Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest (PlayStation 4) Review

By Eric Ace 12.02.2017

Review for Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest on PlayStation 4

Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest is a fantasy-based 4X strategy game developed by Wastelands Interactive, and published by Teyon. It takes place in an imaginary world that is ruled over by powerful wizards, with each one connected to the others by portals. It takes many of the basics from a slew of classic strategy titles and combines them into a magical world, which is different if nothing else, for its atmosphere and setting.

Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest is obviously based on the Heroes of Might and Magic series, where there is a leader that gains skills and experience while commanding fantasy-themed monsters. Furthermore, there are some other similarities with the likes of Master of Orion and Civilization in the way cities are managed and exploration. There is a lot of depth here, but often it gets in the way of having fun.

Screenshot for Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest on PlayStation 4

First things first is setting up the hero, and this is likely the best part of the game. There are various factions to pick from which are the usual fare of humans, monsters, and demons. Next is a very involved process of spending skill points learning either passive perks such as getting experience fast, or spells, where there are thirteen different 'elements' of spells to pick from, with each of which has over ten spells within. These range from typical fire and water, to interesting ones like 'biomancy.'

The depth of this, while cool, unfortunately spills over into everything in quite the negative way. The game itself is both extremely simplistic as well as crushingly complex. The over world is explored with various military units, looking for resources, enemies and new locations to set up cities. Unlike the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise, though, there is not hero unit, as the player is omnipresent and in each battle. This is actually a negative, as there was a lot of tactics that simply no longer exist such as having a powerful hero strike deep into the enemy territory, or having cheap scouts to explore the map and so on.

Screenshot for Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest on PlayStation 4

The problem spills over into the battle, which is based on a D20 dice system of damage and evasion. Other than the fact that the graphics are simply just bad, units are hard to tell apart, and there's a camera problem… in other words, battles just are not fun. Like everything else in the here, there are endless controls of spells, actions, skills, but it's surprisingly hard to get to them, and in the end often the best move is just attacking.

The battle zone is big and most units just walk around before actually getting to fight. The difference in fun in this compared to other games in the genre is staggering, despite there not being something specific to point to. Big battles never feel like fun stomps, and close battles feel more cheap and annoying than any sort of fun close call.

Screenshot for Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest on PlayStation 4

Spells are a major part of battle, but they are not balanced at all. This can be demonstrated with a simple example: when one spell will boost a creature's damage by +1, not only is this not inspiring or fun, when there are other moves (all available from the very beginning) that can do 20 or more damage, the choice becomes pretty obvious.

Exploring the map for resources isn't fun either, with everything being hard to tell what exactly is where, and what is useable. Furthermore, given that units can move without a leader, its best to just spread out cheap units to flood to map and quickly find the enemy, than form a huge army and push right up the middle. The computer simply seems unable to stop this.

Screenshot for Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

On paper, Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest looks like it could be interesting, and the character creation is actually pretty fun, but the game on the whole is a mess ruined by unnecessary complexity. Everything, from running towns, to figuring out which units are in an army, is weighed down by a messy interface. Battles, a core part of the experience, are simple and never fun. Despite drawing from a large collection of classic successful titles, this struggles with its own ideas, and does nothing but trip it up and never let the game hit any decent stride.

Developer

Wastelands Interactive

Publisher

Maximum Games

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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