Real-time strategy games can be fiddly things, with their myriad menus and mouse-centric management. That's why they're generally the domain of PC gaming. Those that do make the leap to iOS tend to do so with more than a handful of sacrifices to appease the touchscreen gods.
Touch Dimensions's Autumn Dynasty comes to iPad with pretty much everything you could want in a modern day RTS, though. It's got a full story campaign, single-player Skirmish mode, and even Game Center-supported online multiplayer.
Best of all, it plays like a dream thanks to some smart design choices on the developer's part.
Let's be civil
Autumn Dynasty takes its narrative and aesthetic cues from feudal China. As you work to save the Autumn Empire from civil war you're tasked with commanding your small army against the enemy uprising.
You have five types of units at your disposal - swordsmen, pikemen, archers, horsemen, and catapults - each with its own specific strengths and weaknesses in classic rock-paper-scissors style. A range of special abilities offer additional depth.
Sending your units into battle is simply a case of circling groups with your finger then drawing the path you want them to take.
Build it and they will come
There's an element of stronghold management, too, with units able to build a range of facilities to help turn the tide in your favour.
Forts produce new units, for instance, while camps increase the number of units you can have in play and farms churn out gold to reinvest elsewhere. There's even a research strand, which lets you focus on improving specific units and skill-sets over time.
It's all brilliantly handled by the game's intuitive interface, which really lets you concentrate on the impressive strategy side of things when the difficulty starts to ramp up.
And ramp up it does. Autumn Dynasty offers a pretty hearty challenge from the off. Enemies pile in from all sides, with bloody chaos rarely more than a few seconds away. It's fraught stuff, and you really have to work for your rewards.
Are you tough enough?
But the challenge is both a blessing and a curse. It's good news for RTS aficionados looking for something meaty to sink their teeth into on iPad, but probably less of a boon for more casual players. This issue is exacerbated by often lengthy levels that, despite a surprising amount of variety in missions, can get fairly exhausting after numerous attempts.
Still, if you know what you're getting yourself into Autumn Dynasty is an easy recommendation. It's beautifully designed, gorgeous to play, and comes with a ton of content. Both online multiplayer support and Skirmish mode add longevity to the game, too, meaning you could easily be playing Autumn Dynasty until the leaves turn brown.
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