Mobile Experience: Planar Conquest

In 1994, Microprose released the all-important third leg of their Civilization stool: Master of Magic – complementing the previous year’s release, Master of Orion, and the original Civilization.

I thought MoO was just OK when it came out (I know, blasphemy), but I loved MoM. The game took everything that was great about Civ – the city building, the eXploration, the research, the empire management – and added magic spells, heroes, monsters, and quests and then threw in a tactical battle mechanic, just because. MoM didn’t keep me from getting into a good college, but man, that wasn’t for lack of trying (Also, I’m old).


Nowadays, you can’t swing a dead Kilrathi without hitting a MoO clone, but games made in MoM’s image are few and far between. Poland-based Wastelands Interactive saw the opportunity and went after it with Worlds of Magic on Steam. The game was… Not totally awful? Let’s be kind and say it was a really good first effort at a Fantasy 4X game. Well, Wastelands is taking another shot with Planar Conquest (PQ), now available on mobile on the App Store and for Android. Does PQ finally provide a modern, mobile take on my beloved MoM, improving upon the old systems while still capturing what made the original so amazing?


Read on…


Planar Conquest provides plenty of options for setup at the start. Player can fill their fantasy realm with up to seven different planes. Further, there are multiple geographic distributions available for each individual plane – from pangaea, to multiple continents, to a massive archipelago. And each plane has its own ‘theme,’ as well, allowing for a totally multi-dimensional (pun so intended) experience.

Players are also given their choice of race to lead to glory: humans, Elves (in two Elfy flavors: dark and grey!), Dwarves, Orcs, etc. There’s even an undead race with completely unique needs that turns the whole playing experience on its head. You can also choose the number of opponents you’ll face and how hard they’ll try. However, there’s no way to control what enemy races you’ll be up against. If you’re dying to kill you some Elves, you’re just gonna have to hope the game offers them up.

Finally, you’ll be able to pick your leader/sorcerer/avatar person. The game provides a generous helping of pre-made candidates, each with their own unique pic. Players can also roll their own with a veritable buffet of stat modifiers and magical focuses. Again, the options on offer are impressive, topped with a diverse range of spell schools. There’s the usual fire, air, water stuff but you can also choose categories like biomancy and destruction that let you do all kinds of fancy things.

Making many magical choices.

After making their selections, players are popped onto the game world map, given a city and an army, and set to work. As is now standard fare for these things, there’s a whole world to eXplore (possibly a whole seven of them, depending on how you many planes you put in at the start) full of dangerous monsters, possibly rewarding adventures, and up-jumped AI opponents who dare to think they deserve the throne.

The world, itself, does a good job of getting you to wander around. There are all sorts of goodie boxes in various shapes and type literally littering the world map – chests of gold, arenas full of XP, piles of magic-y doodads, etc.. There are also plenty of encounters to, ummmm, encounter. Towers and caves and the like are fairly frequent, offering mostly military challenges with rewards of gold, mana, stat boosts, and rare magical items.

Another possible reward? The chance of an ol’ fashioned butt whoopin’

Just as in MoM, PQ offers no technological research – all buildings and units are unlocked from the start – though some buildings must be built before others become available. Players can learn new spells, however. What’s available will depend on what spell schools you selected for your sorcerer. Options for research are shown in a massive spell book (just like MoM!). Just click, wait a few turns and voila! Instant, killer death ray spell. Or, y’know, harvest boost or whatever… There’s no tree here, no set steps of progression from one magical miracle to another. True to its spiritual forefather, the options seem to appear more or less randomly, so players are best off picking whatever appeals and hoping that another exciting choice presents itself the next go around.

That said, the spell options are sort of limited, overall. Not just in type, but in kind. Once you have acid arrow and fire arrow adding lightning arrow to your arsenal isn’t at all exciting. Nor will then switching over to fire blade, ice blade, and acid blade. Looking at the many magical spell options up front, there are a few interesting conjurations and then a lot of blank spaces. Little iterations do not exciting decisions make, especially when that’s all there is to look through.


Expansion is what you’d expect, as well. Your home city can build settlers who can then go about and, y’know, settle stuff. It’s not rocket science. City by city, players will watch their empires grow across the landscape.

Most resources are tile-based, and so setting down a city has more to do with where you’d like to extend your empire than grabbing for goodies. Unlike, say, Civ V, you’re not going to find some magic mountain of production somewhere nearby that you absolutely have to have. The game keeps things simple, which is good, though it also makes municipal placement a bit of a bore. However, there are resources out there that you can only collect if they are in your borders, so there’s usually at least some direction as to what makes a good place to put a city down beyond, I dunno, easy highway access and ocean views.

Home sweet home.

As with almost every game in this genre, more cities equals more good, so you’ll be building a lot of them. Players may be seduced into building tall, not wide, and simplify the micro-management in the mid/end-game. But doing so only means you’ll never actually reach those stages to reap the benefits. Build, my friend, build! Build till you find you have far too many towns. Then build again.

You can eXpand the city borders with a spell, otherwise they’ll just stay the same forwever. How respectful the enemy AI is of your boundaries, however, is another thing entirely. Whether at peace or at war, opposing units will simply walk on through at any time, reducing your borders to, really, just pretty colored lines. Sometimes the AI may just be passing by, other times they’ll assault your city right then and there. It’s impossible to know until you’re suddenly staring at an end game screen. At least the game stays away from the usual city-spamming. You won’t look over and see some random Dwarves setting up camp next door, so that’s good. Nobody wants to live next to Dwarves.


As mentioned, most resources are simply sitting in the land tiles. Things like food and production are basically tied to the land – the usual green means lots o’ food, yellow means less. Though you can buff your resource generation with spells and special city buildings.

The city, itself, allows you to assign your slaves, er, peasants, to various jobs to optimize your production. Population can be set to bolster production, research, or farm, though mostly you’ll be leaving the settings as-is. It’s fairly easy to click a button and suddenly find your entire civ is starving to death.

Lots and lots of info. Very little to actually do with it

As mentioned above, there are also mana nodes all over the map, each attuned to a different type of magical energy. Again, this is all standard MoM stuff, green crystals for earth powers, red for fire, etc. Unlike PQ’s inspiration, though, there are no guardians at the nodes. You’re free to just start mining the things once they’re in your control and you’ve built the appropriate structures.

Cities can be set to build improvements or generate troops. The available city buildings are, again, what you’d expect to find (catching onto a theme, yet?) – basically providing better production or farming or stat boosts for your troops. As I said above, there’s no tech tree to unlock these things, so you don’t have to waste time waiting to build that windmill you always wanted.

If you’re bored of building, you can engage your enemies with some limited diplomacy options. You can do the standard trading, though what the AI will accept and reject is totally blind. That means a lot of throwing stuff on the table and crossing your fingers, which does not make for good fun. Fire arrow for acid arrow? No. How about fire arrow and lightning arrow for acid arrow? Still no. How about… Ad nauseum.

The AI will also offer treaties and truces. As seems typical of these games, the AI is like the world’s worst passive-aggressive spouse. Whatever you suggest will be shot down, but then it will make the same offer right back at you and be shocked when you say no. Further, much like the borders of your cities, these agreements are more empty talk than actual enforced accords. I had one opponent ask for a non-aggression pact and – once I accepted – began to parade its troops through my territory, as if taunting me to march over and mash him. Which, of course, I did. Then the AI haughtily refused to treat with me ‘till it’d wiped me right off the map.


