Frontline RTM vs the competition (the real test)

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Frontline RTM vs the competition (the real test)

Post by MrsWargamer » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:51 pm

Ok the game was produced for iOS long enough back that it has in my opinion, likely seen more than a bit of what I call design tweak beta testing to a point.

So I have mostly been concerned with has the port to Android been 'successful' and what are the results of it on various types of hardware.
I have learned so far, that it likely is too much for 1st gen tablets. I can't really comment on what I call 'phone devices' as I don't own any and have no experience with them.

My Asus epad transformer tablet has failed to have the guts to run the program it seems. Odd, as it seems plenty capable of running a slew of tasks. It runs my Netflix videos and my Crunchyroll anime shows. It is fine for web browser work. But I suppose games are a different beast.

My Nexus 7 though seems to be doing just fine, and I have been discovering the game is fairly fun. I have been playing on wimpy mode aka Normal :) so I have been able to get away with some rather lame level game skill levels. I just polished off Brody, and was able to defeat the challenge without being too great a general. Lots of tanks, and lots of air support and essentially not playing fair :)

So now comes the real test, how does it stack up against the challengers for our time and our money (often the hardest part of developing a game is winning the fans over).

I will first list what I personally consider your peers, and while I won't pretend to have played every single 'wargame' on the market, I have at least played a fair sized array of them (Android that is, I have no access to the iOS scene just so we are clear).

I will try to sum up what each does better or less well than in comparison to Road to Moscow (as briefly as possible).

First up is Small General from Victor Reijkersz of VR Designs (already well known to Slitherine Group)
Interface, SG simply has the best interface I have seen so far.
It lacks in simulating non ground force supporting forces such as air power. But otherwise SG Eastern Front is a hard act to follow.

Second there is Conflict Series from Joni Nuutinen who might not be as well known to the non tablet using crowd.
Lacks a decent learning tutorial. Numerous releases, all seem a bit similar to a point. Suffers from an eventual 'sameness' between releases.
Strength is the games feel 'credible'. They scratch the itch to play a classic board game wargame well. They LOOK like wargames.

Third there is John Tiller and his ports of the Panzer Campaigns series as well as Modern Campaigns and Civil War Campaigns series.
On the surface, one could wonder, how could anyone find fault with this developer. Well unless you have very tiny finger tips, these games are a bit too hard to actually play at the tactile level. John has perhaps been a bit lazy in just dumping PC games onto tablets.
If you can manage the game's demanding minute imagery you at least get to play solid wargames.

A one shot design I have encountered that seems worth mention is 1941 Frozen Front from Handy Games. They do other games, I am just unsure of what other 'wargames' of the sort relevant to the comparison here.
This title actually on the surface seems to share a lot of similarities on first glance with Road to Moscow.
Excellent graphics, simple interface, engaging game play.
I currently have no negatives, but I have limited playings of this release.

I have encountered 1941 World War Strategy from Electrowolff Games, which also qualifies as a 'wargame' under my criterion.
I have not played this yet, but on the surface, it looks like it will be essentially Axis and Allies on a tablet.
I include mainly as a way of illustrating that games don't always need hexes.

I have some titles from David Kershaw/DK Simulations, they are classic hex using wargames.
I have seen these, and to be honest, I think they are a bit rough around the edges.
Main complaint, too much game, too little tutorial for too complex a design leads to frustration.

And last on my list is Empire Deluxe Mobile Edition from Killer Bee Software.
This gem is a nice example of how an old program can still be of use to the market.
Sometimes we don't need a brand new game, we just need an old game put on a new device.

I am intentionally not including my Combat Mission Touch simply as it is a scale that is simply too outside the reach of the above titles. It is tactical at two low a scale to be comparable in scope and design.

I have seen that some games simply refuse to teach the user well enough (like Conflict series), and some games simply try to do too much with a limited viewing window (like John Tiller) and some games simply stayed too basic in design (such as Small General). 1941 Frozen Front is a nice blend of nice easy to use graphics, nice engaging wargame simulation, a good fun factor level and it doesn't cost anything. Nothing is ever really free though.

I think Frontline Road to Moscow has hit most of the right objectives.
Graphically pleasing, and simple to actually control.
Reasonable level of historical simulation without overwhelming the gamer.

I have noticed additionally purchasable content seems to be planned with Act II. No real complaint there.
I'm hoping the engine is able to spawn additional releases.

I personally would love to see it as successful as the Conflict series.
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