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Mobile Battles: Reign of Swords

For: Mobile

Cutting edge

Product: Mobile Battles: Reign of Swords | Publisher: Punch Entertainment | Developer: Punch Entertainment | Format: Mobile | Genre: Multiplayer, Strategy | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 416KB | Reviewed on: K800i other handsets | Version: Europe
Mobile Battles: Reign of Swords Mobile, thumbnail 1
The clichés of strategy games are more than obvious. There will be number crunching and plenty of text to read and perhaps, most obviously, pages of overly complex instructions to suck down. So if we told you that Reign of Swords is a turn-based strategy game with a heritage that goes back all the way to chess, you'd probably roll your eyes and ready yourself for another worthy review.

Well hang in there just a little while longer as Reign of Swords is utterly fantastic. While you're at first greeted with a daunting array of instructions, it quickly becomes clear this medieval-themed battle game is quick to pick up, and even the meekest of strategy game newbies will soon find themselves developing cunning plans as they lose hours to this near-perfect slice of pocket strategy gaming.

Set in a fictitious but familiar world of knights and realms, most of the action focuses on a simple system of turns. During your go you can move each unit of troops across a two-dimensional battlefield according to their range, also unleashing their particular brand of attack on an enemy. Once you're done, the opposition has its go, and so on until a territory is taken.

While occupying buildings and tricks of the mind add a little spice to the game, the real magic comes in the multiplayer option. As the first title in Punch's Mobile Battles series, Reign of Swords lets you play against other mobile users with impressive fluidity and ease.

You can also take your mobile game to your PC as the account that lets you dabble in multiplayer is interchangeable between pocket and desktop. Eventually you can collect and build a vast army as you advance through various kingdoms, saving your progress to play as and when you wish, either sat at a computer or on the move.

A brilliant website also backs up the mobile game, where you can enter high scores and monitor the weekly updates that are sent to all registered users of Reign of Swords.

Visually Punch Entertainment's game is crisp, simple, and strangely cute for a brawler set in a world of violence and conflict. While some battlefields occasionally appear sparse, they are more usually packed with detail and the backdrops that appear throughout the game have a sumptuous hand-painted feel. Equally, the soundtrack, while far from exceptional, is unobtrusive and catchy, and is supported by some reasonably impressive sound effects.

Still, if you're after action, things might feel a touch slow, and those who have heavily played Advance Wars on DS might feel it's all rather too familiar. But in general even individuals normally daunted by strategy should find plenty here to fall in love with.

So – for most mobile gamers – what this gem offers is a benchmark that other strategy games should strive to equal. Reign of Swords is simple, offers plenty of scope, finds itself supported by a well developed community tool and is bursting with the sort of character so often missing from the genre. This is a game to lose hours with and the chances are you won't regret one second spent in its embrace.
Mobile Battles: Reign of Swords
Reviewer photo
Will Freeman | 2 February 2008
Rarely do mobile developers offer such well-considered strategy experiences. Reign of Swords manages the near unachievable, and is as easy to pick up as it is hard to put down
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