Now, this is a golden oldie. Defender of the Crown was the killer app for the Amiga, a graphical showpiece so impressive that it helped convert a lot of eager users to Commodore’s brand spanking new platform.
So, can Defender of the Crown impress as much as it did upon its original release in this new iOS incarnation?
Well, while it can never dazzle as much as it did, there is still a solid and enjoyable game here, and the developer has done a stand up job of the conversion, although a few bugs do spoil the party somewhat.
The game tasks you with the job of leading the Saxon knights against the invading Normans. To do this you must conquer opponents castles, win land, joust and go on raids.
There is a main overview map, and you must decide on each turn what actions to take, so on one turn you could partake in a spot of jousting while on another you could try to demolish an enemy stronghold. Each time you go off on a raid you take men from your own lands, leaving them vulnerable, so it really is a balancing act.
Most actions result in playing mini games, and it is here that the game does fall down a bit. The jousting game in particular is lamentable with no real feeling of control, while the raiding game, where you fight in a side scroller, is little better. The main castle taking game is far better and it proves pretty satisfying to take down a big fortress.
Ok, so the whole tactical element is pretty simplistic and is dominated by army size, but that isn’t to say it’s not fun. Building an army, buying catapults and getting medieval on your enemies is a nice way to waste the time away, and the fact that you have four different characters, each with different attributes, to choose from adds a nice bit of longevity to the title.
This iOS version (reviewed on iPad) is really well done, and I feel this is a respectful port, and one that stays true to the original, adding a clever control system to replace the mouse of the original. The graphics, while obviously not as good as they once were, still maintain the look and style of the classic release.
There are a couple of bugs in the game at the moment. We have heard reports of entire armies disappearing, which is not something we could reproduce, but we did notice that figure for our army was a bit inconsistent. There were also a couple of occasions in some of the mini games where the iPad didn’t detect some taps on the screen.
The bugs aside, what you are getting here is a faithful port of the classic Amiga game, one that has obviously had a lot of love and care put into it. If you have fond memories of the original game, then you will find a lot to like here. While some of the mini games are not very good, and the main strategy element too simplistic, this is a game that can be said to be greater than the sum of its parts, as it is a solid and fun little time waster, filled with nostalgia for old players and decent retro gaming for new players.