So why are you doing all this eXploring, eXpanding and eXploiting? To find enemies, generate powerful troops, and commit wholly justified genocide on the happy, arcane residents of magical happy world, of course. Or, put another way, die Orcs die!

There are plenty of troop types available to each race. Humans sport the usual clerics, swordsmen, spearmen, and bowmen. Ocrs focus on masses of cheap (but effective) foot soldiers. Etc. As the player builds up their cities, more impressive and exciting units become available, as well.

My hero does not look all that heroic here, but he’s super cool, I swear.

You can recruit heroes to add to your armies, each with unique designs, names, and backstories. These ultra-powerful units really make an army feel like more than just a mass of nameless soldiers and, instead, warriors of legend.

Battles go about in a tactical map as (say it with me) you’d expect from a game in this genre. For all the troop variation, however, strategic options are almost nil. Age of Wonders 3, this is not. Players can move their troops into position, stand back for ranged attacks, cast magic spells… Y’know the whole thing. But battles basically end up being one big funnel, each side pouring troops into the other until one side is too dead to get back up again.

Options like flanking or interesting battle maps, things that make this kind of combat fun, are absent. It’s like offering me steak, chicken, pork – every kind of meat imaginable – and then plopping down the same, brown, overcooked, underseasoned mush on my plate no matter what I ordered. Yes, it’s nice to have choices. No, I don’t see the point if my choices don’t provide meaningful differences in the end. Spearman, swordsman, stick man, just doesn’t seem to make a whole heck of a difference. Man have weapon. Man go hit other man with weapon. Repeat.

Gettin’ ready to throw down.

For its part, the AI seems to struggle with overland army movement. I haven’t seen it do anything uniquely stupid (nothing on the scale of some of the things the original MoM used to pull, like evacuating the entire defenses of a city right before I invaded it), but the game doesn’t seem to understand why, exactly, it’s moving things around. So it just kinda messes about, running units hither and thither to give the impression that it’s busy. I know people who built whole careers out of that kind of behavior at the office, but it’s not really accomplishing anything in a strategy game.

On the other hand, the AI does a serviceable job of fighting in the tactical window. It understands what it has and how to utilize it and puts up a pretty good fight. You’re still playing more checkers than chess, but that’s a heck of a lot better than the tiddlywinks a lot of other games’ AIs seem suited for

We win! Sort of…

That combat is just OK is not a deal breaker, but it is the only victory condition other than casting a doomsday spell and so the seams seem to show more than they might otherwise. You’re gonna spend much of the game marching across the many lands and kill-kill-killing till there’s no one left to kill. It’s a shame then, that doing so is… Underwhelming.


Oh boy. Here we go.

PC games and iPad games are different. I know, I’m not exactly breaking your brain here. But I do wonder if that’s something Wastelands Interactive really considered with PQ. It’s not like playing Mass Effect on your computer, where the controls were clearly designed for a controller and you find yourself muddling through with your mouse and keyboard, but PQ doesn’t feel right on the iPad. Some of that is design and some of it is execution, but it makes for a bit of a mess.

If you’ve read through the above (and if you haven’t, what the heck are you doing down here?), you’ve seen that there are a lot of systems in place. You might be thinking, as I did: “wow – this really is a full-featured 4x and not some ganked, half-featured, mobile thing.” And that is 100% true. In fact, there are some aspects of the game I haven’t even mentioned, like crafting and multiplayer. PQ is a whole 4x smooshed into your iPad. No doubt. Unfortunately, like the old saying about ten pounds of potatoes in an eight pound bag, putting all that game into a mobile format means a lot of spuds end up… Well, not where you’d want them.

I’m not saying it can’t be done – that iPad (and iPhone, my God, are people playing this on their phone?) is incapable of hosting a full 4X experience – but that sort of thing requires a lot of thought about systems and how they work. PQ doesn’t do that, for the most part, and it leads to a lot of clunky interactions. Bad enough that I have to fight Orcs and Elves and Undead, I have to fight the game itself, too?

The screens are also really hard to parse. A lot of the options just seem there for the sake of presenting a robust appearance rather than real strategic options. It doesn’t help that the controls are wonky, clicking and unclicking and hold-clicking is often a mess. Different actions take different types of taps and there’s no rhyme or reason (or tooltip) explaining which is which. Worse, the game does a poor job of recognizing those touches, even when you choose the right one. Just selecting a unit and sending it across the map can be an a catastrophic cascade of cursing at the inconsiderate controls.

You have no idea the hell I went through to get this screenshot.

Once, I sent my engineer back and forth three times from city to countryside just trying to get him away from a spearman he had somehow become bound to. When I was finally able to make it work, I realized I had no idea how to make the unit build a road and there I was, back in the land of frustration.

The icon for building a road was hidden in another spot on the screen, far from where unit actions had ever been. It didn’t look anything like ‘road’ or ‘build’ or… It was a red circle. Not sure what that was supposed to represent. My growing frustration? Perhaps.

It’s important to note that these are not bugs (don’t worry, we’ll get to those) but features, working as intended, and working really poorly. It feels like a tighter vision for the game, one with fewer options but better thought-out processes, would have made for a much better experience. As George Carlin once noted, wouldn’t you rather have Oreos (one cookie, well made) then some box of 100 flavors, none of which are all that good?

PQ is a box of mediocre cookies. You can do all these things! But not one of them is really fully baked and so it’s just one disappointment after another. There are tons of units, but they all fight the same and combat, itself, is dull. You have lots of city options, but what any of them actually do is often unclear and most of what you can figure out, no one ever needs to do those things anyway. Did you know that you get to the city screen by clicking your leader’s face? Is that at all intuitive? There are a lot of problems like these and, again, I can’t help but think that fewer symbols and icons and options would have made for a cleaner, clearer game.

The magic system is another example of selection spam. When you offer players only 5 or 6 spells, you really need to make each one awesome. Instead, it’s mostly iterations on a theme. Does fire arrow really differ all that much from acid arrow? Besides one is red and one is green? I mean, it’s magic, this is supposed to be the most fun part of the game. I’m supposed to be a wizard, but I often feel a lot more like a corporate drone: hundreds of options, all the same choice.

Shocking weapon or acidic weapon? Grand options, these ain’t.

Even the spells that are unique – the ones that go beyond the whole ‘different words, same damn thing’ magic system – feel mundane. At one point I cast a spell on my town to make them grow food faster. Nothing happened. I thought I’d hit the wrong button or done something incorrectly (it happens a lot in this game), but no, I looked at my town and the enchantment was active. The devs just hadn’t bothered to put in any kind of spell effect. That’s bad. When magic isn’t at all magical, you’re doing something wrong.

And yet, as I said, these are all example of when the game’s working right. Lots of times, you’ll find yourself looking back longingly on that burnt nilla wafer. PQ is about as bug-ridden a game as I’ve encountered. There were multiple game-stopping situations throughout my play time. Most famously, there was even a bug right in the middle of the opening tutorial (since fixed) that stopped players about halfway through. You couldn’t play for five minutes without hitting a show stopper, meaning that the tutorial, itself, could never be completed. That is both unfortunate and telling. The developers have done a good job of squashing the bugs, and, to be fair, my play experience has improved with each update. But we’re not talking about an amazing turnaround here. Just a loooooong slooooooow process – one that’s taken over a year’s time if you consider PQ to be a re-skinned WoM.

