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From the makers of the hit PC series, Anno makes it to the small screen for the first time! But can a PC game be adapted and keep all the great detail and quality of the PC version?!
Story: It's the 18th century and its your job to appease every one of your Queens requests. This evolve around settling on an island and colonising it. As well as mining the natural resources of the island and cultivating crops and animals. Building shipyards and creating ships help you discover more islands on the map. However, it isn't all plain sailing (pun intended). For as you travel the high seas, pirates, beard and all, will attack ye and take over your islands and all ye booty!
With each level, you start with one or two starting missions which you have to complete before being given some more. It is done on a chapter basis, which advances the story with each mission passed. Can you appease your Queen, fight the pirates and keep your town folk happy?!
Visuals: This game utilises the split screen of the DS beautifully. The top screen holding all the important information you need; money, building materials, population, finances. The bottom screen used for everything else with using the DS touch-screen; building industrial and homes, pathways, creating a path for your ships to follow when sent out to explore. Plus moving about your soldiers and attacking enemies.
The graphics are really clear, bright and hold decent detail for the DS. This game originally came out in 2007 and I think they have done a great job with the visuals. It's simple but yet still really effective and fun. The graphics of the people you see running about doing their jobs is a little fuzzy but to be honest, whilst your busy making sure everything is running smoothly, you hardly pay attention to the little guys. One of my favourite things about this game is the little storybook like pictures they have used to link each mission up and explain the story really well. It has a good narrative to it and running alongside the cool storybook pictures, really does add a lot to the game. When you do battle with the enemies, the top screen does flip to a battle screen. It is quite simple looking again but does the job well showing you how many guys you and your enemies are losing. Also, when there is a fight going on, you can see like smoke and dust etc surrounding the building that you are fighting in, which I think is another neat added detail.
Audio: The cool swashbuckling music as you would expect in a game set upon the open seas, really is fun. It's not going to blow your mind as this game is about fun and not being overly serious. The music throughout is average, I mean there is music for all the different situations you find yourself in and used in the storybook parts and it isn't bad music. Your just not going to remember it and to be honest, in handheld games you very rarely need the volume on as everything that is spoken is nearly always written in text on the screen to read.
Gameplay: The Anno game series is all about colonising and completing missions. However, to complete the missions you need to have a decent sized colony to bring in the money and crops/lumber. You start off with a marketplace on your island, which is where you can store your goods and central part for your people. You then need to build houses so people will come and populate your island. Just having houses will not keep your folk happy. They will ask for various other buildings that have to be placed within radius to there house. These buildings include: chapel, tavern, school, bath house, theatre to name a few.
When you start out, the people will only want for a few things, however as there happiness is met, they will advance into different classes. With each advance, there houses upgrade and there demands will become more. The majority of these are easy to meet but you may get to a class where you will struggle to meet due too your island not holding the right items to mine or having the correct soil to grow certain crops. So you will then need to do trading to get what your people most desire. If your island can cultivate a certain crop quite well and any goods you have excess off, you can trade for what you want/need. Sometimes, the trader will want something specific in return for what you want. Now your probably thinking, 'this sounds hard work keeping them all happy, why should I do it!' Simple really, keep them happy and you can charge more on taxes! Yep, there is a tax system which is where nearly all your money comes from. The more advanced your people are class wise, the more you can charge in taxes. There is a simple screen for how much you charge your people taxes, where you use the stylus to drag the bar up and down depending on how much you can and want to charge them.
Crops and food are important for your people. You can build several different types of buildings to fulfil your food need. From cattle farms to a simple fishery on the water. To qualify to build the buildings, you need lumber and other building materials (iron and stone). You can set up a lumber shed anywhere and mark an area for trees to grow so there is enough for the lumberjack to cut. The iron and stone can only be mined at mountains and the iron has to be from a mountain that has the iron mark hovering above the mountain. It is really easy to see which ones hold the iron and when you click on your island it will tell you what goods your island holds and what is best to grow on the island. With the iron and stone mines, you also need to have a stone mason near the stone mine and iron monger near the iron mine. If you don't have these buildings nearby their respective mines, then no work will be done and you wont have the materials you need. As well as needing the materials to build buildings, you also need gold. So again, keep your folks happy!
There are many other industries you can develop on your islands, which include; cotton, cloth, spices, tea, honey, cocoa, sugar, chocolates, diamonds to name some of them. Each information screen when you click on the buildings will explain what buildings need to be close to which others and also, what crops you need to make certain items. For example, to make chocolates, you need a cocoa plantation first, this can only be built on an island that can sustain it, honey meadow and a chocolate factory building. Diamonds can only be mined at mountains that have the hovering diamond icon over the top of. Once you have your diamonds, you then need a jewellers building to turn them into jewellery. The most important building in the whole of the game is the warehouse. You have to have one of these built to be able build on your island and store you goods. It's easiest to have many warehouses placed so goods will travel quicker and you can get more done in a shorter time span. All warehouses and industrial buildings must be connected by roads, otherwise the industrial buildings will not work and you wont receive any goods. All buildings except homes can be upgraded to hold more goods, so you don't need to worry too much about running out of space to store goods.
You need to keep your people and your industries safe, so you need to make sure you have soldiers. Solders can be placed at warehouses, boatyards, military buildings and outposts. They can easily be moved between these buildings as well as being sent out to attack any invading forces. Warships can be built at the boatyards, which you can then fill with soldiers and sent to attack an enemy island. When you reach the enemy island, you have to turn your ship into an outpost so your soldiers can board the island. Soldiers can only be created by building a barracks. You can upgrade soldiers and warships by building an academy and selecting which one you wish to upgrade. This is quite expensive, so watch your finances.
