It was apparent from the moment the first Total Conquest trailer debuted at E3 that it was Gameloft’s take on Clash of Clans. I came into it expecting exactly three things: gameplay ripped directly from Clash of Clans, the awesome production values that Gameloft is known for, and an ancient Roman theme. Total Conquest hits these expectations on the head with little deviation. It’s super pretty and it’s fun to play, but hardly any of that gameplay adds to the mechanics already established by Clash of Clans and its predecessors.
If you’ve played anything from Gameloft before, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that the production value in Total Conquest is through the roof. Buildings and units are stylish, colorful, and in full 3D. Don’t get me wrong — I love the charming music and art of Clash of Clans, but Total Conquest’s 3D offers a lot of benefits without any apparent downsides. Character animations are way smoother and everything remains perfectly crisp when you zoom in on the action. Total Conquest also lets you adjust the vertical viewing angle with a two-finger swipe, with full flexibility between a low-isometric mode and a bird’s-eye view. I feel like Gameloft missed a great opportunity to allow the camera to rotate around the map to view buildings from all angles, but being able to adjust the vertical angle is still pretty cool.
Gameplay is almost exactly like Clash of Clans, with the bulk of the game amounting to a re-theming of Clash. Like many of the other clones out there, I could explain almost the entire game to somebody by making direct name comparisons: “Food is like Elixir, Villas are like Gold Mines, Praetorians are like Giants, Legions are like Clans, Glory is like Trophies”.
The point of the game is to build up your base while simultaneously raising armies to raid other bases with so you can steal resources. A single-player campaign has players battle through about 50 different levels that are spread between four different AI opponents. Players can also pay a small fee to find another player’s base to raid. Consistent raids are undoubtedly the best way to boost your resource income. Players can team up to form Legions, which lets them send each other reinforcements that can be deployed during raids without counting against your army size limit. As players succeed in battle against each other, they will gain Glory which is used on the leaderboards to assign ranks to both individuals and Legions.
Total Conquest has a few innovations. Taking a hint from Backyard Monsters (the granddaddy of the genre), a certain defensive tower can store troops who will come out to defend your base when it is being raided. Troops you assign to defense do not count against your army size, but cannot be deployed during an offensive raid either. A temple lets players offer Gold, Food, or Tokens to the gods for temporary blessings such as boosting your units’ attack for 2 hours, your towers’ attack speed for 12 hours, or the Gold Production of Villas for 10 hours. Finally, each unit type gains a powerful skill when they are upgraded for the first time. For instance, the Sagittariuses (archers) get flaming arrows that cause damage over time and the Ballistas get a 30% chance to deal double damage. There are, of course, other subtle additions to the recipe, but these stand out as the biggest. Gameloft’s additions are cool and fit the feel of the game just fine, but they don’t feel significant enough to convert players who are already deep into Clash of Clans.
The monetization is pretty non-offensive, depending on how you use it. It boils down to buying Tokens (which look like crowns and are equivalent to Clash’s gems) with hard money and then deciding how to spend them in-game. The most practical use is to hire more Architects so that you can have more buildings under construction simultaneously. Dropping Tokens on more Architects is a permanent change, while using them in just about any other way is a quick fix: refill your Gold or Food storages, instantly finish troop training, boost production rates at the Temple, or buy extra reinforcements in the middle of raid. Players who want to play completely free will be able to enjoy the game just fine, they just have literally no shot at the top of the leaderboards. Stony ruins slowly generate around your base and if you pay an Architect to remove it, there’s a chance he will find some Tokens in the ruins. It’s a slow grind, but it’s entirely possible to hit the maximum five architects without dropping a penny.
Total Conquest is a great game. It just owes every bit of its gameplay greatness to Clash of Clans. It is definitely worth checking out, with much better graphics standing out as the main draw (Man, I’d love to see Clash in full 3D). That said, I enjoy Clash of Clans’ theme so much more. It’s more than just a personal preference for fantasy over history — it’s that Gameloft took their theme a little too seriously. The buildings and characters have a great cartoony style to them, but they aren’t very imaginative. The unit names are terrible (e.g., Legionario, Sagittarius, Speculator) and the unit types don’t get more interesting than a Centurion on horseback and a handful of well-known war machines. I would have loved to see a more relaxed treatment of the theme that allowed for flying war machines and ground units with larger-than-life armor and weaponry. Bottom line: Catapults are cool, but Dragons are a lot cooler. Maybe you can keep busy with a Roman province while you wait for your Clash army to finish training.
Download Total Conquest from iTunes App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/total-conquest-online-combat/id529829305?mt=8