The graphics are fine. You’re not gonna show off the game to relatives for what can be done on a mobile device. As I said, the icons are often too small or unclear. The screen gets very crowded, holding back both interaction and comprehension.

When living is considered a perk, you’re dying.

The best compliment I can give is that the game is not ugly. It’s one of those things where I feel like if the developers had gone for more of a distinct art style – even one far less detailed and high definition – the game might actually look good. As it is now, everything just looks generic and unappealing. On the other hand, the units have some nice animations. Again, that’s great, but I’d have traded less sword tossing for something more functional.

The sound is also a mixed bag. I didn’t make it more than five minutes before shutting off the music, but I’ll admit that’s more of my own tolerance level for background tunes than any critique of the compositions. It would be nice to have more than two pieces playing, one for overmap the other for battle, but at least turning it off is easy enough. The sound effects on the other hand… Some of it sounds nice. The clang of metal is satisfying. The death screams, though, are hilarious and not in an intentional way. Aaarrrrgh!


This is the point where, ordinarily, I’d say that for those looking for 4X on the go, PQ might be worth at least a look-see. It’s not a bad game, just a frustrating one, and there may be some fun, buried in there somewhere.

Unfortunately, I can’t really say that, and there are two reasons why.

One is the bugs. Yes, the developer has released several updates so far, and I have no doubt there are more improvements to come. In fact, with the most recent updates, I’d go so far as to say that PQ is basically in the state that the developers intended you to play it in. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it’s fun to play. This is a game that is more caterpillar than butterfly, and I just don’t trust the devs to give it the time and attention it needs to change and grow.

As I said above, Wastelands Interactive’s previous game was Worlds of Magic, a PC-only 4X that has it’s share of fans (Troy) and detractors (Rob. Most other human beings). What most can agree on though is that WoM launched a wreck and, while much improved, is still kind of messy. Instead of working to make the game better, however, Wastelands has simply dropped WoM, as is, and gone off to work on a completely new game. That game is Planar Conquest. Now PQ is out and in need of love, but Wastelands is already talking about the next project – porting PQ back to the PC where it will, somehow, make up for all the mistakes of WoM.

At this point, I’m reminded of the stereotypical 70’s sitcom dad, beginning major projects throughout the house and leaving all of them unfinished. He starts on the leaky sink, the hole in the wall, the busted antenna and finishes none of them, actually leaving things in worse shape than when he found them. At this point, I just don’t trust Wastelands to do what is necessary – just focus on the one game and make it great.

Problem number two is price. I don’t usually ding games for cost because, well, my money is not your money and what’s expensive to you might be cheap to me and vice versa. Also, I’m a big believer in indie developers and I want them to make money. Preferably lots of money! That way they can, y’know, keep making games.

PQ, however, I feel has a pricing problem that goes beyond subjective affordability. The game is available right now for $12.99 on the App Store. On Steam, that’s a nice price, affordable even. On iPad, where even full featured experiences can go for $4.99, that is really super expensive. Still, for a good-sized game with a lot of depth and replay value, 13 bucks isn’t completely crazy.

But you’re not getting the full PQ for $12.99. Oh no. Of the seven available planes for play in the game, your thirteen bucks gets you three of them. One. Two. Three. Of the eight available races, only four are included in the base game – Humans, Undead, and two kinds of Elves. And each additional option must be purchased individually. Want to play as Dwarves on the fire world? That’s two more purchases right there. Each individual item is around $3 a pop. There is an option buy everything for $19.99. But then, I thought I’d already bought the whole thing for $13… This is insane. To put it in context, the standard iPhone game price is a Honda Civic. The base purchase for PQ is… Let’s say a BMW. The full game? That’s Lamborghini territory and this bad boy don’t drive like no Lambo

This is the definition of a B.S. move.

Most modern publishers have figured out that there are really two price models on the App Store. You can charge people one big sum and give them everything or you can charge them next to nothing and then nickel and dime them for content. Planar Conquest does both and it’s actually physically sickening to behold. To spend more than three times what most mobile games cost, only to see those little closed padlocks over multiple options is just maddening.

For their part, the developers say that you can play a full game of PQ without the upgrades, which is sort of true. I’d argue that a lot of what’s locked behind the paywall does affect gameplay. For example, you can only ever have three opponents, at most, in the game, because of the limits on available planes. So yeah, you can play the game – a somewhat crippled, clearly limited version.

All of that adds up to a purchase I just cannot recommend at this point. As always, YMMV, but personally, I’m going to have to keep waiting to realize my dream of a new Master of Magic, rising from the ashes of the old to something great and glorious.

Troy’s Additional Perspective

While I agree with everything Joshua wrote above, I do see a lot of potential here for Planar Conquest. Like a lot of people, I really wanted the developers to put the time into fixing Worlds of Magic, but I also understand (and respect) their rationale for moving on to PQ. Making a mobile game was part of their original Kickstarter goals and I think the devs deserve a lot of credit for sticking to it.

PQ isn’t perfect, but I’ve enjoyed my time with the game and the devs have done a lot to squash the bugs. When it moves back to PC, I’ll be waiting to give PQ another shot, cautiously optimistic about where the franchise is headed. Of course, if the series continues to be a bug-filled mess or the developers can’t stay focused on making the game great, I’ll rethink my leanings toward the game. But, for now, I think there’s a deep, modern, mobile 4X here that will stand out amongst the older or less developed strategy games on tablet. Worth enough to give it a look in any case. It’s only 12.99 on AppStore, which is cheap compared to most 4X games on PC, with in-app purchases that range from $2.99 each or as a complete package for $19.99.

TL;DR: Planar Conquest is a Master of Magic clone for the iPad that tries hard to be a complete 4X experience but falls short for me. With poor controls, overstuffed design, buggy gameplay and In-App Purchases, the game truly is a clone in the most sci-fi manner – an imperfect copy of the original with all of the baggage and none of the benefits.


You Might Like This Game If:

  • You like the idea of a 4X game on mobile
  • You like a game with a ton of different features
  • You can easily overlook things like graphics and functionality
  • You want to support the international indie gaming community

You Might Not Like This Game If:

  • You need a polished experience
  • You struggle with touchscreen interfaces
  • You want a lot of strategic depth
  • IAP makes you PO’d

Review Policy

Joshua has played for 15+ hours on an iPad Air 2 with a 64 GB hard drive.
Disclosure: Joshua was given a product key at no cost by the developer for the purposes of review.

53 thoughts on “Mobile Experience: Planar Conquest

  1. Just to provide a different perspective for consideration:

    Touch Arcade forum members are mostly gushing about the game. I’m guessing this is more due to “OMG a full 4X game on mobile! Rwar!!!” …. rather than looking at the game as one of many 4X games in comparison to others in the market (on both PC and mobile platforms). When you look at PQ from the latter vantage point (as you did), I think it’s fair to see a lot of shortcomings and judge it accordingly. I also think people on touch arcade are more likely to put up with mobile pricing shenanigans.

    Great review!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hello there,

    I’m Nullzone and one of the people on TA who are “gushing about the game”.
    First of all, let me assure you that “OMG Rawr!!!” is most definitely not part of my usual vocabulary.

