Version Reviewed: 1.2.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
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The word 'wargame' is loaded with connotation. Some think of classic, yet simple, fare such as Risk, while others conjure the absurd complexities of Advanced Squad Leader. I say all of that to say that, in spite of sometimes overwhelming temptation, I'll try to avoid calling World Conqueror 2 a wargame. Its maps and units certainly make it look like one, but it's not. Instead, let's settle and call it a strategy board game - one that leans more toward the Risk end of the spectrum, though not quite as simple.
It's not hard to guess the goal of a game like World Conqueror 2. The title pretty much sums everything up rather neatly. However, rather than having to deal with the entire world map at one time, the campaign gameplay is broken up into a surprisingly large number of smaller battles. Start the campaign playing as the Allies, for example, and players must first contend with the attempted Nazi invasion of Russia in a series of increasingly brutal scenarios.
And make no mistake - gameplay can be brutal. Players begin each skirmish with a predetermined (and pre-placed) number of units, but new units can be purchased and placed based on available funds, and once during each round a player can take out a bank loan to help cover the cost of his private little war. Purchased units get placed immediately, and many can be taken into combat just as quickly. There is an immediacy to this approach that works well and helps move the game along briskly.
Learning the game, however, will take a while, as the built-in tutorial is sorely lacking and in need of translation assistance. The tutorial is, at best, a quick overview of the game - what on-screen buttons do, etc - but it's not very hands-on and certainly not very detailed given the level of nuance available in gameplay choices, so just be prepared to face a learning curve, and be prepared to lose more than a few skirmishes along the way. Chalk it up to what it takes to be a successful general. The English translation is certainly not the worst I've ever seen (THAT would take some doing), but it's awkward, and important information the game tries to provide is often muddled due to poor grammar or overly complicated sentence structures.
The graphics have a suitable muted color scheme, and units are easily discerned, plus the battle animations are a nice (yet more gritty and realistic) tribute to the Advance Wars style of combat. Likewise, the controls are easy to learn and even easier to execute, making the game (once its intricacies are learned) pleasurable to play.
Risk and its sundry clones are great and all, but games like World Conqueror 2 take the genre to a more realistic next level without compromising playability. It's not perfect, but at $2.99 it's worth exploring.