Let me begin this review by stating that this is not a review of Conquer Online. This is a review of Conquer Online for iPad. This is important to note, as they are, for the most part, the very same game.
The transition to the mobile world for Conquer Online is what we gamers generally refer to as a ‘port’. This is not always a bad thing, though it definitely can be when the controls don’t make the jump. Fortunately, in the case of Conquer Online, the controls have been polished to a mirror sheen.
"They are, for the most part, the very same game."
Actually, now that I look back, I think they’re even better. You see, Conquer Online is best known for its ‘automated’ style of play. When I reviewed it today, I managed to reach level 15 in fewer than 10 minutes, without ever needing to move my character manually once. Why? It on rails. Each quest will automatically take you to the next quest; that when you’ll get to kill some enemies, equip some new gear, read some (poorly translated) quest text, right before being sent off to the next quest on the ‘rails’.
Why is this better suited to the iPad rather than the PC? Simple. It makes it casual, and those that have played Conquer Online in the past will know that it anything but. Where before you were required to sit at your PC at ‘watch’ the game play, you can now play it anywhere, anytime, and you barely need to touch your device until you’re ready to get involved.
"PvP, group quests, everything — without the need to grind away for 800 hours."
Now, there are many gamers out there that share a similar view to mine: why play a game that plays itself? And in the PC world, I think that point remains valid; however, within the world of mobile it an entirely different game. Mobile devices are casual by nature. You have them sitting around, but you’re not always ‘completely’ engaged, because you’re not sitting behind a desk, and you’re not ‘locked’ in to a single experience.
With Conquer Online for iPad, you can level the days away with the click of a button while you’re working or studying, and when you get back on the bus, or train, or wake up the next day in bed, you can get all the engagement you want; PvP, group quests, everything — without the need to grind away for 800 hours first.
And when it comes to the PvP and engagement, the controls are — surprisingly — good too. Due to the Ninja-esque nature of the game, movement is as simple as tapping the screen in the direction you want to move, and your character will start jumping around speedily in that direction.
"Conquer Online has made the jump from hardcore MMORPG to casual MMMO."
When you see a monster, just tap it to engage combat. And the same goes for skills — the interface remains unchanged. You don’t need to press 1 to cast your spell; just tap it, and away you go. Sleek, simple, effective. I was never a huge fan of Conquer Online myself, but the iPad version has breathed new life into this title, and it deserves to be mentioned.
All in all, what I’m trying to say is that in making the jump from PC to mobile, Conquer Online has made the jump from hardcore MMORPG to casual MMMO (No, that’s not a typo, there’s an extra ‘M’ there for a reason), and as it still completely free, I see huge potential in its future, even if the core mechanics and visual are a bit dated.