    Naturally, I can only speak for myself.
    I am looking at PQ first and foremost as a MoM successor, something that I’ve been waiting for for 23 years.
    Overall, it is as close as you can get to MoM without porting it over 1:1. Which I wouldn’t want anyways, it’s 2016 after all. I think they did some good improvements – most notably on the UI – while still staying very true to the original.

    Does PQ have its problems?
    Sure, there are bugs to fix, things to improve, etc. But that’s par for the course these days. And luckily it’s not 1993 anymore, and I can get an update over the air within days after it’s completed; instead of having a game disc shipped out to me or what-have-you.
    Some of the initial release bugs were brutally bad – like having all my saves corrupted several times (fixed by now). But the devs are doing a great job at fixing those almost as fast as they come in; tipping my hat and all that.
    With the amount of fixes they already released, I do trust them to make this roll completely smooth in the near future.

    @Joshua, re Controls:
    I never had any issues with those, so I am curious where you had problems with them being “wonky” or unresponsive. Agreed, some things could be a bit more obvious, like the roadbuilding for Engineers. But even that I found nicely represented with the – albeit too small for my tastes – road icon. Not 100% intuitive, but that’s what the huge manual is for.

    About the AI:
    Depending on your experience and aptitude with 4X games, your mileage might vary.
    In my opinion it could do a better job, be more aggressive, etc. But then I am walking all over the computer opponents on hardest difficulty; while other players report that they struggle even against the easiest AI.
    And let’s be honest: Creating a sufficiently challenging AI for games as complex as this is a huge task; and most attempts in this department fall flat, so PQ isn’t alone with AI challenge issues.

    Mobile pricing shenanigans?
    That would be a micro-transaction riddled consumable-IAP fest, which we certainly do not have here.
    Is 33 Euros expensive for a mobile game? Sure, but the current price race to the bottom is not Wastelands’ fault.
    I do understand that some people won’t like the “I need to pay more?” approach Wastelands took with the extra content. But … imagine the opposite, full game without extra unlock at 30 bucks. I’ll leave this scenario as an exercise for the interested reader.

    Oh, and the price sure is daring for a rather unknown studio with a less than stellar backstory (to put things mildly about the disaster the WoM release apparently was) . But it’s in the range of other iOS games on a similar scale, like Warhammer Quest or XCOM. Nothing outrageous, at least to me personally. Admittedly I am a minority, as I wouldn’t mind paying 50 bucks for an excellent mobile game.

    Is it worth the “big bucks”? You decide. For me, it definitely is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Nullzone,

      First of all, welcome to eXplorminate, glad you stopped by and shared your opinion and eXperience. That is our goal here.

      I was heavily involved with editing of this review, and I played the game as well on my iPad so that I would know how to edit. I too had all kinds of issues, and I too am seriously bothered by pricing schemes/shenanigans/etc, and until recently, PQ was was actually even more expensive. At the time that I got my review key, the full game was $30, and that’s not a good thing. Is it a good game? I don’t hate it. Is it worth $30? Not even close. But like you, that is just my opinion.

      Again, thanks for sharing with us your thoughts and feelings, and I hope you’ll keep coming back.



      1. Thanks for the nice welcome, Nate!
        Price difference could be an exchange rate thing. I paid 33 Euros for the full thing, something I consider entirely appropriate for the huge scope of PQ. But then, I grew up with prices way higher than that (like spending today’s equivalent of 140 Euros on Final Fantasy IX) , so my perspective sure is different from most of the “Why isn’t this free? I’ll wait for a sale, etc” majority on iOS.

        Is it worth the price? Difficult question, to be honest.
        If you are willing to pay premium for a premium game, then yes. If you go by “common mobile pricing”, it should be 5 Euros, tops. I won’t elaborate on my thoughts on that, or I’d have to remove a lot of swear words in a proofreading ;)

        Having issues really depends on which version you played, I think.
        After launch, I was reporting bugs left and right, won’t deny that. Some of them where total gamebreakers, like the savegame corruption I mentioned. Others were pretty arcane, in the line of “when you click this button while you have specific unit X highlighted, and sacrifice a chicken during a new moon, the game will crash”. Stuff I don’t expect a small team to find during QA.
        The only thing I can hold against them there is that they didn’t do an open beta before release. There, most of those problems would have been found before launch.

        And yes, there are still quite a few open bugs reported. But compared to other games, and to the huge mess WoM apparently was, I think they are doing pretty good. And this time, they are really putting effort into getting things right, I have to give Wasteland that. The changelogs for each update are huge, and not just from filling them with cosmetic fixes, for sure.
        Also, I glanced over several WoM related discussions, and the developers now are a lot more responsive than they appear – from a brief investigation – to have been before.
        I dare say they learned their lesson from the WoM launch.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. @Nullzone,

      Thanks for the reply – apologies for sounding like I was ripping on the TA community – it wasn’t my intention (FWIW I read TA every day, lurk the forums, and try to keep a hand on the pulse of the community).

      I agree with you regarding pricing to be honest. We’re not going to get bigger premium games on mobile unless developers can charge premium prices for their games. As someone that’s been playing iOS games for years, it really doesn’t bother me that games are selling in this price range, or that they are requiring an IAP to unlock all the content.

      For others – think about it. Would you rather pay $30 and find out you don’t like the gameplay at all (and be out $30 bucks) … or pay $15 and realize that … but have the option to pay the rest if you do indeed like the game. It’s actually not a bad approach at all. We can argue about the total price or the balance between the initial price vs. total price …. but the approach is reasonable in my mind. And yes, I’ve bought almost everything for Warhammer Quest too :)


      1. Don’t worry, I didn’t feel offended or anything. I am a stickler for hard facts, and the generalisation the “OMG Rawr” part game across as just rubbed me the wrong way. :)
        Not that TA doesn’t have its share of this kind of people; but in general at least the discussions I participate in are pretty mature and not filled with inane kids who cannot spell and grew up with “internet speak” .

        Fully agree on the “no premium games without premium price” thing, we are in the same boat on that topic.

        And I actually agree with you on the last part. In my first comment on the TA thread, I was extremely sceptical of the whole thing, after stumbling on some of the, let’s say, not so nice things around the WoM launch. For a buck, or even 5, I would have bought it without hesitation; and no regrets if it turns out bad after an hour or so. For 30? I think about it at least twice.
        Offering a free version with, say, one Plane and two races to play with would help quite a lot I think. E.g for people like Philip below who are understandably reluctant to take a dive at this high – for mobile – a pricetag. Just like you write in your last comment “See my comment above regarding pricing …”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, I think Short Break and Wastelands took a good risk by charging a full price for PQ on iOS. Maybe doing that isn’t the best path to max profits for those too companies, but I hope it helps to pave the way for future companies to start putting full games for full prices on tablet.


    3. I would argue that comparing this game to Warhammer or XCOM is really unfair. Those are two major brands backed by large AAA developers. They can (and should) charge more.

      I can only speak to the costs in US terms. I think that context very much matters. I can get a $16 cheeseburger in NYC and consider that a good deal. You could charge half that in Milwaukee and people would riot in the streets. Costs on mobile are viewed differently than on Steam and that matters (whether it’s fair or not is another story, though I’d argue that the market sets the price, not the other way around).

      That said, this is why I don’t like to judge a game on price. We are all going to have different opinions based on a number of factors and they are all inherently valid. Whether or not you think it’s a good price for the content, I just don’t like how PQ goes about it and I felt the need to warn potential players that things were not exactly on the up and up. If I spent that money, personally, to THEN see a whole bunch of content behind the paywall, I’d be upset. I feel that’s part of my job as a reviewer.

