Conan Unconquered is a relentless battle for survival. A battle against endless waves of increasingly dangerous foes.
And against the pressure of time.
You need to build your fortress before the next horde arrives. Sometimes you need to fortify it while your co-op partner decides to take half your army off on an adventure to find some treasure.
That makes it hard to keep your city in one piece.
Conan Unconquered Review
Developed by the Command and Conquer veterans at Petroglyph,
Conan Unconquered is a survival RTS. Clearly and openly inspired by the game of the same genre They are Billions.
It’s a genre that can be very challenging but also very rewarding. It’s kind of like taking the turtle RTS gaming strategy and making it into its own game.
You build your base as defensively as possible, expand when necessary and repel wave after wave of attacks from many, varying enemies and directions. There is an ever-present urgency thanks to the wave meter at the top of the screen.
This goes hand-in-hand with the fairly high number of resources needed to work through the massive tech tree. There is simply never enough time to get everything done before the next horde is knocking down your walls.
Conan Unconquered offers single-player and co-op play. Single player consists of a campaign of sorts, being 5 set maps with predetermined waves of attackers.
There is a comic accessible from the main menu with chapters of the story that unlock as you progress but the link between the missions and the comic is tenuous at best. Given the richness of lore associated with Conan and the Hyborian age, I was really hoping for something a little more involved.
Even a decent story-driven tutorial mission or two would have been nice. Instead, you’re dumped in the deep end and have to read the manual in the form of the hints list.
Wave after wave
While the campaign missions are fine and unlock the chapters of the comic, the real challenge is in unconquered or co-op modes. In these modes, the maps are randomly generated within the parameters you set.
Things like map density, wandering monsters, resources etc.
Each time you start a new game you need to figure out where resources and choke-points are, how best to defend your fortress in this new terrain. The maps are on a pretty big scale so you will need to invest some time in exploration. Due to the AI, exploration requires some micromanagement.
Heroes and soldiers seem to occasionally get stuck or go the long way round to their destination for no reason unless guided by hand. Likewise, the way they interact with nests of local creeps and monsters seems to be a flip of a coin.
Sometimes, Conan or Valeria, being quite powerful heroes, will singlehandedly wipe out a colony of spiders, other times they will just run straight through a bandit camp losing half their health in the process. While this is irritating, its a patchable problem and will hopefully be ironed out pretty quickly.
Driven Before You!
Speaking of heroes, They are great fun and really the main source of flavour in Conan Unconquered.
Levelling them up and acquiring relics or other items that bestow powerful attacks really adds an extra element to combat and gives value to your heroic characters. It’s a shame then that one, of only three, heroes in the game is locked behind a paywall.
With Conan Unconquered currently priced at $41.95AUD on Steam, it’s an additional $15AUD to upgrade to the digital deluxe version if you actually want access to all three of the heroes.
That’s a big percentage of the original asking price. It certainly feels like the only magic wielding, primarily ranged hero is being held at ransom.
Pricing structure and glitches notwithstanding, Conan Unconquered offers a fairly unique and fun experience. The graphics are a little dated. The sounds and unit dialogue are amazingly cheesy and over the top and the campaign barely exists.
However, unconquered solo and co-op mode offers enough variety and challenge to put the best strategist to the test while the randomised maps and hordes offer lots of replayability value.
Conan Unconquered was reviewed on PC using a code provided by the publisher.
Game Title: Conan Unconquered