Age of Empires: Mythologies (DS)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Sunday, February 8, 2009

Graphics: 7.00
Sound: 6.00
Gameplay: 9.00
Replays: 9.00
Gamelength: 8.00

Griptonite Games has revamped a classic strategy game just for the sake of portability with the release of “Age of Empires: Mythologies” for the Nintendo DS.

PC gamers with an itch for the strategy genre know that the “Age of…” series has been a big hit since it’s original conception many a year ago. Those same PC gamers have constantly refused to play strategy games on any console because it’s just not the same and most of their argument has always fallen back to the controls, or lack thereof as the case may sometimes be. That argument is proving to be more and more invalid these days and this game proves just that fact. While still retaining all of the original glory and addictive gameplay of the original PC title with a few changes, this game controls even better than the PC original and is more accessible, allowing just about any newbie gamer to pick it up and start playing, yet it still retains it’s original difficulty for series veterans. It’s an odd mix of old and new that comes together in a neat little package that’s sure to please serious strategy fans. Choose your side and let’s take a stroll with the Gods in “Ages of Empires: Mythologies” for the Nintendo DS.

For the Nintendo DS, the graphics aren’t bad. I wouldn’t say that they’re impressive by any means, but they’re not terrible and they get the job done fine. Things can be a bit blocky at times and the text is a bit blurry due to the low resolution, but it’s never enough to hinder the gameplay in any way. Everything is always legible and it’s easy to distinguish things apart from one another on a crowded screen. This game is rather bright, though and while isn’t very eye-popping, if you’re gaming on a Nintendo DS, the chances are that you’re in this for the fun, not the bragging rights or realistic style of next-gen visuals, so that doesn’t mean much.

As for the sound quality, it’s a bit on the low-end side of things, but it’s not unbearable. It just has a sort of blurry and obvious low quality to it and it’s a little annoying if you’re using headphones. That said, simply avoid using headphones with this game and you should be fine. There’s not a whole lot of unique sounds or music to speak of, though, so most of it is just clicking, building or menu sounds.

Now here’s where things get interesting, all while retaining a degree of simplicity. After you start the game, the controls are extremely simple and the game is played so easily that you’ll wonder what those PC gamers were ever complaining about. The game is controlled almost completely with the stylus with a basic mouse-like point-and-click style. Using this control scheme, you’ll set out to find resources, build things and ultimately destroy the opposinig forces. The catch here, though, is that this is a turn-based game, unlike the standard “Age of…” formula used in the past for the PC titles. It’s still every bit as involved and deep as the PC games, but the turn-based structure makes it easier to pick up for newbies to the series and even newcomers to the entire strategy genre. The map is also more of a grid this time around and combat plays out a little differently, but it’s very simplistic. When 2 units enter combat, the game uses a classic style that you would find in such games as “StarCraft” or “Advanced Wars”, properly dubbed the “Rock, paper, scissors” style by the general public. Each unit is strong, equal or weak to each other type of unit and it’s pretty much that simple. There are also skills given to you by the Gods that allow you to do various things, such as the ever-useful restoration skill. These skills can’t be spammed because they’re extremely powerful, but they can easily turn the tides of battle in an instant, so proper use of those skills is an important key to winning any match. Matches generally take anywhere from 5-60 minutes, but the game itself is potentially much longer, depending on your own level is skill. This is a great game at a great price and strategy fans longing for that next big game for the Nintendo DS may just have what they’ve been waiting for to hold them over for a while.

Overall, Griptonite Games has done a great job again and I’m sure they’ll do it a few more times. Keep up the good work, guys.

-Controls are perfect, simple and quick to learn.
-Difficulty curve is great even for true newbies.
-There’s tons of replay value here simply because matches are different every time.

-Graphics could be a little better.
-Sound quality is bad when using headphones.

Bottom Line:
If you’re a strategy fan and you own a Nintendo DS, this is the game for you and the price tag is lovely, coming in at $20 just about anywhere you can find it.

Overall Rating: 8.50

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