      All of this, by the way, is backlash I anticipated when writing the review. I understand that I may have a minority opinion, but I’m OK with that. I don’t think we should all be out there pushing the same opinions. Discord is a good thing. It makes everything better. So long as everyone is respectful. Which I think you have been. :)


  3. Troy, if you defend and excuse PC like you did WoM I’m going to come through your computer screen and slap you. You tried to paint WoM as potentially an “all-time classic of the genre” and said “I have full confidence that the developers will eventually get all the wrinkles ironed out.” It isn’t and they didn’t. Your pie-in-the-sky review did a major disservice to your readers.

    Next time you need to review the game in front of you and not some nostalgia trip back to the mid-90s while dreaming of what might be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I have to agree. I didn’t have the breadth of gaming experience that I do now, so I probably wasn’t in a good position to judge the Worlds of Magic against its peers. As I look back at that review, I do have some regrets. I certainly wouldn’t write the same review today. I am interested in what PQ on PC looks like though. I still have confidence that they will iron out those wrinkles. We’ll have to wait and see.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. One year ago I was happy as I found as I search reviews of WoM: A website about 4X games! Wow! But after the review of WoM by Troy I was very disappointed: Hope and no analysis of the gameplay should be a game review?! All prestige of Explorminate were lost.

        Today I was searching for reviews of PC and I found this site again. You write “I didn’t have the breadth of gaming experience that I do now”. What does it mean? You give WoM 10 of 10 on Metacritic, you wrote no sentence of critic on Steam, a lot of people told you about the problems there and you said you have not enough gaming experience? Games would never be better if the gamers (ans esp the game reviewers) not tell the problems and mistakes of games.

        Btw: The MoM-Mod Caster of Magic 2.1 is out!


      2. @vicbrother

        First, I’ve gotten over 300 hours of enjoyment out of Worlds of Magic. I can’t ask any more of a game than that. So if I want to rate it as a 10/10 on Metacritic, I can do that. My account there is a personal one and separate from what I do here. If you didn’t have that much fun with WoM, that’s not on my account. I’m not responsible for your level of enjoyment; I can only talk about mine and that’s what I did in my review.

        Second, “breadth of gaming experience” is all about how many 4X games I’ve played since joining e4X back last March. I’ve played more and I know more now. e4X was 5 months old as a website at that time. We were all still trying to figure this out. Mistakes were made, and we’ve learned from them. Recognize that.

        Third, there are far, far worse 4X games on Steam than Worlds of Magic. You can check my other reviews along with some of Nate’s. Despite WoM’s problems, and we’ve certainly documented them, it isn’t even close to the worst game launched in 2015. And to their credit, the devs didn’t abandon the game like so many other game developers have. They’ve stuck with it.

        Fourth, I don’t mind honest and good-natured criticism like what blackadder gave me. He’s right, and I appreciate the way he approached it. But your response amounts to little more than a personal attack on me and my fellow staff members. I take exception to that. If you have a problem with what I wrote, fine. I’m a big boy and I can take it. But don’t blast everyone at eXplorminate because you happened to disagree with something I put in one of the 30 articles I’ve written here. There are plenty of good good people here doing honest work, and that work deserves respect. Everything I write falls on my shoulders, not theirs.


      3. @Troy:
        I’m new on your site. I don’t know how long Explorminate exist. I want to read a fair review of WoM and it doesn’t matter if there are other worse 4X games in the world. The thing is only: Is the review fair and objective or not? Is Explorminate a site with fair and objective reviews or not? If yes: I will visit the site again. If not: Bye. You can’t play it >300hours and give it the 10/10 metacritic and write an objective review then. Nobody can do this. At his point I know only one review of your site and for me the QA of Explorminate fails. It was my first visit and what should I think?
        That is my point: the quality of one review stands for the whole website, esp. for a first visitor.

        But its good to read that Explorminate learn a lot.


    2. I can’t let Troy take all the blame. Rob wanted it scored lower, and I, like Troy, have fond memories of MoM, and I was hoping that WoM would improve significantly. it didn’t. Did they fix a lot of the bugs, many, but the game itself hasn’t really improved.

      So, I am also at fault. But before you jump out of my screen and slap me, be advised, I will dodge.


    1. See my comment above regarding pricing …

      Something I’ve seen iOS games do more frequently than PC games is the notion of buying the game cheap with an IAP to unlock more content. There are a lot of iOS games that even have completely free versions with an IAP to purchase the full game. This is actually a BETTER situation than you see in many PC platforms and harkens back to the days where you could get a “demo” version of game to see not only if it would work on your computer but also if you liked the basic gameplay + aesthetics of the game. I’d love to see more games go this route – and I respect developers that want to put their games out there in such a format.


      1. I agree, Oliver. I think that’s a good way to do things and I have no problem with IAP in that context.

        I actually really wish that’s how PQ had done things. Release the game in this state (even with less features, honestly) at a low price to try and then a larger price to buy.


  4. I so do hope that the PC version will be improved and finally be what the devs promised. After all, owners of WoM get PC for free. Right at this point I do not yet see what the big improvements will be. Why should one play this vs. WoM?


  5. @kleinerposer

    That’s a good question and I’m not sure I have a great answer. What the devs would tell you, I think, is that WoM was broken in ways they could not fix due to a combination of lack of experience, some poor decisions and a bit of bad luck. They would say that PQ is intended to be the better version of WoM, the game they really wanted to make in the first place, now with the seasoning that only time can provide.

    In reality, I’m not sure that PQ is more polished, so much as different – it has its own strengths and failings. They’ll be porting PQ over to the PC with the hopes of giving us the game that WoM initially promised. The game (or at least the idea of the game) that a lot of us fell in love with. I describe myself as cautiously pessimistic about this, mostly because I’m not sure the devs will ever sit down for long enough to commit to making the game great rather than good enough.

    But we’ll see. And believe it or not, I’m rooting for them.


    1. Continued from Twitter at Nasarog’s request.

      There are a lot of inconsistencies, untruths, and bias in this article. I’ll quickly list them

      –The author states that nodes are not guarded. This is 100% false and even a quick glance at the mechanics would show that. Most likely, if there ever were no guardians at a node he found, it was because an AI cleared it and hadn’t had a chance to build a siphon on one yet. Someone who spends a good amount of time with the game would know that.

      –The author states there’s multiplayer mode in the game. There isn’t and Wastelands has made that clear. If the author had checked it out at all, he would have known. I’m guessing he made no attempt. It makes me wonder how thoroughly he researched his piece. WI is waiting until PQ launches on all platforms to create a multi-platform multi-player system. PQ will be the first 4X ever to link PC, iPad, Android, XBOX, and Playstation through multiplayer. Does the author mention that? Nope. It’s pretty big news, and something that should be in a humongous review like this. Why is something like that missing? It makes me wonder if he even bothered to learn much about the game.

      –The author belabors bugs (like the tutorial bug) that were fixed as fast as Apple would let them fix it. Why bring it up? It smacks of bias and an intent to damage the developer’s reputation. What game launches without bugs? All games need some patching after launch, and why bring up something that was fixed almost a month ago? It’s not relevant to a prospective customer’s experience today. And speaking of bugs, does the author commend the dev for fixing them so fast? Nope. Kinda one-sided. It also makes me suspect the author didn’t play much past the first patch or two.

