Battleplan: The American Civil War iOS

By Jean Marciniak 20 Aug 2014 0

A few weeks ago a new iPad game hit the App Store. This game has a different take on Civil War gaming. For the first time, at least that I?ve seen, we have a Civil War game plays right on a battle map. So if you ever saw a Civil War battle map with rectangles depicting brigades and units and wish you could just move them with the tip of your finger ? well you can now. But the question comes: ?Does it live up to that vision we have??

NB ? the game is also available on PC, but this review is just about the iOS version.

 

Pros

Somewhat innovative controls - Some of the controls in the game are pretty intuitive. Settings like Pinch to zoom come in handy; however, the responsiveness of zooming is a bit delayed and not as fluid as doing it in say the Maps app in iOS.

Nice simple map - The map in this game is not filled with tons of details, but it is simple to understand and work with.

Unit grouping is easy - I can easily select numerous brigades by circling the ones I want. Then all I need to do is direct them where to go. Easy.

Innovative idea - I don?t believe I?ve played another game where they tried to incorporate gaming into a battle map. I like the idea and it is innovative.

Real unit strength value - No more artificial unit values like so many other games mistakenly do. In Battleplan you actually get real unit strength figures, so Brigades will actually have real brigade troop strength. This is a welcome addition to any war game.

Historical units and leaders - I appreciate that the developer went out and included all the names of the historical brigades and leaders that were involved in each battle.

 

Cons

Weird difficulty system - So this is by far the weirdest part of the game. When you start a campaign you have to choose 1 of 3 difficulty settings for the side you choose to play. Unfortunately let's say your half way into a campaign and get stuck on a scenario because it's too hard, well good luck ?cause the only way you can change the difficulty setting is by selecting a different setting and replaying every single scenario. Wouldn't it make more sense to allow the player to change the difficulty setting per each scenario?

Brigade units are too small - For some reason Infantry units are the smallest units on the screen, meanwhile your cavalry and commanding general are displayed by large icons. You figure your infantry brigades would be represented by the largest icons in the game because well there the most used and most important.

Can?t exit game without surrendering - So let's say you started a scenario and halfway through you have to end your game because your lunch is done and you have to return to work. Instead of being able to quit the game and continue it later you have to surrender the battle you?re fighting in order to leave the game, which is weird.

Quick battle scenarios are locked - I don't understand why this game and many others do this. When I buy a game I want to be able to play any scenario I want, anytime I want ? not have to go through a whole campaign so I can unlock scenarios.

User interface needs some work - I'm not too crazy about the user interface. I feel the top portion could have included more useful information and unit detail.

Combat animations need work - When your brigades smash into the enemy a cloud of smoke appears over the units. Unfortunately it doesn't look like smoke. It appears like a grey blob hanging over your units. The animation needs more detail and smoothness

Hard to tell different types of units apart - Honestly I have a hard time telling which units are which. The only reason I can find an infantry unit is because they?re the smallest in the game. The other units are not easily identifiable.

Cant order units that are moving - Be careful because you can't issue orders to any units that are in motion until they get where they?re going - which is a bit annoying.

 

Recommendation

Allow option to remove couriers - So when you issue a order to a unit you have to wait for couriers to leave your commanding General and then make the dash across the field to the unit you want to move. This has its pros and cons. It's more realistic and immersive but sometimes you want to just turn it off because it gets frustrating.

 

Conclusion

After playing Battleplan: American Civil War for a bit I've come to the conclusion this is an OK Civil War game. It's not the best, but it has potential. There are a few things I would like improved, notably all my cons. If fixed I can see this game being one of my favorite Civil War games on the iPad. Until then it's only an OK game.

So question is ... is it worth the $6.99 it's priced at? Unfortunately right now no. Maybe with some fixes and enhancements but I don't think the game is currently at $6.99 territory. Perhaps somewhere around $1.99?

 

Battleplan: American Civil War is available from here:

iOS - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/battleplan-american-civil/id773380636?mt=8

PC - http://store.steampowered.com/app/285130?beta=0

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