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Developer: SEGA
Price: $6.99
Version: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Update: 5/25/12, Version 1.1 As though being excellent wasn’t enough of a reason to play Total War Battles: Shogun, SEGA has just sweetened the deal. The developer has just announced that players who complete the campaign will receive a Steam code that will let them download the Sendai Clan Pack for Total War: Shogun 2 – Fall of the Samurai. So by beating the iOAnd supposing even that isn’t enough, a new update for Total War Battles: Shogun will be coming out soon that adds a skirmish mode. This mode will let players jump right into the action against an AI set at a difficulty of their choosing, and grant them access to all of the units from the campaign as well as new legendary units that could very well turn the tide of battle. Allow me to reiterate: everything SEGA releases involving feudal Japan is freaking awesome.

Okay, so there’s bound to be some debate when it comes to SEGA’s track record. Even on iOS. But I consider it an indisputable fact that everything they release involving feudal Japan is freaking awesome. And that most certainly includes Total War Battles: Shogun, despite the unnecessarily long title.

Total War Battles: Shogun is something of a mish-mash of various strategy subgenres. It features base building. It utilizes resource gathering. Maps are (essentially) a straight shot with opposing factions on the left and right edges. Units can be trained, for a price, and can be placed for stationary defense or made to advance. But they can only move forward, so it’s important to have something of a plan before going on the attack as there’s literally no way to retreat.

While Total War Battles: Shogun incorporates slightly simplified versions of tried and true strategy game mechanics, it blends them together incredibly well. Constructing buildings is something akin to a puzzle game at times with various “footprint” shapes to consider when placing them. In fact, this very concept is used as a sort of mini-game that tasks players with placing a certain number of specific buildings to earn bonus experience they can use for permanent upgrades. The game proper is no slouch either. Various units have advantages against others, and setting up an adequate team can make all the difference. And yes, I’ll admit it, watching the tiny Japanese warriors impale each other is amusing.

I’ve had some minor issues with keeping all the various “what does what” straight in my head, though. Thumbnails of units and structures don’t exactly scream “This is a ____,” and this being an iOS game there’s no way for a handy mouse-over description. Tapping and holding on an icon will bring up an info page, thankfully. It’s sometimes tough to remember in the heat of battle, but it’s a very welcome option that turns what would be a major gripe into practically nothing.

I’ll say it again; SEGA does feudal Japan really, really well. Total War Battles: Shogun should most definitely make strategy fans happy.


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