Price: $1.99 Score: 7/10 Category: Games

Monarchia: Second Dawn is a building/strategy sim from RebelDwarf, with a Medieval look and some fantasy elements. The story goes that the Krolans (orc-looking creatures) have destroyed the towns and scattered the remaining human survivors. One plays as an army commander who stumbles upon a small group of survivors and helps them to rebuild and stand against new onslaughts.

The play is divided into missions, with generally a certain number of buildings to be completed and workers to be trained, though there are more purely strategy/military missions as well. The variety and difference of the missions keep the game from feeling stale in later levels.

Sadly, to see the requirements for the missions, the player has to pause the game and then click on the objectives button, opening the mission page. The objectives are not checked off when completed, requiring the player to keep checking the objective page and then return to the main map to count buildings and then on to the building screen if more need to be built. This is clumsy and awkward and would improve Monarchia as a whole if it were easily viewable.

One of the major advertized points is the world”s 3D features. The map can be rotated 180 degrees, and can be viewed from above or from the ground level. The default setting is for the world to move as the device is tilted, and online casino the sensitivity is very high. This can be adjusted in the options, however. While it”s fun to watch the workers from their level, it does nothing to advance the game. In fact, placing buildings is more difficult in the rotating, tilting 3D world than on a static game board, and requires patience and adjustment. I found that observing my village from the bird”s eye view was the best when playing the game.

The 3D graphics are average: blurry lines making up blocky buildings, short blocky people, and squat blocky cows. . . When the novelty of playing with the 3D abilities wears off, one can”t help but wish to trade blurry blocky 3D for crisp, easier on the eyes, 2D images. The font is also hard on the eyes; a pseudo Medieval style of font that isn”t well suited to the small size of the iPhone/iPod.

Though there is a tutorial, it goes over only the basics, such as showing how to move the world and place a building. The language of the missions is sometimes obscure. “Train a woodcutter”, for example, on the first mission. One wonders how! Turns out simply assigning someone to cutting one constitutes training them to be a woodcutter, but on the first play it is confusing.

There is no ability to reassign workers to another job, which is quite frustrating. Have twenty woodcutters and need some militia? Too bad. Build more houses and hope the population rises. This is a serious drawback for Monarchia: Second Dawn, and causes missions to take much longer than they should.

The symphonic background music is pleasant, giving a regal and Medieval feel to the game. The noises could use some improvement, however. The bird loop is irritating and the some of the sounds associated with buildings are an audible mess.

Bottom line: There are certainly a few issues that detract from the game play and make it less enjoyable that it could be. Nonetheless, Monarchia: Second Dawn is still a solid building game and should give fans of this genre many hours of amusement.

Monarchia: Second Dawn is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 2.2.1 or later

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