This game is the best and only example of a true Master of Magic successor. I've waited forever for this type of game, and now I can finally play it. Kudo's to Wastelands Interactive to sticking with this game and working hard to bring it to us. Can't wait to play more.
It's a solid MoM successor. If you liked Masters of Magic back in the day buy this game, you wont regret it.
Now if you have no clue what "MoM" meant before you saw these reviews and you're looking for a Starcraft style AAA graphics title this is not the game for you.
I can only recommend this to game to anyone that is obsessed with 4X games and is willing to put up with the flaws and bugs, the sorcerer customisation and leveling up is extremely satisfying as you can truly build your character in the way you want.
Planar Conquest is a fantasy role playing strategy Game (4x). The game makes good use of spell casting, and researching. There is city building and army management, heroes to level, and equip, exploration, and expansion. Where this game differs from most is the emphasis on spell casting, and its use both tactically and strategically. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has me hooked! I do think it is the spiritual successor to Master of Magic.
The AI is strong, and the UI is nice. Graphics are ok (nothing special). There are some bugs that the developers are squashing very quickly. Diplomacy is present, but not perfect (yet). You can modify the initial settings to create a game that suits you: Whether a long epic game, or a short fast conquest.
Let me start out by saying the game is not a finished product. There are still some bugs to work out, some issues to resolve, and some promised features to implement (Multiplayer chief among them)
That said, there's a lot of positives that make those problems worth waiting for. One if that the game is infinitely replayable. You can customize your wizard, your race, your starting spellbooks, and the starting planes, over and over so that every game is different.
Another nice feature is that the combat system features a lot of carry over from the D20 system, so if you're ever played D&D or Pathfinder (or another pc game based on those) you'll recognize some of the stats and underlying mechanics. To-hit vs Armor class, Reflex, Will, and Fortitude saves vs spells, a lot of the spells themselves, and so on.
Speaking of the spells, in my opinion this is where the game really shines. There are SOOO many spells to choose from. Want to rain fireballs on your enemy in combat? Sure. Want to blast them with ice instead? Great. Maybe you don't want to harm your enemy at all, but would rather buff your own troops. Sure. Cast stone skin and improve your armor, or heal your troops to erase damage they've taken. Or more subtle approaches are available too - maybe you want to bring flying units to earth so your minions can smash them? Also an option. Again, the options are nearly limitless.
Planar Conquest is an addictive turn-based strategy game that sees epic fantasy conquest taking place in a surprisingly rich setting. RPG elements abound when you create and customise your character - who is no level1 grunt looking for work at an inn; instead you take the role of a sorceror lord overseeing the founding of their empire. There's a lot to love here - vicious and cunning AI, epic battles of spells and wits, exploring multiple planes of existence. Its only drawback is that it has its sights set so solidly on the old 90's classic Master of Magic, which means it has a more old-fashioned UI. But it's not a hindrance. Overall, this is a very good game.
I applaud the attempt, at long last, to make a MoM-alike that keeps the most important features of the original: You are the big wizard in the tower, too big to be a unit on the map, and your choices about magic and magical resources are the most important choices in the game.
I am among the many folks who would be ecstatic with a simple remake of the original with just higher resolution graphics and the bugs fixed. For years we have continued to play the original using DOSbox, and seen various attempts at the genre fail to remember what made it great.
And on that front, this is a good game. The setup screens had me nearly jumping up and down in my seat, calling my wife (who plays nothing but MoM and Solitaire) over to share the excitement. Basically the same rules, presented nicely at a higher (if still not modern) resolution, with the slightly more sophisticated overlapping spell schools lifted from Sorcerer King and its predecessors.
But sadly, the game is just not playable because of two crucially bad design decisions.
Merely annoying (if you save before every turn) is the bad choice of touch-centric mouse/touch UI. There are no tooltips; to get information on a square you must double-click/tap *with no army selected*. To move an army, you must double-click/tap *with it selected*. This virtually guarantees that you will end up wasting two turns of an army's movement racing off toward some square you just wanted to get info on, and then moving back. The sad thing is, there are many examples of doing this right, where the first tap shows info and a path, and the second tap (not required to be fast enough for a double-tap) confirms the move.
But what really kills the game is the grotesque choice of a busy, not even that pretty and poorly thought out 3D main map display. There is far too much visual clutter and it's hard to tell which objects are significant and which are just decorative or are terrain. This would only be annoying if the view angle were close to vertical, so you could still understand the geography, and so you could confidently know which square you were clicking/tapping. But at the shallow angle they chose, the clutter makes it hard to understand the layout of the terrain and things like borders, and makes it all too easy to click on the square "in front of" the one you want (and i shudder to think how much worse this would be with a tapping finger).
If Wastelands were to re-work this game with a sensible click/touch screen and a simple 2D main map interface (or a 3D one with a high viewing angle and the option to zoom further out), this might be a really great game. But the current horrible UI choices make it unplayable.
SummaryAssume the roll of an all-powerful Sorcerer Lord and lead one of 8 different races to the ultimate victory. Explore multiple planes of existence, raid dungeons, and conquer cities. Expand your armies, cast mighty spells, and summon godly creatures to do your bidding. Fight the enemies in D20 OGL battles.