Heroes of Revolution Review (iOS)
The objective of the game is to take command of the 26th of July Movement rebels and overthrow the US backed dictator Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar. Instead of breaking this down into separate missions you must achieve this in one big campaign mission. To win the game you need to capture the three main cities in Cuba. You start off with barely any units to command: Just a handful of irregular infantry units (basically cannon fodder), and the hero unit Fidel Castro (who kicks arse). No matter how good the Fidel Castro hero unit is at fighting he can’t take on the whole Cuban Army alone, so the first thing to do is to recruit Cubans to the rebel cause. This is done in two ways: by capturing towns, or by using Fidel Castro’s hero unit power to convert enemy units into rebels. The enemy AI doesn’t make this easy so for the first couple of hours you will play cat and mouse with enemy units. Ambushing lone units, then retreating before reinforcements arrive. It’s a nice change to play a turn based strategy game that puts a lot of focus on guerrilla tactics rather than just tank rushing. After recruiting enough rebels the next stage is to capture the first main city, which in turn gives you a new hero unit Che Guevara. Just like Castro’s hero unit Che is an one man army. At this point the game, the gameplay changes to that of a more regular war game, with you building a real army to take over Cuba. The army units are standard for a 20th century war game: You have tanks, jeeps, armoured cars, snipers, artillery, and special forces. The skill here is to build a balanced army and use the correct units to attack the enemy units.
When you select a unit to attack the game enters the combat mode, this mode involves two throws of a virtual dice. The first throw decides if your unit hits the enemy, the minimum value that you need to roll depends on a number of factors such as defensive terrain bonuses, attack strength, and revolutionary penalties. You need to match or beat the minimum value to hit the enemy. The second throw decides how much damage the unit inflicts on the enemy. The total potential damage that a unit can dish out depends on the type of unit attacking and the type of unit the enemy is, for example a machine gunner can do over 20 damage on an infantry unit but only up to 6 damage on an armoured unit. For the most part this system works really well, though can be a bit slow – it’s confusing as to why the combat system slowly calculates the minimum hit values, especially since it’s instantly calculated when you first select the unit to attack. Unlike most other turn based strategy games this doesn’t have a quick combat setting that skips it, also there were a few times that the first dice would roll less than the minimum value to hit and the system would still say successful hit.
Apart from the main objective there are smaller missions that randomly appear during the game. They range from holding a town for so many turns to escorting a unit from one position to another within a certain amount of turns. You are not required to carry out these missions, but doing so will give you rewards that will help in the game. An example of these rewards is an increase in attack bonuses for all units for a certain number of turns. They seem to be randomly created during the game, which helps it from going stale and adds more replayability to the game.
Graphically the game jumps between okay and a mess. The units look fine but are nothing special – they are simple silhouettes but it’s easy to tell what they are from looking at them. The battlefield map looks like a map of Cuba, but its not the prettiest map used in a game. Its blurry and its hard to see the placement grid, also some of the map features such as the roads don’t line up with the grid so units that are moving on the road can appear to be on the grass on the side of the road. The biggest graphical crime however is the ending screen: It is a bit blurry, and it’s text isn’t centered correctly, but that’s not it’s biggest flaw. It has one of the worst fonts ever used in a game (or anywhere). I might seem to be a bit harsh here, but it feels like a slap on the face: You spend about 6 hours to complete the game and all you get at the end is a blurred black and white image with 3 sentences written in all caps using a horrible font.
The sound however is great. It has all the standard gun and explosion sounds that you expect from a war game. The music is great, There are only a couple of songs but they fit the tempo and theme of the game perfectly. You won’t get tired of hearing the music during your play through.
Graphics and ending aside Heroes of the Revolution a good game and one of the best turn based strategy games that you’ll find on iOS devices. For less than two pounds you’re getting a 4 – 6 hour campaign that once done can be played again due to the random mini missions. If you’re a fan of Turn Based Strategy games, or enjoy war based board games then give this game a try.
3.5 comrades in arms out of 5