      –The author beleaguers the controls. This is nonsense. The controls and UI are actually pretty good, and an experienced tablet gamer would know this. Again, the devs deserve a commendation for porting a full PC game to tablet and getting the controls and UI done so good. What 4X games have better UI and controls for the iPad? The author didn’t mention any.

      –I also notice that all the screenshots show only a few turns. Why is that? A good review would have taken the game into the 100’s of turns to see what performance was like as the map fills with cities and units. No mention of endgame performance at all. Again, it makes me wonder how much the reviewer actually played the game.

      –The reviewer makes it seem like you can just spam cities. There are mechanics in PQ that make it harder to do that than on the PC version. I’m wondering if the reviewer can identify them for us. If he spent a good amount of time playing the game, he should know. They’re quire obvious.

      –The reviewer states the devs moved on from Worlds of Magic. What is that? PQ is WOM. If the reviewer had maybe done his his homework, perhaps he would have known that there’s already a mobile game out there called The World of Magic. There was a desire to avoide a trademark and copyright dispute on the part of Short Break studios, so the name was changed. Did the author mention any of that in his Homeric epic of a review? Nope. He just slammed the devs and moved on. Very biased.

      –The author seems to fault Wastelands for taking WOM/PQ to tablet. This was a promise they made in their original Kickstarter. Why criticize them for keeping a promise? That’s crazy! It reveals a deep seeded bias against the developer, and again an intention to inflict damage on what’s left of their good name.

      –Why the fixation on price so much? What mechanic does that affect in the game? And the reviewer pretty much lies completely when he says half the game is locked behind a paywall. You get all the events and spells and monsters and all kinds of other things with the exception of the Kickstarter bonus items in the base game for 12.99. Did the author know that much of the in-app purchases such as the Hussar Charge and Veterans Packs were Kickstarter bonus items? I doubt it. He sure didn’t mention it. It might have provided some context for the DLC in the first place. But it’s clear the reviewer wasn’t the least bit interested in presenting a balanced assessment of PQ. The only parts of the “base” game one could say is locked behind a paywall is the 4 races and 4 planes. Since the author goes out of his way to make sure we understand the races and planes and everything about the game are just bland, what’s he missing without those races and planes in the first place? He gets practically everything in the $40 Steam version for thirteen bucks. Boo-hoo, what a ripoff, right?

      –The author complains that he signs a non-aggression pact with an AI, then he betrays that AI when some of the AI troops enter his ZOC, and then wonders why the AI wouldn’t treat with him anymore. Seriously? That’s weird to you? You betrayed an AI and so the AI doesn’t trust you anymore. That’s odd??? Don’t get me wrong. The diplomacy system is weak, but this criticism is so bonkers. To me, it looks like everything was working as intended.

      –The author complains about how all the spells are the same, that acid arrow and fire arrow are the same. First, ask the developers that work on Magic: The Gathering about the importance of “spell cycles.” Second, he only mentions low level spells. Those are similar, but the high level spells are all very different. Why not mention any of the high tier spells? Third, if the author had spent some time with the game, he would have noticed that some monsters and units, especially high tier monsters and units are immune to certain types of damage. So in a good number of instances, the fire arrow will do zero damage and the acid arrow will do a bunch. And vice-versa. The fact that this was not mentioned in the spell section again suggests that the author rarely engaged with high level monsters and units, which again puts into question how much of his 15 hours were actively engaged with learning the game and how many of those hours were spent listening to butt-hurt gamers who either couldn’t figure out the PC version or had only heard about how “bad” everything was with WOM.

      –Finally, the author utterly and completely fails to compare PQ to any other games on the iPad. How does this game compare to other 4X titles available on the AppStore? Good or bad? I’m willing to listen. Why was it not addressed at all. It makes me wonder if the author has any experience at all playing strategy games on a tablet. The words he uses to denigrate this game are all relative comparisons. So what is he comparing this game to? What other, modern 4X is there available on the iPad that isn’t some DosBox retread that is so much better than PQ? It seems that the author keeps going back to judging this game against PC games. I don’t think that’s a fair comparison, do you?

      There. You guys wanted me to come on here and talk about it, now i have. I have serious doubts the author took this assignment seriously. The whole piece seems hastily put together by someone who didn’t want to write it in the first palce who mainly learned about the game from someone who had an axe to grind. There are gaping holes all over the place and half truths held up as damning evidence against Wastelands, especially when it comes to price, which was all about Short Break. Why does Short Break get a pass and Wastelands get this kind of disrespectful and half-assed treatment? It just screams the author had a vendetta against the developer and saw his chance, or there was some behind the curtains advisory whispering about how awful WI and PQ are and the author didn’t know any better.


      1. Hi Amber,

        First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to write down all your thoughts here in the article. As Nate said, it would have taken forever to do this over Twitter. You obviously have some strong feelings about the game and I really appreciate you taking the time to communicate your opinion.

        I’m not going to respond to every criticism and, further, I have no interest in getting into a back and forth argument with you (or anyone, really) over the Internet. I would, however, like the opportunity to respond to some of your comments.

        I will say, I think it’s interesting that you accuse my article of making unfair, biased, and unfounded accusations about the game – and that you choose to communicate that by making unfair, biased, and unfounded accusations about the author: me.

        I have no axe to grind about Wastelands or PQ. In fact, I’m on record (in our Q&A with the developer) as saying that I was rooting for them and their game. I was genuinely disappointed by my time with PQ. I compared it to Master of Magic because I wanted to make it clear that I loved that game and so I very much wanted to love PQ. I didn’t. You’re clearly disappointed that I didn’t enjoy the game. I’m disappointed about that too.

        As to your comments that I didn’t spend enough time with game, perhaps. I spent around 3 weeks playing PQ and then another 3 writing the article itself. I don’t think I make any secret of the fact that I found the game to be, essentially, unplayable. Is there some magical rainbow of goodness at the 100+ hour mark? I suppose there might be, but the game was so buggy, so badly designed, I found it impossible to get there.

        I’m certainly not perfect and it does look like I misread the information about multiplayer. It wasn’t a part of the game I intended to review and I clearly made a mistake in listing it. I’m upset that I made that error but at least I feel I’ve learned a lesson for the future. We’ll edit it out of the article and I regret any issues encountered because of my mistake.

        A review is just one person’s opinion. I’m sorry you don’t agree with what I wrote, but I can only write my own experience, not anyone else’s. While my name is on the piece and I take full responsibility for its contents, eXplorminate works as a team of writers, many of whom also played the game, and the article includes their insights and opinions. This is also why we included Troy’s section of the article – we wanted to make sure the game was getting a fair shake.

        As I said, I’m glad you felt like you could comment on the article. It’s very important to me that eXplorminate be an open, welcoming space where everyone is allowed to express their feelings. While you may not have the same perspective as me when it comes to games and gaming, I am sure there are others on this site whose work you will appreciate and I encourage you to keep reading them.

        Again, thank you for taking the time to read the article and share your opinions. You may find it hard to believe, but I really do appreciate your criticisms.

        – Joshua


      2. I just wanted to point out the irony here. You’ve made a mistake about multiplayer and are “patching” the review. And yet, you sacrafice one paragraph of this review to harp on a bug, that was present in the first version of the game and subsequently removed in the very first patch, as soon as possible. Which happened a month ago and has no bearing on any reader of the review…


        1. Hi Jacek,

          If an addendum is added, all issues will be addressed. The review will be “patched” in that way, not changed.

