Game review: Banner Saga 2 is visual treat on smartphones
The game impresses with its unique hand drawn graphics and fascinating storyline
Banner Saga 2, a strategy game popular with PC gamers, now has a mobile version. A bit different in style compared to classics such as Microsoft’s Age of Empires or Sid Meier’s Civilisation, this game is sequel to Banner Saga and takes on the story of warring Viking clans further.
Developed by Texas Based Stoic Studio and published by Versus Evil, this game is available to download on both Google Play Store and the Apple App Store for Rs330. It works offline, which makes it playable anywhere even if you don’t have access to Wi-Fi or a mobile network connection, but takes up almost 3GB of storage space after installation. This is the biggest strategy game, in terms of file size, we have seen on a mobile device.
The visual treat
The game provides a top side down view as is the case with strategy games like early Age of Empires games. What makes it different from them is the visual element. Every character and the ambience have been hand drawn. The graphics of the snow-clad mountains look captivating and richly detailed. The camera angle is fixed, but you can scroll through the map to see all the characters on the screen. The background music for the game has been provided by Grammy nominated composer Austin Wintory. What is interesting is that nothing happens randomly. The game uses conversations between characters regularly to keep you in the loop with what is happening and why.
Thinking man’s game
The game gives the player the option to play as the Viking fighters Rook or his daughter Alette. The majority of the game time will be spent on strengthening and maintaining the colony called Caravan. This can get boring if you are not into strategy games. The morale of the people in the caravan can improve your chances in the battlefield by adding to your fighter’s will power. Clicking on building in the Caravan can help player assess the ground realities, population, supplies and the number of days for which the supplies is expected to last.
Turn based action
It is a turn based game divided into isometric tiles. Once a user’s turn is over, the opponent gets a free run to attack. The key to succeeding here is to position your weaker players strategically and use elements like skill boost, morale up and other features judiciously in off the battle moments in the game.
You can take on enemy fighters by tapping on them. The game provides access to special weapons that can inflict more damage. For example, Sundering Impact lands a heavier blow and weakens more than one enemy soldier at a time. Every time you kill an enemy solider your Renown increases. This is basically a virtual in-game currency that comes in handy for improving player skills later in the game.
For a serious strategy fan there are better alternatives to this both in terms of graphics and gameplay on PCs. But on mobile devices, this is by far one of the best looking strategy games we have seen. Gameplay is a bit different but easy to follow and master.
Banner Saga 2
Price: Rs 330
Available on Android, iOS
Published by Versus Evil
Tested on OnePlus One (Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core, 3GB RAM, Adreno 330, 64GB storage)