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Swords and Soldiers is not just a fun tactical strategy game presented as a side scroller, but it's also a moving piece of art. If you have an iPad, you should get the HD version for $4.99 just to see the visual capabilities of your tablet come to life with the full screen animations and wildly colorful palette. Otherwise, you can get the iPhone/iPod Touch version for just $2.99. Both have all the same features. Here we will review the game and its features, then go into some basic gameplay strategy to help your troops on the battlefield.
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The screenshots of this game make it look like a simple side scrolling action title where you just mash buttons and attack, but it is nothing of the sort. Instead, it's a real time strategy game presented in a scroller format, but winning the game involves lots of tactical decisions, like knowing what type of units to put against enemy units, plus the obligatory resource management. It uses a very effective attack/defend mechanic where you have to make some units work in pairs or groups to maximize their effectiveness, and this leaves it up to the player to figure out how to best make use of their army.
One of the main reasons to get this game, especially the HD version for iPad users, is to see the graphics in play. It uses a bright color scheme and has tons of hilarious animations. Despite it being about battle and warfare, it's not a bloody game and is rated E for Everyone because of the cartoonish violence. Just to give you an idea of the humor to be found in this game, the Vikings are on a quest to find the greatest BBQ sauce and there are even ninja monkeys. That's right, monkeys that are ninjas! I can't wait to see that turned into a movie.
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In the iTunes App Store, there are several negative 1-star reviews of this game for both the base and HD edition, and the main complaint is that the game crashes a lot. When comments like that are left, it ought to include what version of the game they have and what firmware version they are running on their hardware, because you never know if somebody is using an outdated application with bugs that have already been fixed. For the record, I didn't experience any major issues while playing this on my iPad 2, and I have all the latest updates.
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Money Matters and Walkthroughs
This game is very much about fighting a war of attrition, meaning that you have to continually hammer the opponent and always have more than what they have. Gold miners are the key to making this happen, and you should build as many as possible from the start. Once they all get to working, you will have the funds to purchase upgrades for your units. Having tons of gold makes everything just a little bit easier, but don't forget to put defense in place to keep your gold miners from being killed.
If you are having trouble getting past a certain battle, consult YouTube for help. There is a 42-part game walkthrough of pretty much everything you'll encounter while playing, plus a lot of other videos. Although the enemy AI will be slightly different from game to game, these videos make for great reference material on what type of units to use against the enemy, and seeing them in action is always helpful. To get you started, here's a YouTube link to part one.
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Hints and Tips
Each class in this game has certain skills and abilities that you need to harness in order to get the most out of them. Here are some general tips to employ while playing as either Aztecs, Vikings, or Chinese.
It's always good to have a couple of Necromancers follow some of your Jaguar Warriors into combat, because they can turn the killed enemies into zombies that become part of your own army. Zombies make great cannon fodder, plus it adds to the satisfaction when you use your opponent's troops against their own armies. Just make sure you have at least two Warriors per Necromancer to keep them protected.
The Vikings have the ability to harness the power of lightning and it's one of the most devastating offensive attacks in the game. Once you gain that ability, combine it with your ranged attack Axe Throwers and Towers for the ultimate defensive situation. Also don't forget to protect your catapults by putting units in front of them.
The Arrow Rain ability lets you do area attacks, which is great for taking out clusters of enemy units. Be sure to get that ability as soon as it becomes available. You have a limited number of places on the map where you can install a Buddha, and you should utilize all of them in order to help your magic units with more mana. The Zen Master unit can be very powerful, but not on their own. Make several and send them out with some Swordsmen to serve as meat shields so the enemy can't cause them harm.
If you have any other Swords and Soldiers tips then post a comment.