Gameloft’s iPhone version of The Settlers carries with it the same quality that has become standard with the series. Like most RTS war/economy games, the idea is two fold: build a self-sustaining settlement that can then win an impending war. In The Settlers, players campaign as the head of one of four legions: Vikings, Romans, Mayans, or an ambiguous Dark Tribe. The first few levels function as a tutorial for the uninitiated while the rest of the game is a set of episodic challenges needing to be defeated in order to move on. Unlike Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution, history is largely ignored. Despite this, the game is still quite fun.
Visuals: The graphical interface is solid with bright colors and detail. Everything is clearly marked with icons that become transparent or disappear when not in use. Each race race has their own style when it comes to the architecture of their buildings, and each class of worker has its own set of animations; this adds a whole lot of enjoyment to the game. Graphically, it beats competitors like Civilization and Catan.
Controls: A simple touch and drag system glides players across the map while a slider bar at the right hand side of the screen zooms in and out. Using two fingers allows players to create boxes over segments of the population; once selected, these segments carry out orders as directed. All menus are touch driven, too
Audio: While in peace, the music is light and ambient, but all that changes when battle begins; the score swells as swords strike and armies clash. Also, whenever a player zooms in on a section of the map, the sound effects from the action below are amplified as if God himself had leaned in a little closer to listen in on his world.
Clutter: As with most games of this type, keeping up with all that is going on in your kingdom is part of the fun. This fun becomes slightly annoying when ported on to the small screen of the iPhone. Unfortunately, there isn’t much a developer can do to remedy this. Simplifying the game’s design to make this title more iPhone friendly would take away one its major strengths: its attention to detail.
Although there are no surprises for those familiar with this type of game, The Settlers does deliver where it is expected. Don’t let the hefty price tag scare you. At $6.99, this is a solid buy; there are a lot of hours of gameplay in this title.