Reviewed: July 28, 2010
Released: July 9, 2010
App Store Price: $1.99
The Real Time Strategy (or RTS) genre may have first gained that title in the early 90s but at its core are old fashioned and cherished games like Risk. It is that very basic gameplay concept that beats at the heart of Modern Conflict for the iPhone. Like some of my colleagues here at GCM I’m not one that particularly likes micromanaging or resource gathering that other big name titles in this genre to the point that the mere mention of those three little letters makes me cringe.|
Modern Conflict however locked my worries away in some undisclosed hole somewhere deep in the heart of Mordor…okay not really but it sounded good. The gameplay works around one very simple fundamental, the man with the bigger stick wins. Unlike most strategy titles, Modern Conflict is a game of numbers. No resource managing or upgrading units required; just good old-fashioned sheer strength and mathematical planning.
For those a little rusty in the numbers game, the lengthy tutorial is a great place to start and learn Modern Conflict’s specific and simple rules. After completing the tutorial you can jump right into the action. Players control two types of units, tanks and helos. Each unit has their simple rules such as tanks can only travel on the road paths while the helicopters have a bit more flexibility as they can travel to any of the enemy or neutral points.
The basic main objective is to clear the map of all enemy forces, which, depending on how well you do could make your battles last roughly 5-10 minutes which is great for a pick-me-up game on a break or during a bit of free time. I found that it is entirely possible to win a mission in little to no time at all with a bit of planning and a blitz attack giving you more time to play another round or two on those short breaks. Units respawn continuously at all the bases that are in your possession throughout the course of each mission. This however does not mean that you're not going to have to work for your victories.
Modern Conflict can get incredibly frantic at times but thanks to an extremely simple interface it’s a breeze to select and direct your units especially on the iPhone’s smaller screen. Utilizing a one touch control system, players can select half or all of their units at any given base and send them into battle. You can also select, hold and drag your finger to your desired direction if you want. Depending on how good or bad you are doing in each, bonus abilities also come into play to aid you across all modes in Modern Conflict.
Graphics usually play a huge part in the overall appeal of a title these days. Modern Conflict sports a rather simple design that, while rather plain in areas, gets the job done. The mission select screens for each of the available campaigns looks like they were constructed from real world locations, which are pretty cool. The menus are also easy on the eyes and clearly legible on the iPhone’s smaller screen. The animations such as unit movement and combat are simple and add that little extra flair to the title. I really liked the music as well, which is upbeat and gets you in the mood to play.
Despite the lack of any multiplayer, Modern Conflict offers 33 engaging missions across three campaigns featuring the US, Russia and China. The campaigns alone will give you a good challenge especially on the advanced difficulties, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Included is a Survival Mode that will put your strategy skills to the test as you pick a country and battle in randomly generated missions. The fun part here is that you can upgrade 12 different strategic skills between each bout to give you an edge over the ever increasingly stronger opponents.
Modern Conflict is also supported by the Crystal Network. Here you can track you position against other players via the leaderboards as well as challenge them directly. For an extra kick there are also achievements that can be earned by doing certain objectives or moves in battle such as issuing three different units or not losing a base in a battle. There is no end to the fun that you can have with Modern Combat especially when you’re spending less than a bottle of pop for this beauty.
Modern Conflict is an RTS with a very simple set of rules; sleek interface and simple presentation that makes me wish more titles were like it. $.99 is a small price to pay for hours of quality frantic strategic fun that will have you begging for the clock to slow down. I definitely recommend getting Modern Conflict as soon as you can.