Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hills and Rivers Remain

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Hills and Rivers Remain is a real time strategy game by Square Enix. $6.99

Hills and Rivers Remain plays much like a game you have probably seen before. If any of you have played Castle Warriors or Galcon you would know how to play this sort of game. Now the question is asked, how can this game stand out from the pack and justify it's high price, especially when rival games are priced a lot lower.

There were a few things that I managed to pick out of this game that the other ones didn't seem to have. For one there is a stronger story to why you are fighting and why the battles are taking place. Square Enix like putting a strong storyline behind their games and they have managed to do so with Hills and Rivers Remain. The other thing that came out in this game is that they have used the size of the screen to advantage, making it quite easy to scan over the whole playing field. This gets very handy in later levels as if it was hard to see quickly and effectively who is being attacked, you would find yourself in a difficult situation.

My first impressions of this game is that it doesn't look very good. There were two reasons why I thought this. The first was because the mission one is set in a dirty brown location, not being the most beautiful place I have seen. The second is because the game starts fully zoomed out so you get a view of the entire playing field. There is a bit of detail lacking in this view but I found that this changed as soon as you zoomed in.

When zoomed in the whole game changes with lots of detailed scenery and the real effect of the game is brought out. There are a heap of nice textures and detail put into the scenery while the fight scenes look a lot better. Being zoomed in looks better but you can't keep it for too long as you have to multitask multiple areas of the map. It is a nice option to have though if you want to use it.

The game runs smoothly on all devices, with no lag or crashes what so ever while playing the game. Instead of having some 3D graphics like in Castle Warriors, Square Enix has given us decent graphics while they focus more on the gameplay itself.

Hills and Rivers Remain has been created so anybody should be able to pick this up and play straight away. All the controls are by using the touchscreen and touching your settlements. When you touch one of the settlements you have under your control you can choose how many soldiers you want to move and in what direction. Double tapping a settlement will make it your base so soldiers will be spawned at that location.

It is all very simple to do and anyone is able to do it. The controls have been kept very simple so that you can spend all your attention on the strategy of the game rather than mucking around with moving soldiers etc.

The aim of Hills and Rivers Remain is to eliminate all other enemies so you are the last one remaining on the board. This is done by moving soldiers to attack your opponents settlements. They then go into a fight and the biggest number of soldiers will win, either keeping the settlement or taking it over. This sounds pretty simple but if you focus on one area for too long your enemies can gather a big force somewhere else on the map and you could then be cornered.

There are a heap of levels which quickly get challenging for the casual gamer. Each level has some sort of story behind why the battle is taking place and all of them are loosely linked together. While it might not be much it gives the game a bit of meaning and reason why you are playing it.

There are two game modes, Story and Free play. Once you win a level in story mode it becomes unlocked in free play. Free play mode gives you some customization of the game so you can play the level as a different character for example. You can also choose where the players start out on the map and how many opponents there are. This is a nice mode to play around with but I believe a local multiplayer mode would have been better.

You can send soldiers out as much as you want given that you have some, but the game is based on Turns where you get more soldiers after each turn. This is more of a real time strategy game as the battle doesn't stop. When you send soldiers out they will pass opposing soldiers coming at you, so it is best to leave some soldiers at home to prevent an attack while you are away.

This is quite a fun game that requires a good strategy if you want to be successful at this game. Most users will find it challenging and quite a lot of fun as you repeatedly try to beat some levels. There are some slight impressions that this is like the Final Fantasy series, mostly what the soldiers look like.

Hills and Rivers Remain is a good title that will be loved by fans of Strategy games. The graphics and sound are great and go with the game style quite well. The only thing that may stop you buying this game is the price. At $6.99 it costs more than Castle Warriors and Galcon so people may prefer to buy them instead of forking out to get this.

There are a heap of levels which I believe must equal why there is such a high price. If you aren't sure whether this is the game for you I strongly suggest you check out the lite version beforehand. I'm not much of a strategy gamer but I enjoyed this title while I could still win.

Gameplay- 8/10
Graphics- 6.5/10
Controls- 8/10
Overall- 7.5/10

I would recommend this game if you enjoyed- Galcon

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Thanks- iPhone_Reviews


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