Autumn Dynasty

App of the Day: Autumn Dynasty

App of the Day: Autumn Dynasty

Fall of the empire.

As someone with all the tactical nous of George Armstrong Custer, I enjoy a mildly abusive relationship with strategy games: I like them, but they regularly humiliate me, usually for having the temerity to favour a gung-ho approach to combat. Still, it doesn't take much to tempt me back in for another beating, and being a sucker for a pretty art style, the painterly appearance of Autumn Dynasty was more than enough.

It really does look lovely. Your units are characterfully rough scratches of ink on a ragged scroll, leaving faint curlicued dust clouds as they advance. Zoom right in and you can see the uneven textures of the surface, while defeated units leave a faint watercolour smudge when they fall. Your fingers produce sweeping brushstrokes as you highlight your troops, while dragging them into position produces curving blue ribbons, weaving together as they arrow towards their target. Active areas of the map glow with a light orange tint as if lantern lit, with the rest shrouded in darkness until you expand your territory.

There's always the risk that such an aesthetic could compromise visual clarity, but it's smartly designed so you can instantly tell what's going on. Each unit type carries a flag, so even when you're fully zoomed out and skirmishes are nothing more than a swarming mass of sentient scrawls it's easy to work out who's doing what to whom. The interface, meanwhile, is intuitive and elegant: you simply select individual units by tapping on them, or draw a circle to select everything within its circumference.

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