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Posted by admin on Mar 29, 2011
Hills and Rivers Remain Review

Hills and Rivers Remain Review

Hills and Rivers Remain is one of the very first games I ever bought on iOS. I was immediately taken with the demo, which showcased fantastic gameplay and deceptively simple mechanics.

Hills and Rivers Remain is a SquareEnix game, an original property separate from either Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. You are a commander in the midst of a four-way war (or a five-way or two-way depending on how you look at it). Opposite you is your best friend, leading his armies against yours. The story is threaded with the implications of evil of your king, of history between the characters, of exigent factors, though these are never really developed and act as more of a buffer between battles.

The battles themselves take place on a giant map with dozens of individual castle, connected by roads. You start with a small number of troops in one castle, as does your enemy, while the rest of the dozens of castles are controlled by neutral forces. You gain more troops by a) Capturing more castles and b) drafting them automatically each turn. You can then delegate armies of any size to head towards any connected castle, where it becomes a mix of a battle of numbers and of the inherent strengths of your commander. If you play as one of the commanders gifted in defense, then your numerically smaller army might fend off a stronger attacker. Because of the exponential increase in your armies, it may seem as though the game is ruled by pure brute strength. However, the AI is particularly intelligent and crafty, often creating feints and massing armies one place only to attack in another, and responding to these same tricks that you make.

There is another aspect to battle: items. Not potions or things like that, but temporary buffs used in combat. Increasing attack, defense, speed of your armies for 5 or 10 seconds can change the sphere of combat. In addition, there are special areas to capture: cannons that damage enemies a certain distance away, fortresses that offer more recruitment, gold mines which temporarily improve draft numbers, and stables which make your whole army faster.

After you beat the 10 mission storyline (the last mission is a brutal three-on-one battle), you get access to free mode where there are a variety of both free and premium maps for your enjoyment, released periodically by Square.

Despite the somewhat untended story and the limited campaign, Hills and Rivers Remain is a unique game of strategy and tactics, with entertaining and challenging gameplay and enough material to keep you playing.

Author: Kit Marlowe

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