Red Conquest! in Review – The redskins are coming, the redskins are coming!

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Blue Defense and Blue Attack! have already earned their rightful place in the iPhone games Hall of Fame. Having been brought to the platform by a small dev team which featured original graphics style and excellent gameplay, they have quickly found their fans and have even seen their games shoot up the best-seller charts. And now Cat in a Box Games have released a sequel/prequel to their earlier titles, one that allows us to look at the conflict from the other side – and in the form of an RTS no less!

Red Conquest is not exactly a classic RTS game. While it has most of the basic features, it has quite a number of its own perks, starting with an original interface. The story follows the conflict as seen from the side of the Red, a race of telepathically enabled aliens with a hive mind. Kind of like space bugs. Though the story is slightly confusing, it seems the Red have actually started to advance on the Blue thanks to a Blue character in a coma, who unconsciously called to them telepathically.

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But it’s an RTS game, right? So we’re not exactly here to talk about the story! We’re here to talk about waging war! Red Conquest offers us a full list of features – from collecting resources to building units to destroying the enemy. You start of each level with a base ship and a few others. The base ship can build a foundry (unit to produce other units), harvester (gathers resources), carrier, cruiser or fighters. One of the more interesting aspects of Red Conquest are the fighters – each and every ship has an escort with them, though only the base, foundry and carrier units can build them. They can later transfer them to other units to complement their squadrons. The only units with direct attack capabilities are cruisers and battleships (the latter can only be built in a foundry). And the resources are collected by the base ship and harvesters from asteroids.

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So, we’ve covered the pre-war basics. Now on to defeating the enemy! And here Red Conquest is a bit of a disappointment. There is little tactical depth in here. The fighting boils down to building as many ships as possible, outfitting them to the max and advancing on the enemy. You can’t even manually assign a target – the ships automatically choose one of the nearby Blues to attack. With just 3 types of combat units available – there’s little else you can do.

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One of the most advertised features of Red Conquest is the interface. And it indeed is original. All events are highlighted on the top left and buttons with commands like build-all and select-all are found on the bottom. If you tap-hold a unit it will display a circular menu with commands specific to it. All of this intends to make controls easy and intuitive. Unfortunately the developers may have been over ambitious in this regard. If you think you can just tap and drag a unit to move it – forget it, you’ve got to enter a special mode first. The select-all icon is great, but to get to the point where you actually can order them to move requires 3 additional taps. And in the heat of battle it’s almost impossible. I agree that if you are able to master the controls they end up to be very useful, but being so unlike any we’ve grown accustomed to in the past, I personally found them at times counter-intuitive.

The graphics in Red Conquest follow the same style as in their previous games and look very nice, though it’s quite hard to understand which of the Blue units is which. The performance is flawless on my 3G and that’s the most I can say about it.

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As a whole package, Red Conquest is a solid and fun full-featured RTS. Cat in a Box Games have done their best to squeeze a full-blown game in the itty-bitty iPhone and it works well for the most part. Despite the issues I have with the controls/interface, it is still one of the better Real Time Strategy games on the iPhone. Provided you manage to master the controls, it will bring you hours of enjoyment, both in singleplayer with the campaign and challenge modes and in multiplayer over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. And if you’re a fan of Blue Defense and Blue Attack! as well as RTS games in general, you should definitely consider adding Red Conquest to your app collection.

With this I declare Red Conquest officially touched!

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App Summary
Title:Red Conquest!Developer:Cat in a Box Games
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$3.99App Size:9.2 MB
  • The missing link between Blue Defense and Blue Attack!
  • Original stylish graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Powerful original controls
  • Easy-to-get-lost-in controls
  • Short campaign
  • Only local multipayer

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