Commuting Cognition: Art of Conquest

What is this?

I’ve never been a big mobile game player, but I ended up working in a mobile games company, so I’ve been trying to expose myself to more games in this market and attempt to gain an ever-better understanding of them. One of the ways I’ve been doing that is in trying out new games, seeing what they do wrong and right, and try to draw conclusions from them that I can use in the future to make our games better. One of the resources I’ve been using for this is TouchArcade (not sponsored), and their columns listing the new iOS games of the week.

This resulted in me playing a lot more new games during my daily bus rides, but I also feel the need to discuss them somewhere and keep a log of my thoughts instead of just internalizing them. So, Commuting Cognition. These will be brief, bus-ride-long thoughts on these games, and should be seen less as reviews and more as first impressions. They also may not be daily, depending on how full the bus is that day.

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Art of Conquest

Art of Conquest is a strategy game, similar to Heroes of Might and Magic but with real-time battles.

Upon starting you get to pick from a series of kingdoms and heroes, with a little backstory for each of them. I usually expect some semblance of plotline when going into a game like this, but here you’re immediately thrown into it without really knowing what you’re doing, and without even so much as a tutorial to the MANY buttons on screen.

At first i thought you followed a linear progression of levels, but in fact you have free movement around the map, tapping on “encounter” icons to collect items or enter battles. For these battles you pick from available units which you collect as you advance, and let them do their own thing against the opposing army. Other than the special skills of your heroes, which you can activate once per battle, the game basically plays itself and you have no real agency that i could figure out, making it pretty dull.

I compared the game to Heroes of Might and Magic and playing this just made me wish i was playing that instead, though i do see potential in a streamlined mobile version. This isn’t it, though. It’s possible that the game improves after a while, as after the fact i watched the game’s trailer and it seems to be a lot larger than the section i played, in addition to the positive reviews it seems to be getting. As a mobile game, however, i feel that if you don’t grab my attention during a whole bus ride then you’re doing something wrong.