Monday, February 10, 2014

IOS Spotlight #48: 137 BC

Title: 137 BC
Developer: GamerNationX
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $4.99
Strategy games have found a nice niche on IOS; from Autumn Dynasty to Ace Patrol, it's a thriving genre. 137 BC is the new addition, and while it is flawed in some aspects, it's excels in others, delivering an experience with great potential and promise.
Set in the titular year, 137 BC places the might of Rome under your command in an invasion and siege of Gaul. I think that historical premise was what made the game appeal to me so much, as I have a love for history and non-fiction, and directing legionnaires was just more compelling than other units seen in other games. As for the game itself, I think it's best to discuss its flaws first and the most critical flaw are the clunky controls. Dragging units onto the field, tapping where you want to go, trying to select multiple units can be imprecise and more often than not, I was moving the camera around or making units go in the wrong direction. Also I found the UI unclear, despite the How To Play messages; there was gameplay aspects and mechanics that were hard to figure out.
But for its flaws, 137 BC also does many things right. The core gameplay is strong: multi-day siege where you breach walls with ladders and smash through gates with rams, or take out archer towers with catapults and your troops close in on enemy fortresses as flaming arrows rain down above. The atmosphere is great as well, capturing the brutality of ancient warfare. The battles are bloody, with blood and crushed corpses littering the ground when a catapulted stones rolls through your legion and your decimated forces flee. You can zoom out to see your unit icons moving into position, or zoom in to see your legionnaires pushing their catapult and firing arrows.
Between its campaign and sandbox mode, 137 BC offers a wealth of content, with deep RTS gameplay. The control issues are a negative, but the developers are aware and listening to feedback. I believe the game's current polish and its potential to improve makes it an experience worth playing. You can purchase 137 BC for $4.99.

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