Reverie World Studio’s, “Dawn of Fantasy” Is an easy to understand RTS game. Peasants collect resources and repair buildings as your homeland’s economy and army expand in real-time on an isometric map. DoF however does not limit itself to these paradigms and expands on this tried and true gameplay by introducing a world map feature filled with the lore and loot fit for a king.
Dawn of Fantasy features both Online PvP play as well as a few single player modes more geared to the casual player. Single Player mode is broken up into three sub-sections; Lay Siege is a quick jump in and play random scenario that starts the player with a squadron of troops and siege weapons (such as Belfries and Trebuchets) in a basic camp just outside the enemy fortress .The goal is to invade the enemy fortress break open the main gate and kill the king. There is only one wave to play in lay Siege and the outcomes does not affect your save file Homelands.
Next we have Castle Defense, a little more involved, where players instead are given a hometown with peasants,soldiers,and walls. Tower upgrades, many archers, and spike traps are key to surviving the long siege as wave upon wave of enemy troops march towards your castle front. One problem with this mode is that the enemy troops swarm up by their target gate but do not move out-of-the-way for the battering rams to do their job. Soldiers don’t break in, siege weapons stand around, in fact everyone stands around slowly getting picked off by a single battalion of archers perched within the final keep. Even when the next wave arrives the only rip apart what they can easily access. Again all spoils go to no one after victory/defeat is declared.
Lastly for single player there is the Kingdoms mode. This is like a campaign but more open ended. It uses the World Map but with less instruction than the Online Kingdom provides. And instead of quests and tutorials players are given an expected battle every few minutes regardless of progress made. The goal of this mode is to conquer the entire World Map without your Hometown being captured by the enemy forces. This is in my experience the hardest part of the game,and if you are new to the game and confused on how the world map works, don’t fret, it is explained in the Online Kingdom mode, the main mode of the game,which is next.
The Online Kingdom mode is a go-at-your own pace experience that guides players through a story based on the player’s selected Kingdom. This game differs from the single player games because it revolves around taking armies out from your hometown and bringing them to the World Map so that they can travel to other towns and quest locations. Other towns give means of trade, buying mercenaries, training units to do other jobs; and in a pinch acting as a place holder for precious units when the town population cap(s) are full. Swapping between the two perspectives, world map and town, is the vital key to Dawn of Fantasy’s uniqueness.
Along with all the mechanics introduced in the other modes, this one has an extra influence resource known as crowns that can be used to buy other resources,speed up building constructions, and most importantly buy special units such as dragons and Dwarven fighters. For $9.99 you can buy 120 crowns which grants one the option to purchasing the Royal Dragon, the most powerful unit in the game. Unlike the Kingdom’s Mode of single player, battles are engaged at the pace of the player. The image below is a swarm of Orc Riders actually waiting to speak with my towns hero before deciding to attack my precious colony.
With all these gameplay modes spending an hour or two building armies and raising an effective economy is quite easy. Units are created in squads of multiple members. Instead of training one peasant for 180 food the game actually trains 5 little guys on the screen, same goes for infantry. Despite these 5 little workers being spawned the towns’ population is only increased by 1 for doing this. Building houses also increases the total population cap by 1, making a booming economy a very long-term goal. Paradoxically, gathering times for resources in Dawn of Fantasy are a slower than some may find comfortable. This is to encourage the World Map exploration and trade, as well as looting the dead corpses with peasants for that extra economic boost. Erecting buildings requires no peasants, but takes on average an hour to complete without the use of any crowns.
Presentation of the game has a few minor bugs in it as well. Some background cameras in town menus do not stay on course and can be spastic. Leaving your mouse on a button can provide information, but it does not help when the information box is in front of another button. The ticker above head saying the resources gathered per minuet is also inaccurate, and will not update even when there are peasants collecting a resource .
Despite these few hiccups the game itself is a treat to play. The camera controls are well done, same can be said about the speech banks. Unlike Age of Empires, the characters in-game actually say what needs your attention, instead of the sound cues you has to learn about through multiple session will not disappear Dawn of Fantasy is a game filled with hours of gameplay for the strategist waiting to capture castles and rule a world of fantasy. The PvP options now are for the competitive player mostly, because you cannot share resources with other player in-game, however alliances in a multiplayer game . While there is no place reserved for entering friends to save, this will probably change when the game appears on Steam later this month.