Slitherine’s Legion

Legion City Management
Players:
1
Multiplayer:No
AI:Yes, with 3 levels for each campaign type
Universal App:No
Purchase for iPhone:None available. Buy an iPad now!
Purchase for iPad:
Slitherine's Legion
Price: $9.99
User rating:
GD Star Rating
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Slitherine's Legion, 6.3 out of 10 based on 9 ratings

Slitherine’s Legion is one of those ten dollar apps that you look at and you ponder, is this really worth it? Well, if you’ve ever spent an entire 24 hour period trying to conquer a land mass with digital soliders via turn based gameplay, and you’d like to do that again, then yes. It is worth it. This game can basically be described as the Roman Age of Empires, on your iPad. This is a heavy-duty strategy game, and it’s on sale right now for 50% off during it’s first two weeks on the market.

Legion's title screen

Gameplay

Legion is an iOS port from a 2002 PC game made by Slitherine Software, which still looks exactly like it would on the PC. Players play as the Roman Empire in various campaigns, with the overall goal of conquering the majority, if not entirety of the map, with three difficulty levels for each map. If Roman togas just aren’t quite your thing, never fear, you can also chose to play as any of the other countries in each scenario.

The  game takes place across four non-intuitive screens which are of the map, city management, diplomacy, and battle planning. The map screen allows you to look at the world – though a lens with no zoom – to see what exactly is going on. From here, you can open each of your cities management screens, move around troops, and view the diplomacy screen.

Legion World View

The goal of the game is to do like the Romans do – or did – and conquer the map with your legions, obviously. You start the game with a pre-determined area of control, some troops, and a few cities.

Each city you control has the opportunity to produce any of the three resource types in the game: wood, ore, and food. Geographical location helps with determining what resources are more easily produced for each city, and is reflected by which buildings are available on the right side of the screen. A city can have only one building under construction at a time, which will always finish in the Spring, regardless of when it was started. Certain buildings require one to three workers, while others give their benefits without them.

Legion City Management

When a city gains new population, you must decide to use the much needed human resources either to further develop your city, or create a squad of some type to help with your military goals. Which type of units can be created from a city’s population is determined by what military training facilities are present, as well as if the required basic resources are available. Stronger units require more resources, and more expensive training grounds, but are larger and more likely to survive multiple combats.

Another thing that may help ensure the survival of a squad is to group them with another. This slows down the movement of that force, but greatly improves their chances in a fight. Up to eight squads can be combined per an army, and only one army can participate in a battle at a time. When a battle is started, either by the collision of two armies, or the attempted sieging of a city, the battle planning screen is presented to the user. Here you can organize how you wish your minons to be deployed from the various formations available. You can also drag and drop them into position and set their advancement speeds. Once you’re satisfied, you essentially hit play and can do nothing much but watch the battle unfold.

Legion Battle

Implementation

As I mentioned at the start of this article, this is a port from a 2002 PC game, and it definitely shows in both graphics and gameplay. If you can get over the difficultly of navigating a screen with no zoom, having little to no help text (you can’t hover in iOS, after all), and the annoyingly tiny click areas, you’ll have already mastered the first difficulty in the game. The second difficulty is of course managing your cities and troops to produce the war machine you need to beat this game. This reviewer played the first scenario on easy for about four hours and then decided to just give up, which you can do at any time do to the game’s built-in save feature.

Verdict

To call this game “good” is a rather difficult thing to do. The graphics are old, the interface is difficult, and it takes about an hour to understand what exactly you’re supposed to do and how. The tutorial is far from helpful, as the first thing it does is to tell you to read the manual. The manual is an attached 22-page pdf. Twenty-two pages. For an iOS app. Maybe that’s why I felt the need to tell you so much about the game play, so you might not have to read it (like I did).

All that being said, it will keep you busy for an incredibly long time. If each scenario takes on average 12 hours to complete, on easy, and there’s seven of them, you’re looking at 84 hours of gameplay. Not to mention the ability to play as every race on the map, and for randomized starting points instead of historical. If this kind of game is the thing you enjoy, and you’re looking for something to play other than Civilization, the full price of $9.99 for this game is quite frankly, a steal.