There are two modes to play, story mode and continuous play. You should start with story mode without a doubt. Story mode's first mission is effectively a tutorial explaining everything and showing you how to place buildings, keep your people happy and just really is very important for a first time player. It also explains the in game help you get from the guy who they call 'the advisor'. This guy is someone who will always stay on your top screen and will give you hints and tips. Something cool about this guy is depending on how good or bad you are doing, his mood changes. So if your doing bad, he looks really worried. If your flying, then he's all hunky dory. This guy is there to help, however if you don't need him I find that with him being on the top screen, I don't look at him much so don't read what he says when I'm playing the game. Continuous play is exactly what its says, you can play for as long as you like/get bored.
Controls: This game is all done using the stylus and they use it really well. From simple scrolling along your island, to switching to the world map and plotting where you want your ships to go next. It doesn't feel like a chore using the stylus and they haven't used to just as a gimmick like other games have done in the past. In fact, the use of the stylus in the way they have done has made this game run so smooth and incredibly user friendly. It really is turn on the DS and your off playing. Nothing needs to be learn as it's so simple! One annoying part, although small, when building path ways it does have this annoying feature where if you accidentally tap the screen when trying to scroll, it will center that part of the area and start building the path way in the wrong area. So you then need to scroll back again and start again. Minor annoyance in an otherwise great game set up.
Conclusion: I enjoy the games where you become a 'God' to people and make sure there lives are good or bad, depending on what you like...So when I saw an Anno game for the DS, I figured lets give it ago! I haven't played any Anno game before but knew of the series as my brother played one of the PC games for all of 5mins. But I knew these type of strategy games are usually very similar and really enjoy the genre. I was actually really shocked when I played this game as it totally exceeded my expectations. I imagined poor graphics, short story and not much fun. Instead I got impressive graphics, a nice interesting story line and a game that gets me hooked every time I restart it. It's a game where it holds you fully but it's not over complicated like some similar genre games can be. They took this PC game and just rewrote it for a DS gamer, taking out the unimportant over the top detail stuff and making it simple and yet just as addictive as the PC game. I have played a DS version of a another PC series of the strategy genre and it felt incredibly bogged down and just a chore. This game, Anno 1701, shows how it could be done not just the right way, but in a really good way. If you want an interesting game just to pass the time and yet still want exert brainpower, I totally recommend Anno 1701 and create your ideal colony with taxes, pirates et al.
Currently available form Amazon for £14.99 (as of July 28 2013)
Anno 1701 is a strategy game for the Nintendo DS. The game is a sim type game, which relies on an isometric layout to show the country which you run and develop.
In essence you control a population of people and have to please the Monarch by completing certain missions (there are fifteen missions), defending your country, attacking other countries and keeping your population happy. Keeping your population gets harder as they become more demanding and want more facilities, but you are able to charge them higher taxes then to help build up your empire.
When building your properties, such as housing, entertainment, industry, defences, and so on, you have to work as you would in Sim City, by zoning the city in an efficient way so that supplies can be directed to the right place. Like Sim City, if you fail to please your population, your income from taxes will fall and the island will stop progressing and have no money to improve.
You can play the game in either story mode or in continuous mode. The story mode allows you to work through the game in stages giving instructions as you go, which is a very good introduction to the game. Each of these stages is a separate mission and it's fun to play through these. The continuous mode has no time limits, so you can just play this for as long as you want.
The game is used by playing the stylus, and works very well. Unfortunately the constraints of the DS and this type of game can make some of the icons quite hard to select correctly and can be a little fiddly. However strategy games can be very difficult to convert from the PC, which this game appears to been ported from, has been done competently given those constraints.
The only addition that I think would have been useful in terms of playing the game would be a facility to rotate the screen. Sometimes there are times when it would useful to see the map from another angle, or when selecting smaller items on the screen. The omission does appear to be quite an obvious one.
There is also a multi player mode, which is suitable for up to four different players. This multi player mode is well structured, so you can play through different targets. You will all need copies of the game though, you can't just use one copy as you can with some other games.
The game is rated 7+, so is suitable for most children other than the youngest children. The game is currently available for fifteen pounds on Amazon currently, but can be found cheaper second-hand on sites such as eBay. However this game is one of the harder games to find on the DS, so will still cost at least ten pounds, more than other games I've tried to find second hand.
Overall, I found this a superb game. I had thought that there would simply be too much information on the screen for it to be fun and enjoyable, but the programmers have really thought about the game and its development. There's lots of game play in this game, lots of difficult strategies to follow and I found this game to have a considerable depth. Definitely very enjoyable, five stars.
Anno Domini 1701 asks you to build a civilization in the New World from scratch. You have to explore the region, choose the right locations to settle and gradually build up from humble settlements to sophisticated cities. All the while you have to make sure you are meeting your people's needs. They will need certain levels of amenities, public buildings etc to remain civilized; if you don't provide for them they're likely to move out, or may die of disease, or houses will start burning down!
And all the time your colonial rivals will be lurking around. You need to be ready to defend your colonies against attack from the Spanish and from pirates - so build up your barracks and fighting abilities - you'll need to mount successful attacks too to win the game.
Time ticks away while you're making adjustments so you can't afford to be a slouch - this was the part where I sometimes felt the game running away from me and panic set in! And it's all done with really stylish, lovely graphics - especially considering it's such a small screen. A winner!