Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
The iPad may not be suited for every type of game there is, but two genres that benefit immensely from its expansive touch display are board games and turn-based strategy games. It’s no surprise then that UHR-Warlords, a turn-based strategy board game, excels on the device. Of course the deep, robust, and challenging gameplay helps too.
UHR-Warlords' tale of rival demonic armies in a dark and gritty fantasy world should make fans of pewter figurines feel right at home. It’s little more than an obligatory pretext for the epic clashes to come, but the 12 battles spread across two campaigns are so satisfying players will want even more excuses to fight. Each skirmish plays like a cross between a Fire Emblem-esque strategy game and chess. The goal is to drain the other player’s life force by killing their monsters, or destroying their valuable strongholds at the opposite side of the board.
Every action a player takes, whether it’s spawning a unit, moving a unit, initiating an attack, or deploying one of their randomly selected spell cards, is tied to a substance/possible pocket watch joke called “Uhrkraft.” This resource determines how many moves a player can perform per turn so effectively managing it is crucial for success. Uhrkraft nicely ties the otherwise disparate systems together and opens the door to clever tactics. For example, if players position their units on special tiles, they’ll have more Uhrkraft to spend next round expanding their options.
Uhrkraft management is just the start of UHR-Warlords' mechanical density though. Spells and units also have their own quirks to be mindful of. Lightning bolt spells may do a lot of damage upfront, but lava pools harm over time. Meanwhile, assassins may have low stamina, but their damage is tripled if they stab an enemy from behind - easily toppling even the mightiest giants. There is so much to do and consider that strategies are only limited by the player’s tactical imagination. Whether it’s against the computer or another human in the customizable multiplayer mode, it’s thrilling when two evenly-matched players put their elaborate plans into action.
Players probably won’t be paying much attention to visual quality in the heat of battle, but UHR-Warlords looks and sounds pretty good too. The art style, while a little generic, emphasizes the evil in medieval. And since only 12 units can be onscreen at any given time they each sport carefully detailed models and unique animations. Meanwhile the soundtrack by Norwegian black metal musician Demonaz is a pleasing and appropriate mix of glum and fanciful.
When done this well, strategy games are one of the most deep and rewarding genres out there. Anyone looking for a game they can really sink their teeth into should look no further than UHR-Warlords.