Start the Drive on Moscow

By Jean Marciniak 21 Nov 2013 0

Finally it has arrived. We've waited almost a full year for another game from Shenandoah Studio and here it is. Drive on Moscow. Now the first title they released, Battle of The Bulge, revolutionized wargaming on mobile devices. It showed the world - hey strategy wargaming works great on the iPad! Sure, there were other strategy games out there before Battle of The Bulge, but they didn't catch as much attention, because honestly they didn't revolutionize mobile wargaming as Battle of The Bulge had. And since then many developers decided to jump in and start up their own iPad games. Fans of the game couldn't wait for what was coming down the road. Well the wait is over.

So it?s been a year, and the question many people are asking is whether Drive on Moscow is as good as Battle of The Bulge? Let?s find out ?

 

 

PROS

Amazing Map - I have to say the map for Drive on Moscow is absolutely beautiful. It looks great zoomed out but when you pinch in you see such amazing detail; from the wooden planks of the train tracks to individual trees, it?s incredible. What?s more amazing is they change with the seasons. So instead of making one beautiful map, they created four (Clear, Mud, Frost, & Snow) incredible maps. Props for Shenandoah Studios for putting in this much detail.

Weather - Weather is full on in this game and it affects everything you do. It changes the way you play the game and is amazing. During fall it?s the Germans who shine as they plunge deep into Russia and obliterate your fresh, inexperienced forces. But come winter, it?s the Soviets time to shine as the Russian winter beats down the Axis forces, and gives the Soviets the opportunity they need to counterattack. For example, in one scenario I was playing I retreated across a river hoping the river would give me a good defense bonus, but then I realized it was near winter and the river had frozen over which meant the enemy can easily walk across and attack. Had to reassess my battle plans, which is great because it adds a new layer of gameplay strategy to an already great game.

Intuitive Gameplay - They kept the gameplay easy to learn and use, just like in Battle of The Bulge. The learning curve on how to play the game is literally 5-10 minutes. This is a big deal since most casual players don't want to spend 20-30+ minutes learning how to play a game ? they want to jump right in and play.

Historical Information - Shenandoah Studio has packed this game with TONS of historical documentation. So if you decide to learn more about the backstory to Operation Barbarossa, they provide you with pages and pages of in depth documentation. Because I?m a history buff I?m very familiar with this time in history, and was impressed with the accuracy of the information the game provides.

Multiplayer is Great - One of the missing features of Battle of The Bulge was its multiplayer social experience. When playing a opponent in a multiplayer match communication is a key aspect of gameplay. Most players like me use it for taunting the other player, or for congratulating them on a successful match. In Battle of The Bulge the only way you can communicate was by adding a short message into a small text box at the end of your turn. When your opponent logged on to do their turn they would see your message, but have to wait until they completed all their moves, before they could respond. It was a basic and frustrating system. But Drive on Moscow has solved all that. Whenever you want to communicate with the other player you can easily chat on for as long as you like, and never have to deal with the old turn based message system.

Long Term Replayability - This game has a lot of replayability, as you have four scenarios (well three scenario and one long campaign) to play around with. Add in different AI leaders, as well as a multiplayer aspect and you have a game that you can sink dozens of hours into.

 

CONS

Reinforcement & Replacement Unit Allocation - One big feature for the game is allocating your reinforcement and replacement units. This is a necessity as you need to refit your units and strengthen your front line. Unfortunately you can't reinforce all your units only certain ones. So if you have a unit that's on the other side of the map and desperately needs extra troops ... they?re out of luck. This might have something to do with some units being more distant from Moscow, but still it?s a bit frustrating that you can?t reinforce the units you want to.

Bad UI Tweaks - In Battle of The Bulge, the onscreen User Interface showed three important pieces of information, but that information is buried in Drive on Moscow. The first two are Date & Time. The Date & Time in the game shows you how much time you have left in your turn phase. In Battle of The Bulge you can easily look at the top left corner of the screen to get a quick view of it. Now this is buried in the Menu category. So you have to tap Menu now, view the time & date, then close out the menu to return to the game. It adds more work for something that should be easy to view.

The other UI(User interface) tweak they did was the End Turn button. When you wanted to end your turn in Battle of The Bulge all you needed to do was tap ?Commit?. It was simple and easy to find on the main screen. But now it has been replaced with the flag of your nation. So now you have to tap the flag and ?Commit? will then appear for you to end your turn. Again this adds more work for the player that?s not necessary.

I have a feeling they changed this to have more of the in game map displayed on the screen, but honestly the old User Interface never interfered or disturbed my gameplay experience. The changes they made have.

Multiplayer Bug - Sometimes I play both single player and multiplayer matches at the same time. Usually after I finish a turn in multiplayer, I run on over to single player to play a scenario or two. But a few times, while I was in single player mode about to make a move the game ripped me out and loaded my multiplayer match, all because my opponent just finished his turn. I think this is a bug in the game, which hopefully will be fixed with a patch.

Sometimes AI Makes Rash Decisions - While playing some single player games I noticed the AI making some rash decisions. For example I had three Soviet units that were fortified near the gates of Moscow. The AI (German Side) decided to send one infantry unit against my three fortified units. This was a suicidal move, which resulted in that unit?s destruction. I notice this happens from time to time.

 

Recommendations

Option to Extend Scenarios - I would like to see a option added where if a scenario ends I would be able to extend it until all enemy units are destroyed. A lot of times when playing scenarios I'm just about to break the enemy front line but unfortunately the scenario ends the game before I can crush the enemy.

Retreat During Combat - There are times where the enemy outnumbers you and you?re about to be obliterated, instead of your unit fighting a hopeless battle I wish there would be a option where I can force a retreat during combat. The unit will take some damage but it will survive. This also works for the attacker; just in case your offensive is taking too many losses you can force a retreat and salvage your attack group.

Add Weather Status to Main Screen - The weather status icon which represents if there's clear skies, rain or snow going on in the game is buried in the menu section. I would like to see this moved to the main game screen so it's much easier to identify what kind of weather is affecting the game. This will definitely help newcomers to the game as they don't have to constantly open up the menu section to find out what kind of weather they?re experiencing.

 

CONCLUSION

So after hours and hours of playing I must admit that Drive on Moscow is an incredible game. There?s only one other iPad game that I?ve sunk in a equal share of time and that?s Battle of The Bulge. If you were to ask me does Drive on Moscow revolutionize strategy wargaming on tablets? I?d say no it doesn?t. But it?s an evolutionary step forward. Battle of The Bulge set the standard for strategy wargaming on the iPad. Drive on Moscow takes that standard and pushes it even further.

Drive on Moscow is priced at $9.99 and if you?re wondering is it worth it - rest assured it is. I would strongly recommend getting this game whether you?re a Battle of The Bulge veteran, or if you just got an iPad and want to play a really cool strategy game. You won?t regret it.

Purchase The Game - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/drive-on-moscow/id674650763?ls=1&mt=8

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