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Archon series, battles are played in two different styles. The first is reminiscent of chess. Players strategically move pieces around a board attempting to eliminate enemy pieces. The difference is that when two pieces collide in Archon, a real-time fight ensues, rather than simply removing one of the pieces from the board as in chess.
We suggest that you check out our review of the first game for further details on how this formula works.
The biggest change from the first iPhone iteration of Archon is that the stock chess-board levels have given way to a full story mode, complete with 60 distinct boards that reflect what is happening in the story.
However, this is a change that we felt conflicted about. It’s very nice that the situations are unique, and it’s a good upgrade from the last game. However, many of the levels are overly difficult and often force the player to rely more on luck than strategy and skill.
It sounds good on paper to match one player-controlled character against seven foes who are all more powerful than you, but the reality is that these scenarios are often mishandled. When the margin for error is so small (one lost fight and you’re out) seven battles in a row takes a very long time. Many of these situations will take players up to 10 or more tries, while others are easily beaten on the first attempt.
The upside to this is that load times between matches are virtually non-existent. If you lose, the next attempt is mere seconds away.
Another example of the story mode stumbling in some places is in the first dark side section. Many of these levels feature a character who shape-shifts into whatever creature it is fighting against. This is cool, but it kills the inherent strategy of matching different pieces against each other.
Despite these small complaints, this is a good game with a lot of value to it. Conquest’s four campaigns could easily take up to four hours to complete.
Otherwise, this is essentially the same fun game as its predecessor. The gameplay hasn’t changed a bit, so if you liked the last game you’ll definitely still enjoy this. The graphics and music are also almost identical, though in both cases, that’s not really a good thing. Just be sure to give it a fair amount of time, because as you play, the game opens up and gets better and better over time. Eventually, Archon:Conquest really shows its full worth.