Review | Conquest
Format: PC | Genre: Turn Based Strategy| Publisher: Proxy Studios | Developer: Proxy Studios | Release date: 02/10/2010 | Price: $9.99
Leena van Deventer goes on a quest to conquer things in CONQUEST.
WHAT ARE we going to do tomorrow Brain? The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world…. with the help of Proxy Studios and their latest undertaking: Conquest. Ok so it might not have been the exact phrasing from Pinky and The Brain’s script but it darn well should have been. Conquest is an outstanding indie simultaneous turn-based strategy game, with a very familiar structure. A lot of people say turn-based “dominate the world” strategy games are all the same, but not me. No no no. I will not RISK comparing it to other games. For the sake of our CIVILISATION (…. five…) I will stray from drawing such parallels.
Seriously though, it’s very familiar but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It lessens the learning curve and allows you to dive right in. While the seasoned strategy fan will feel accustomed to how things work, it still maintains the ability for a newbie to sit down and understand how it works, that balance can’t be the easiest of achievements. It’s possibly a great starter-strategy game for the folk not too familiar with the genre, a gateway game to the wonderful world of territorial warfare.
Victory is yours in Conquest when you reign over 75% of the cities on the map, made up of a series of octagonal territories. The terrain on these maps differs, usually either being lush grassy tropics, desert plains, or snow-covered wastelands. Each terrain however contains the same features: lakes, mountains, and valleys. You start with your operations box in your top left-hand corner, in which you’ll find access to your Drop Box, Nuclear missile, and Satellites. These are given out at differing intervals, and are your weapons for taking over the world. Your Drop Box contains 4 troopers and 2 tanks, and you start off with 3 of them. The first prong of strategy is deciding where to put them – if you hide them in the mountains, it will be harder for the opposing force to see them, unless they have positioned a satellite nearby. From there you move territory by territory trying to acquire more cities, and battle it out with the opposing force for the ones you both want. As the turns progress you gradually get more reinforcements plonked in your Drop Box, even the addition of jets, able to move 2 territories at a time instead of the single-traversing troopers and tanks.
Officer Pancake reporting, here to crepe and pillage…
Finding out where this opposing force is spawning from (their Drop Box) is a massive advantage, and you do this by sprinkling satellites everywhere all over your map, or using your grey matter to imagine where you think they would put them, then nuking them with no mercy and no restraint. You’re given 20 turns before the game is considered finished, if no one claims over three quarters of the cities beforehand. This keeps each game down to about 20-30 minutes, which is another plus to it being newbie-friendly, it’s not the hours-upon-hours timesink that many may expect of a strategy game. There is single player and multiplayer available, with up to 6 players able to be involved in the same game. The visual style is lush and detailed, with the map being a little bigger than the screen but easily fixed via scrolling either with the WASD keys or edge scrolling with the mouse. Blowing up the nukes has a little mushroom cloud animation that is particularly thrilling and makes you wish you were assigned nukes more often than every 4 turns just so you can watch them explode.
Musically, this game offers more than your standard indie games do, in particular the quality of the voice work in the score. Beautifully haunting singing, along with intense ominously swelling crescendos make it feel like a lot of love has gone into the music in Conquest. It never gets old and it adds to the pressure as the game gets closer to those last remaining turns.
It’s not all roses though, despite really enjoying my time in Conquest (and itching to play right now) there are a few small tweaks that could make it even better. The lack of a pause button when the turns are timed is a bit of a bummer if you have other things occupying your attention at the same time as playing, but I understand how it may negatively affect gameplay to have one implemented – giving people more time to mull over strategy and such, and making single player and multiplayer too different. When you are either victorious or defeated and someone achieves 75% domination, a screen comes up to claim the winner, then there’s this awkward moment when you clear that screen, and suddenly find yourself back in your game, able to move the pieces around. I assume this is to see what happened in that final turn and how you took them out/were taken out, but being able to move your pieces and having to click “end turn” to really end the game feels a little cumbersome. Besides, having the chance to obliterate every single enemy on the map once you’ve won would be oodles of fun, a victory dance of sorts.
These are tiny little qualms though when it comes to the game as a whole. I thoroughly enjoy my time in Conquest, and find the limit on the number of turns to be a highly appealing quality in terms of it’s addictive nature and that drive to play “just one more” before quitting. It’s visually appealing, sounds terrific (how they can psyche me up for a battle and be relaxing at the same time I have absolutely no idea) and the core game play is solid, simple, and easy to execute. You’re really left to your own devices and not in that stranded-alone-in-the-woods kind of way, in the “You’re old enough and ugly enough to look after yourself” kind of way. I can’t stop going back to play Conquest, and I imagine the novelty isn’t going to be wearing off anytime soon. So without further ado, I’m going to buy the game for a bunch of friends so we can get our multiplayer on!
Conquest is available from its official website for $9.99