Romance of the Three Kingdoms has a devoted following. The series has been active since the SNES days, and though a few tweaks have come along with new iterations, it has, for the most part, the same gameplay. So when an iPad iteration came out, we pretty much knew what to expect.
Tecmo Koei didn’t scale back the gameplay for this one. The options are still here, from wooing officers with bribes and visits to increasing the productivity of your people. As far as I can tell, nothing here has been streamlined, and RTK fans have always wanted total control. Speaking of control, everything here is controlled by a simple menu interface with large buttons and actions grouped by type. This town management would have been easier with some more detailed tutorials about what works strategically, instead of just where to find what options. Koei’s assuming that only fans are buying this, and at the steep $15 price tag, that’s a safe bet.
Conversely, the battle system is fairly straightforward, with larger armies having an advantage but no guarantee of victory. (Watch out for fires, Lu Bu.) The armies move along a hex grid, and touch controls make everything intuitive.
There is a very limited selection of scenarios available: four historically accurate ones and four fictional versions of the original with more interesting setups. You go through these fairly quickly, and it seems like a few more options wouldn’t have been that hard to implement.
There are a few bonuses included here. Custom officers can be created, so if you want yourself in the game, go ahead! (You’ll need to use a stock photo though, so unless you look like an ancient Chinese warrior, there won’t be a resemblance.)
Romance of the Three Kingdoms Touch Plus is a solid implementation of a game that has limited appeal at a price ($15) that won’t get many new players to try it. Heck, even if they do there’s not enough explanation here to get them into the action. If you like RTK and want it on your iPad, though, it’s here and has decent production values.