Version Reviewed: 1.02
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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The Lords of Midnight is a tough game. It doesn't look it on the surface but as someone who has spent the past 20 years trying to finish it, I can confidently say it'll take a while to complete.
The iOS version of a 1984 ZX Spectrum title from the sadly deceased Mike Singleton, players take the role of the Moon Prince Luxor, his son Morkin and a band of other heroes, in their quest to defeat the evil Doomdark and generally save the land of Midnight. It might not be the most original of plots but its implementation is quite unique, even by today's standards.
Working on a day by day basis, players control each of their team separately. The land of Midnight is huge, once upon a time requiring the use of a hand drawn map to truly figure out where things were, and it's wise to split up the team. As each member explores the land, they discover special weapons, monsters and allies to recruit.
This form of recruitment is vital for one method of completing the game. Yes, there are multiple ways to finish the game. Players can either get Morkin to sneak into Doomdark's land and steal the Ice Crown, thereby destroying such evil power, or they can vanquish evil the old fashioned way and have a huge and bloody war. Or, ambitious types, can pursue both objectives at once.
It's a hugely imaginative game, thanks to such features, and there's plenty of satisfaction to be gained through recruitment of new forces and armies. It's far from simple, though, as one bad fight can easily result in a team member's demise. Given that players have no direct control over fighting, other than waiting to see what happens, it can be a frustrating experience at times.
Many in-game days can pass without achieving a huge deal, merely exploring the surroundings and attempting to get one's bearings, but it hardly feels like a slow game. A lot can change depending on where one explores and The Lords of Midnight feels distinctly organic because of this.
Easily replayable due to the potential of adjusting so many different tactics, The Lords of Midnight is a bit of a bargain at this price. Its looks are typical of the 1980s but it somehow works here, displaying just enough without appearing too dated. A screen full of soldiers is a genuinely imposing sight, even now.
Do expect it to take some time to master though. The interface, while revamped for iOS, isn't the most user friendly and can be confusing by itself. That's without the fact that The Lords of Midnight is like nothing else out there.
Persevere, though. It's one of a very small handful of games that I would recommend wholeheartedly. I've yet to see such an impressive amalgamation of war gaming and the RPG genre, even after all these years. Just don't expect an easy ride.