Review – Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest (Switch)

Sometimes developers make some incredibly risky and questionable choices. At times these choices pay off and other times, not so much. There are a few occasions however, that the decision in question is downright insane and infuriating to the players. I gotta say, Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest is definitely a game that falls into the latter category.

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The area around your starting city always seems to look roughly the same.

A brief history of this game; Planar Conquest is a game released by Wastelands Interactive. Before now, the game had been released on iOS, Android, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. So basically everything besides the Switch, by years. The Nintendo Switch is a decently strong console, not as strong as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, but definitely stronger than this game gives it credit for. It seems more than likely that this is just a port of the mobile version. It certainly looks like it, at least.

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Just one of many bare looking areas.

Planar Conquest is a 4X game, meaning explore, expand, exploit, exterminate. In terms of game modes, you’ve got a single player mode, which is much like Civilization in a sense. You have a city, build up the city and train troops, then move out and conquer others. If you lose your city and your troops, you’re out of the game. There are six sorcerers to pick from, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, but none seemingly better than the other. The overworld is clean, but having absolutely no ability to move the camera outside of zooming in and out can make it quite difficult to tell what some spaces are, if there’s a city there, or anything else in front of it. All in all, this part of the gameplay is basically a much slower Civ-clone.

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A dhimmon, just an unnecessarily tough enemy you can encounter on your first turn or your 1000th turn.

The battles in Planar Conquest is much different from Civilization though. This is a turn-based strategy Fire Emblemstyle clone. Characters have set spaces they can move and you can see damage and accuracy before making any attacks. I will warn you now, do not play this in handheld mode. The amount of eyestrain it takes to read some of the numbers and make sense of everything is incredible. If you don’t want to go through this, you have the autobattle option. The autobattle system doesn’t let you see what moves were made, you just see the outcome. From my experience in testing the autobattle system, your characters deem suicide to be the best solution. Even in battles where you’re strongly favoured and it would seem you can’t lose, things will go wrong. It’s better to just spend the time going through the battle yourself.

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Even with so much to work with, lava, molten ground, buildings, ect., everything still looks flat.

Two very conflicting elements that Planar Conquest has, though, are the graphics and the music. The world of Planar Conquest has a ton of different landscapes, from forests to mountains, deserts to volcanoes. All these different areas offer so much to work with and yet, everything seems so flat and two dimensional. The sea and lava just look like different coloured textures of grass or sand. Nothing necessarily indicates that you can’t move your characters onto these spaces outside of the universal rule in video games that “blue means water”. On the flip side though, one saving grace is the music, while the Planar Conquest OST is probably something most people will not go out of their way to listen to, it elevates the senses and the music matches the terrain you’re in. From upbeat battle music so something more soothing while on the sea, the music makes the game feel more 3D than the 3D graphics do.

Planar Conquest was a tough play on Switch. Being a fan of these styles of games, this one brought nothing new or interesting to the table. The sorcerer gimmick made no real impact on the game and every other aspect was dry compared to other games of the 4X genre. If you have any need to play Planar Conquest still, maybe you’re a big fan of the series, it may be a wiser choice to play the mobile version. It looks the same, plays the same, and is much, much cheaper.

 

Graphics: 3.0

A game made for the Nintendo Switch should look good in handheld mode and great when docked. Instead, this looks okay when docked and bordering on intolerable when in handheld.

Gameplay: 3.0

It’s a 4X game, there’s no denying that. Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest seems to rely mostly on its six sorcerer gimmick than it does making the rest of the game outstanding.

Sound: 5.0

Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest has a decent soundtrack. Nothing to write home about, but something that at least matches the game for the most part.

Fun Factor: 2.0

As someone who primarily plays games in handheld, this was a tough one to want to play for any span of time. Docked was okay for an hour, but that’s about it.

Final Verdict: 3.0

Worlds of Magic Planar Conquest is available now on iOS, Android, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Worlds of Magic: Planar Conquest was provided by the publisher.