Skip to main content

Settlers: an RTS for the masses

Real Time Strategy (RTS) games have been trying to find a hand hold in the App Store for a while now, but so far it’s been a tough sell. Sure we have had some good games out there, but they are often too difficult or just too frustrating, often finding you begging for the full mouse and keyboard interface that is needed.


“Settlers” from Gameloft may be the bridge that brings the RTS genre to the masses. Based on a series that’s been around for a long time, Settlers is your basic game of “build up your colony, create an army and expand your territory”. Yes, it’s a little like playing God, but in a full blown way, not like flicking pygmies into a volcano.

The problem with this genre is that there is always too much management involved. You find yourself worrying too much about all the little things that are going on and zooming all over maps to really sit back and just enjoy the fact that you’re playing a game, and not doing this for real. And I think that is where Settlers really hits the mark.

I’ve played the computer games a little bit (mostly watched), and didn’t really get into them. But in playing this game on my iPhone, I’ve seen that there is plenty of time to just enjoy all the game has to offer. And there is a lot to watch here. The visuals are amazing and I’m amazed at the detail that went into this game. I’ve paid much more for “real hand held” games in the past and didn’t get any where near this level!

The entire presentation is wonderful… well, almost. While I loved all the little sound effects throughout the game, it didn’t take long to hear the same background music cycling through again. It’s not a big deal, but one I wish had been worked through a little.

The game is set up with several mission-based campaigns. You can pick one of the four “tribes” (Viking, Mayan, Roman and Dark Tribe) and work through the individual missions with each. This gives you a great deal of game play, though it is sad to note that there is no “free play” with the game. A big omission, but one ‘m not feeling too much yet because I’ve still got many missions to complete as it is.

And not only do you have a lot of missions, you’ve got a boatload (or warship in the case of the Vikings) of different people types to work with. I was pretty impressed that with all the stuff happing on screen that not only was I able to tell them apart, but that they had different animations to help separate them as well. Great detail.


Really this game is about building up structures and sending your tribe-mates around the map. The control scheme for this is actually pretty easy. It’s simple to tap where you want to build something and also just as easy to move groups. You can tap a group or put them in a square and then tap where you want them to end up and they’ll head off.

The term “control” might be a little misleading for some who are long time RTS gamers. Sure you can move people, but that doesn’t always mean that you “control” them. There are plenty who only do certain things, and many who just do whatever they were doing before you moved them after you’ve placed them in a new location. This set up will be great for newcomers to the genre, but might be a little frustrating to old hands.

And, of course, there are battles to be fought and won. This can be a lot of fun (I hate saying that about war), especially when you throw in the different types of weapons that each of the tribes bring to the front. I’m a big fan of the catapults courtesy of the Romans.

Interestingly enough there are Priests that can be very useful in battle. Oh, sure their main job is to help the tribe and even get you more food, but in battle they can cast spells against the other side. Take that all you “turn the other cheek” types!

Quite simply… there’s a lot going on in the game and it’s hard to describe it all here. Just to give you an idea, the help section is more involved than some games I’ve bought. And you’ll want to go through all of it, and the tutorials, before jumping into a game… trust me.


Involved &amp- Deep Gameplay + Very Impressive Graphically + Hours &amp- Hours (And Hours) Of Game Play + Mission Based Play + Plenty Of Help + Good Use of Tutorials + Plenty Of Save Slots

Great Value For The Money


Might Put Off “True Settlers Fans” &#8211- No “Free Play” &#8211- Music Got Annoying Quickly (But You Can Use Your Own – And Should) &#8211- Some slight Control Issues


Settlers is a very interesting game. At first I was planning on a very intensive game where I had to keep an eye on everything, but then realized that this is a lot more about laying out the strategy then keeping track of the little things. Then I started to enjoy it a lot more. By the end I saw that this might be the perfect RTS for those working their way into the genre. This is a game that would sell for much more on typical handheld devices, just be thankful you’ve got it here and pick it up now.