Art of Conquest is a pretty neat combination of genres — namely RTS, RPG, and a dash of MMO. It’s a veritable mixture of acronyms that mean you’re sure to be lured in by at least one of these elements. Its free-to-play components might put some off and it’s a little slow to start, but it’s still a fairly beguiling bevy of potential.
Don’t expect much of a story here. Art of Conquest is primarily about exploration. You’re working on exploring a strange world, expanding your kingdom, and wiping out any enemies you come across. Exploration is done through tapping on screen and moving from area to area. It’s a form of open world exploration but it won’t seem like it at first. Instead, you’ll feel like you’re moving your little hero around between events. See a plot of gold placed on the ground? Run over it and you can grab it. Similarly, if you see an enemy standing around, you can approach them and fight it out.
Combat has a similar grid style layout. You place your troops down, along with however many heroes you have at your disposal, before they go for it by themselves. Early battles are pretty limited in scope but the longer you play, the more heroes you accrue and the larger forces you can command. Special attacks can be used occasionally which frequently make all the difference. Some battles might simply be against forgettable warriors, but others have you fighting against dragons. Predictably, these require you to be fairly high levelled but it’s a great thing to aim towards.
That’s not where Art of Conquest is at its most interesting, though. Where things get more enticing is through the PvP side of things that’s only introduced after a certain length of time. There you can choose your heroes and troops like before, set a formation, and work out your chosen tactics. Obviously, the benefits are far greater than sticking with AI opposition, plus it’s more satisfying.
There’s more player interaction in the form of the cities too. Each city is controlled by a clan, encouraging you to help one another in a bid to be the strongest. That’s where Art of Conquest feels most like an MMO but again, it’s all down to how you throw yourself in.
Developing your own base is a welcome move too. Sure, it’s a concept you’ve done before elsewhere but when Art of Conquest feels more hands-on, you won’t begrudge your time in training and upgrading troops. The colorful graphics prove more delightful than most other base building experiences too. A steady stream of quests encourages you to pursue a set path, providing you with plenty of rewards and reasons to keep working away at improving your land.
Many of these elements, individually, may sound familiar but Art of Conquest’s strength lies in its ability to combine all of these in a way that feels fairly fresh. This is a game that’s ideal for those short bursts of gaming that mobile gaming can be so good at. Paying your way ahead is possible but it’s not necessary and you won’t feel too corralled into doing so. Simply playing at your own pace works well enough, ensuring that Art of Conquest is the kind of game that’s going to stick around on your phone for a while yet.