Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
The App Store covers numerous different genres in terms of what games are on offer. There's something for all tastes out there. What's lacking however is a killer MMO. Sure, there's Order & Chaos Online which does an excellent job but variety is good. More options are always welcome. This is precisely why the presence of Conquer Online, an already popular free MMO for the PC and Mac, on the App Store could be the change we all need.
Except it's not. The potential is there and the large fanbase will no doubt be happy. For newcomers though, this is a game in need of some work before it can rival Order & Chaos Online. On the plus side, the only commitment required to play Conquer Online is that of time as it's a free to play game.
On the surface, Conquer Online sounds an unbeatable package. Six different playable classes with a plethora of different skills, different weapon styles and up to 140 levels to attain sounds suitably impressive. Other Ultima Online style additions such as the ability to build and decorate houses to live in and socialize with friends adds to the value.
The problem is that none of this has been optimized for the iPad. Controls simply swap the mouse pointer for a finger tap which doesn't always work out for the best. It takes a little while to truly adjust to moving around in such a manner. This isn't helped by the fact that tapping an option on one of the many, many menus on screen can sometimes inadvertantly cause the character to move to that spot. That's one of the other problems. There are a ton of menus all too happy to obscure the UI in a way that I'm sure worked well on the PC but suffers with the limited iPad screen space.
While I'm being cruelly negative, the opening sequence of the game that masquerades as a tutorial is pretty tedious. It also doesn't make as much sense as it should. I still found myself having to consult the help section (which opens in Safari) to decipher a few things. On a device that's known for offering so many games that anyone can pick up and play, Conquer Online stands out in the bad way for going against this idea.
That's a lot of negativity for one game. Fortunately it isn't all bad. While Conquer Online needs work doing to it to make it more user friendly for iPad owners, the groundwork is there. Persevere through the dull tutorial and the game opens up into an enjoyable MMO. Focusing mostly on loot hunting and killing anything that moves, single player action is quite akin to Diablo or Torchlight. More interestingly is the PvP system which works very well. No doubt even more so with an ever growing community. It's enjoyable to go up against other real players and this is where Conquer Online redeems itself a little.
Like a lot of MMOs, Conquer Online needs a few more patches until we see precisely what it has to offer. I'm hopeful that things like the unwieldy tutorial and slightly cumbersome controls will be sorted in the future.