The World Conqueror series has made the transition from mobile to… mobile — well, handheld. The Switch iteration doesn’t do much different, and in no way pushes the RTS genre in any way. But if you’re looking for a bite-sized strategy game on the handheld-hybrid, look no further, World Conqueror X might just scratch a strategic itch.
If you’re unfamiliar with World Conqueror X, the game is set during the Second World War. It’s very old-school, trading off realistic graphics and battles for a more board game style approach to things. It works well on the Switch, and I rather enjoyed the simplistic style, especially in handheld mode.
The game is presented in small chunks. Scenario mode lets players experience a multitude of famous battles from the war, ranging from the tiny to large in scale. I do wish the game didn’t require you to complete the battles in order; it would’ve been nicer just to be able to pick and choose any battle from the start. The game’s Pacific campaign is locked off at the beginning, forcing you to play on the European front first.
As far as difficulty goes, you won’t find too much challenge in World Conqueror X. The game gives you a rating at the end of each mission depending on how quickly you finished. I ended up finding more difficulty in achieving the highest rating than I did in actually completing the battles. Additionally, generals, who act as the game’s heroes make each battle all the easier, typically trampling heaps of your opponent’s troops. Often I didn’t have to change up my strategies too much based on the various situations I was put in. Also, sometimes the enemy AI is not very good, and sometimes it’ll outmaneuver me in ways I didn’t expect. So the AI can usually be a mixed bag in that regard.
Battles play out on land, sea, and air. Troops vary based on different stats like damage and HP, so you won’t have to learn too much to understand how each works. You can also build various facilities in each city you control that will allow you to activate specific abilities and build particular structures that’ll heighten your chance at victory in battles and will enable you to defend your cities without keeping your armies too close by. There’s some depth to be found, but it’ll never be overwhelming, and I think this works notably better on a device like the Nintendo Switch. If you’re hopping into this title, don’t expect the depth of the Total War or Civilization series.
One area that I felt World Conqueror X could’ve been better is audio. The music comes off as incredibly generic and the sound effects aren’t very good on the Switch in and out of the docked mode. Of course, it’s not game-breaking by any means at all, but in a title like this, that extra bit of immersion helps.
I mentioned them before, but generals are also a large part of the game. Each one is based on an actual figure from the war, so that’s pretty cool, and each of them has unique stats that’ll make them better equipped for specific unit types. In my opinion, they do make things a little too easy, but this is somewhat balanced by the enemy team also getting them. Sometimes the AI just isn’t as smart as you though, and they won’t act nearly as threatening as your generals. You use a currency gained from completing battles to purchase generals and if you don’t have the right generals for the right situation, you might get outplayed by the enemy. I made sure to try and have a varied group of generals before getting deeper into the game’s multiple campaigns.
You also get a separate currency that can be used to purchase upgrades for your armies. For instance, you can buy an upgrade that’ll make your infantry do more damage to land vehicles, so they’re not utterly useless when put up against them. You can also purchase upgrades to other things like the effectiveness of your bombers and bunkers. It’s not a deep skill tree but it’s still a nice added addition nonetheless.
The game offers even more content in the form of Conquest Mode, which is a giant world-spanning battle between a multitude of different countries. This mode is a massive undertaking and probably won’t be completed in one sit down. Luckily the game lets you quickly save your progress and quickly jump back into things whenever you want. This quick saving option also applies to the Scenario Mode so if you find yourself jumping into the game on-the-go you can quickly save your progress and drop back in whenever you want to. This mode is also set during World War II, and just about every country involved in the real war is present here. There’s also some diplomatic options so you can gain and lose allies as you play.
Unfortunately, there are no online modes to be found in the game. It would’ve been nice to see multiplayer incorporated into the game. As it stands though the two included modes should have enough content to keep you coming back for hours.
There’s a bunch of unique units in each unit type, mobile infantry, assault rifle units, heavy tanks, submarines, destroyers, etc. There’s a lot of variety here, and some troops even come with their own unique abilities that you can take advantage of. Rocket infantry has an area of effect damage, while submarines can attack cruisers without any rebuttal. This is a nice layer of strategy and it was fun to mix and match what exactly I could do to be more effective in battle.
If you’re looking for a more conventional strategy title to add to your Switch library, World Conqueror X is perfect for you. I think the game works best in handheld mode, as it’s not boasting the most visually appealing style. It was also nice to lay down after a long day and pick the game up for a couple of scenario missions before bed. Whether on the go or nestled up at home, World Conqueror X is a pretty enjoyable strategy game and it’s easy to recommend at the low price of $10.