          To address what you wrote, Jacek. We have 2 additional means of following up with reviews. One is called an Audible eXtension. It is a post review podcast that might come out within a week or two after review or as late as a few months (depending on the state of the game). Our second method is a reeXamination, and that is a (written) follow-up review for 4X games that have changed through additional content.

          You are welcome to check them out when they arrive.

          An interesting aside – This type of reaction has happened before, and that was with StarDrive 2 when it came out. Our writer Dave, had very positive things to say about it, and he was skewered by people that hated and still had issues with the franchise after StarDrive 1 wasn’t completed to their liking. Funny enough, that is exactly how this feels to us.

          I will gladly step in front of this, and tell you that I feel that this is exactly the same thing. Will you agree with me? Unlikely. Am I going to make you mad? Maybe. Am I trying to anger you or anyone else? No.

          Here goes –

          Troy is a huge fan of Master of Magic and Worlds of Magic, and because of his love for that (WoM – unfinished “with issues”) title, he elected not to review Planar Conquest (which I agree with). Joshua, another huge fan (of MoM) stepped up to the plate. Did I, or anyone else, for that matter “make” him write it? Certainly not. He was and still is genuinely excited for the game, problems and all. But during the review process, he complained about issues. So, I fired up my copy and played it for 12 hours consecutively (back and forth flight) and maybe another 20-25 hours on my brand new iPad while vacationing in late Feb through mid March. I saw many issues and some that he didn’t mention. I went on-line looking for help. Found none. Tried steam on old forums. Nothing. E-mailed Troy and asked and he got back to me with suggestions from the devs. There were no updates from the iOS store, and I looked.

          So, the question you need to ask, what’s wrong with our copies? We got review copies. Maybe review copies never got updated, but I got a $12.99 version I believe. So we reviewed what we had. If we got a broken game, is that our fault? I think not.

          I stand by what he wrote. We will certainly address the issues brought up here during future follow-up coverage, but if a game (Worlds of Magic) is abandoned, and please please please don’t tell me it is not abandoned on Steam, because it is the definition of abandoned, why should we act like it isn’t. Planar Conquest, as the devs put it, is a whole new game. Promises of new versions of an old game under a different title smells of past activities in “Denmark” to me.

          Anyways, that’s my take on it. We do our best to give comprehensive reviews and explain our reasoning and experiences. Obviously not every will agree, especially devoted fans when we don’t sing the praises of their titles. Sometimes it’s warranted, often it is not. We strive to provide a good product. So, if you’re up for it, give us a chance. If you’re not, we’re sorry you feel that way. As for us, like Troy said, we’re growing. We’re a new site. We hone our skills with every review. We’re all volunteers. None of us gets paid in anything but reads and the personnel satisfaction of well written and hopefully, well received work. We’re certainly not professionals. But anyways…

          Again, thank you for you time, and please come back and talk to us in the future. Or not. Your call.



      3. Hi Amber,
        I understand your issues with the review. I agree that more thorough research into the game would definitely have been helpful. But I don’t believe the author had any malicious intent towards WI. Reviews are subjective so should be taken with a grain of salt!

        “WI is waiting until PQ launches on all platforms to create a multi-platform multi-player system. PQ will be the first 4X ever to link PC, iPad, Android, XBOX, and Playstation through multiplayer.”

        I’m a part of the NeoCrux team, working as community manager for our game GalaCollider, which is currently in Alpha stage. I thought I would point out that GalaCollider is in fact already making use of cross-platform multiplayer! We will release with at least Linux, Windows and OSX desktop support as well as tablets (iOS & Android to start). Later our goal is to also format it for phones and possibly other devices. GalaCollider is designed as a tablet game at its core, not a desktop game that we port to tablets. So we’ve been playing and testing a lot with our fingers on the tablets!

        I honestly thought this was a good review of PQ, and was interested in hearing the author’s take on the game, but I appreciate you pointing out its shortcomings. I’m happy a game of this caliber has made it to iPad, and plan to play it as soon as I get some free time.

        -Elijah aka Licoricefish


  6. Ah, discourse!

    I have not played either WoM or PC but I have been following it since KS days (why have I not played it, you ask? Because the original DRM-free version *still* has not materialized. But I digress).

    Amber, that was a very interesting read. You state your case passionately and succintly. I will be watching the ensuing conversation with interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. *Eats popcorn*

    Entertaining stuff.

    Seems to me that if you compare this to other 4x games in general, it’s not a very good game. But, and this is a huge BUT, if you compare it to games of this genre ON THE IPAD, then it is something worthy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Planar Conquest is WoM. The work on WoM never stopped. The name was changed, the reasons were described in one of the comments above, I guess.


  8. @Nate – You and your reviewer do know Wasteland is on record saying they’re going to be giving copies of PQ to all of those folks who bought copies of WoM, and that’s the reason WoM is basically abandoned on Steam. (Source with full press release:

    Also: I have no idea what’s wrong with your review copies. Most of the problems I see in the review I haven’t had for multiple months.


    1. Hey Nick,

      I am aware, but as someone said above, you have to treat them as separate games. What they are saying now, or in the past two months, doesn’t excuse the silence that was there for months.

      On the topic of my copy – I have no idea either. It hasn’t had a single mandatory or otherwise update since I installed it. So, let me ask you a question, what would you do? Wait for a game to be complete before reviewing it? Or find a cut-off point and review it then?

      WoM – Should we have waited until… When?
      PQ – What about this one? Waited for 6 months, a year before it’s ready?

      Unfortunately, that doesn’t work like that. As a fan, I can certainly understand you and the others, because I too have passion games/projects/whatnot. But as a reviewer, we review what we have. They sent us a review copy, so we review the copy they sent us. They could have got in touch with us and let us know that major updates were coming. They didn’t. I asked about getting access to the whole game? They said it was out of their hands and it doesn’t work like that, but I could always buy it on my own. So, there is that.

      Again, lose/lose. win/win or somewhere in between.

      Thanks for the comments.



      1. Wait. The game came out in February. You publish your review in April. And you never update your game between that? And you thought that wouldn’t matter to your audience? You know fanbois are gonna pick up on that straight away.

        You guys even mentioned PQ got updates on one of your podcasts. You never asked the devs about if something was wrong with your copy?


        1. Hi,

          I think you missed something I wrote. We DID ask. We also reviewed the version at the time of the cut-off date. I specifically mentioned this in my reply too. At some point, you have a cut-off and you review the game at the state. We also have follow-ups to out reviews. A supplementary podcast called Audible eXtension, as well as a reeXamination if we feel a game has changed enough to warrant it.

          I don’t want to write more on this at the moment, because people might misconstrue my responses as being snarky and confrontational. If you look at what I wrote, and look at some of the other things on our site (not saying you haven’t mind you), you’ll see that we don’t stop at just the review.




      2. I understand the difficulties of reviewing games, especially ones as large as PQ.

        The reason I commented is that I’m concerned about the accuracy of the review based on when the review was released vs when the game was released. What version were you on? If it was updated, was the experience better? Perhaps eXplorminate should preface (or end) the reviews with what version was reviewed. That should clear up a lot of the nasty comments about bugs that don’t exist, and accuracy claims.

