Worlds Of Magic’s description had me instantly intrigued to try it out thanks to the fantasy world and strategic turn-based combat. Unfortunately, the game just doesn’t deliver due to tedious tasks and unnecessary micro-management, mixed with a few frustrating UI features.
The first thing you will do when you start up the game is the tutorial. It will teach you how to do some of the basics such as construction, training units, researching/casting spells and basic combat. It eases you into the game but sadly misses out on a few fundamental elements. Most notably the importance of city building. You start with one city, so I went into my first game with the intention of building an army for that city and having a good selection of buildings. It turns out that doesn’t work. There are resources on the map that improve food and construction in your city, provided they are in the confines of your walls. You can manage your workers and shift them around to increase certain resource output at the consequence of decreasing another. However, you need a balance so you are limited. For this reason, you are urged to build more cities.
The city walls aren’t expandable, which again pushes you to build more cities to increase your resource output. Cities have to be 5 tiles away from the centre of other cities which also means you’re starting city could have a rare resource one tile out of its walls that you can never use, ever. I don’t mind the strong emphasis on building a lot of cities but it would be nice to have more options to improve said cities and upgrade buildings.
Also of importance of the tutorial is the battle you get to take part in at a monster camp with a single low-level monster inside. The turn-based combat is great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s strategic and can feel quite rewarding when you take down statistically better units with your own. Of course, there are many, many unit types with unique looks and abilities. These unit types include orcs, dragons, skeletons, giants, ghosts, insectoids, elves and well you get the point. There are a great selection of units which are also split into factions.
Back to this first battle. It’s a good step into the combat and is explained in great depth, all positive really. My issue here is how different the monster camps are out of the tutorial. Instead of a single hell hound the monster camps around your starting base contain the likes of a couple giants, a dragon, six orcs, some witches and Satan himself. I kid of course, but that doesn’t fall far from the truth. Your starting force of just a few units isn’t enough to start taking monster camps…which actually seems fair. You are given enough to scout and then should train more yourself. I tried this, but it was still near impossible to beat monster camps at an early stage in the game.
Sadly it is difficult to get into combat (successfully) until the mid to late game. Most of the early game is about building up your empire and discovering the locations of other factions (up to 7 in a game.) Once you have obtained a large army and built many cities, you can finally start taking monster camps. Which tend to give you rewards that would have been useful early in the game. They do also give your units experience, however, which is genuinely really useful. To conclude the combat side of things: The combat itself is great, I’m a fan of strategic, turn-based battles and Worlds Of Magic does it well. Personally, I would just like to see some lower level monster camps to add something more interesting to do in the early game.
Let’s talk about the graphics and style. As you can see from the pictures strewn throughout this review it’s no graphical marvel, but honestly it looks good. The animated style and somewhat “old-school” graphics are genuinely really pleasing to look at and a great fit for the game type.
I believe it’s about time I bring up a few more of my pet peeves, whilst each issue may be small, they do really start to build up. Units have a banner above their heads which displays their faction, nice and simple, a useful addition really. The issue here is that you can stack your units. For example, you have 8 archers on the same tile, however, they only physically appear as one archer on the map. You have to click on them to bring up the additional information and discover that they are in fact 8 units. This means it can be difficult to quickly gauge how many enemy units are heading straight for one of your cities. Yes you can click on them and it will tell you, but why not add a number to the banner already above their heads? It would instantly eradicate a menial task.
Next is moving your units; on your turn your units have movement points which, well they use them to move. After you’ve moved, if there’s nothing more your unit can do or interact with it seems almost instinctive that they would automatically deselect. They don’t. Again I know it’s small but there are hundreds upon hundreds of turns in a game and when you’re consistently trying to move a unit who can’t do anything, it gets a little frustrating. The city and unit menus both contain many statistics and if you hover over some you get additional information, but if you hover over others you get nothing. A little more consistency would be nice. Certain stats are abbreviated and quite frankly I didn’t have a clue what some of them meant. When these were the ones with no additional information it made it quite difficult to deduce what’s important and what’s not.
Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest PS4 Review
Yes, I've been very critical of Worlds Of Magic: Planar Conquest, however, I do not think it is inherently a bad game. Wastelands Interactive have their heads in the right place and all the groundwork is there to make this a truly fantastic game. Disappointingly that just hasn't happened yet. Perhaps a delayed release to smooth out issues would be of value to them. That being said, if you can grind through the early game and forgive its flaws you might just grow to love Planar Conquest for what it is.
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