        Regarding WoM, if you’re going to comment about it being abandoned without the followup about PC folks getting PQ for free that’s just unfair to the developers. Is WoM abandoned? Yes, per the devs. Are they screwing the people who bought WoM? Nope. WoM wasn’t ever out for Mobile, so I wouldn’t expect PQ to be free on iOS. That was a comment about your comment above, not the review.

        I don’t agree with a lot of what was said in the review, but I expect it’s different strokes and all that. I’m more used to the control schemes and oddness on iOS, and I suspect that’s why I have a much easier time with PQ than the reviewer did. Overall, it was a good, solid review. Just because I don’t agree with doesn’t change that.


    2. @Nick: WoM owners getting a free copy of PQ would be something we would mention in the PC review of Planar Conquest. What Josh, who did a fine job on this review as far as I’m concerned, is referring to is that the PC version of Worlds of Magic never got any updates. Some of the things that made the game maddening to play such as looping sound effects shouldn’t be hard to fix. It would have engendered good will among the fans if they had still made at least a token effort to improve the WoM experience while working on PQ. The devs went months without updating the forum. It would have been nice if they had made the effort to keep the community more informed. I think that’s a fair criticism.


      1. @TheBoss: I believe wholeheartedly that Josh was being honest and fair about his experiences with the game. I fully support him and his review, and it’s no secret I really like this game. I think he did everything he could to give the game a fair shake. I don’t believe, based on what I know, that your characterization of Josh and Nate is correct. But no matter. There are other reviews of PQ out there, so use this one as only one part of a mosaic to form an opinion about the game.

        We do appreciate all the responses we’ve gotten. We love to see a passionate and engaged community. I see all of this as only a good thing for eXplorminate in the future. :)




      2. @Troy: It wasn’t really mentioned int he review other than in passing. It was @Nate’s comment above that irked me about it, since it was about WoM being abandoned and no followup about the PQ giveaway.

        I have no problems with the review (as I said just above you) other than being concerned that it’s not accurate since no one but the reviewer and editor know what the version was that was reviewed. I don’t agree with the review, but that can be said for a lot of things. I think Josh did a pretty great job with a game this large.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. I find it annoying that people keep attacking eXplorminate and ‘The author’. These guys were kind enough to take the time and offer an comprehensive review of Planar Conquest. There isn’t many reviews of it but this review is inline which others such as Pocket Tactics. It’s totally fair if people have a different perspective of Planar Conquest and they should definitely share their opinions. However calling eXplorminate bias or having a vendetta is crossing way to many lines.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The personal attacks go too far. Definitely. But I think questioning their accuracy and methodology is fair play. If the reviewer never updated his game from launch, can the reader have any confidence in this review? Does this review reflect the kind of game that’s now available to purchase?


      1. That is very fair and I completely agree with your point. I did say the we have additional aspects to reviews, but let’s disregard them at the moment. How many of the major sites EVER look at any product they review? Not too many I would surmise. They review whatever it is they got. They don’t think twice about it after release and certainly don’t engage their comment section. Again, this isn’t in our defense, but we really really really care about the genre and the community. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t do this.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Hey folks, Just wanted to clear something up here. I absolutely updated my game with every patch they released. I mention in the article that the game is in MUCH better shape than what I got when I first downloaded it. The developers have absolutely shown dedication to fixing the game that was released.

    I felt it was important to review the game as it was throughout my entire experience with it and not just the state it is in now. Imagine if you bought the game at launch and experienced these issues, I think you’d be pretty pissed if I glossed over them, as if they never happened. The bugs, even ones that no longer exist, are part of what it was like to play PQ. They tell you the history of the game, where it is, where you should expect it to go. If it was perfect from launch, I’d say that. By the way, nothing is perfect from launch, doesn’t mean you get a free pass for putting out a broken experience. People who want to misconstrue me as biased can cherry pick the article for issues, but I promise you, I put nice stuff in there, too. Things that are getting conveniently missed/skimmed over.

    I find it kinda funny, actually. The majority of my time in writing the article, what I spent the most work on in terms of hours and effort, was in finding ways to compliment the game so that my review would not feel biased against PQ.

    Oh well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joshua, if the criticisms seem harsh it is only because the expectations are high. Take it as a compliment, if you will.

      Some people went over the line a bit with sweeping generalizations and personal insinuations, but I still find the level of civility here to be OVER NINE THOUSAND times higher than most internet discussions. People are passionate and not everybody can express themselves in English as well as they’d like.

      In the end your review has done exactly what I’d ask: several people (you and those who edited the review) put their time and effort into giving me a reasonably comprehensive picture of a game and touch on some of its character, strengths, and weaknesses. Then lots of people chime in and help sand off the rough edges and point out factual mistakes, hopefully without too much poop-flinging.

      So from one gamer to another – thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Seconding what Bitgamer and Boss wrote:
    Ripping apart arguments/points by providing good counters is ok.
    Personal attacks, aka “ad hominem”? My opinion of those is best summed up with two acronyms: STFO & GTFO.

    With that ouf the way:
    Re-reading your review, and particularly the part about combat, I am honestly curious what you’d have to say about some of the hilariously broken combat mechanics :)

    Example? Sure:
    While in MoM you could create ridiculously overpowered and invincible units, it took time and effort.
    In PQ, you can have that right from turn 1.
    “Circle of Protection” gives you 10 normal (non-magical) damage resistance, right from the start. Enough to let you win every battle with a single unit until enemies do enough damage to get past it.
    By that time, you should at least have “Earth’s Embrace”, maybe even “Invulnerability”. I cannot recall right away the exact effect of EE, it’s similar to Protection Circle.
    Invuln does what it says on the tin: total invulnerability, for 3 combat turns. Followed up with Protection Circle – or simply recast once you can afford it – it let’s you kill even the toughest opponents without breaking a sweat, with a single unit of your own.

    Frankly, this is boring as hell. And after figuring it out and finetuning things, I now avoid this strategy completely, as it totally breaks the game.

    If you want some more info: Tooting my own horn, I know, but here’s my analysis:

    Finally, I think it’s worth mentioning that there are several other pretty broken strategies you can follow, e.g. Summon spam.
    Do they take away from the enjoyment? In my opinion, only somewhat. I had lots of fun figuring them out and polishing them, then moving on to the next one.
    Sure, they make PQ absurdly easy. But noone says you have to use them all the time. If you want a fun romp across the countryside, go for the overpowered stuff. If you feel like taking on a challenge, do something else.

    There are so many different approaches – I have a “no magic at all” playthrough on my list, for the truly extreme experience – that a few hilariously overpowered ones don’t make much of a difference against the AI. And let’s be honest, we all like to have the biggest shovel in the sandbox sometimes ;)

    For Multiplayer, those will need to be adressed, though. Otherwise I predict much wailing and gnashing of teeth :)


  12. You can call your god right now. I play this game on an iphone 6s plus and it doesnt hinder me at all, perfectly playable.

    I find it quite enjoyable to be able to play a game like this from within my pockets at any time of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I read some early reviews that mentioned that this game was unpolished with UI problems. How is this game now that it has been patched more than a few times?


  14. I have read the complete review and all comments, and I think that the review is spot on from my experience of the game. I appreciate the feedback that has been left and the courteous manner in which the debate has been discussed, but I had asked for a refund because of on overall feeling which echoed many of the items (more eloquently) described in the review.

    Thanks for the time and effort for the review and responses.

    Liked by 1 person


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