The Prince of Persia games have been a great success for the past few years and have gone from strength to strength, now the series has made it onto the Nintendo DS. First of all, the main thing that connects Battles: Prince of Persia, to the console versions is the plot, as it roughly covers the time period of the previous games; other than that the style of game play is completely different. As at its core Battles: Prince of Persia is a card game and a strategy game, it can be compared vaguely to ‘Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dawn of Destiny’ and ‘Magic: The Gathering – Battlegrounds’ which I played on the XBOX, but that comparison is rather unfair as Battles: Prince of Persia is actually a much better game.
The games graphics are basic, but the game mechanics fit well with the DS, once you get used to the system, which I admit takes a little time, it is easy to use and fairly straight forward to use.
Battles: Prince of Persia can be played either single player where you have a choice of following the main Campaign or creating your own level to play in Skirmish mode. It also offers two player using the DS’ Wi-Fi connection.
The first level works as a tutorial, but it still took me while to get to grips with and it helps if you actually read the manual. I had heard that Battles: Prince of Persia was fiendishly difficult from the very beginning, so I was rather surprised that I didn’t actually start to lose until the 7th level! Especially as most of the time I only vaguely knew what I was doing.
Once I was more familiar with the cards, the game became much simpler to understand, and quickly became trickier, but that didn’t matter because by that time I was addicted.
The game is played by firstly positioning your army on the battlefield, this is done by moving the character icons around on the DS’ touch screen, you can also adjust which way the characters is facing. Next you will draw game cards, which give you a number of moves and special abilities; each member of your army can move once per hour of game time, (this is thankfully not real time!). Battles: Prince of Persia is turn based, so you and your opponent will take turns, to draw one card and move the corresponding amount of characters or choose to play the cards affect. Turns can be passed and if both players pass consecutively a new game hour begins.
Each level has a different set of goals and points will be given for completing those goals, such as killing the other army’s troops or some other task. Depending on the level you will play a character from one of the three factions, The Persians, The Indians or The Daevas, each character can have up to three decks of cards, so you can set up different sets according to your currents tactics, offensives, defensive or a mixture of both.
When the level is completed successfully, you will win a number of new cards, so it’s advantageous to restructure your deck between levels. Cards can also be traded using the DS’ Wi-Fi connection, if available.
Battles: Prince of Persia takes some patience to learn, but once you understand the game play and learn the cards and their affects, it quickly becomes highly addictive and very rewarding.
Some fans of the franchise may be disappointed that the game is so very different from the other Prince of Persia titles, but for those who enjoy a good strategy game can hopefully overlook that and play this interesting and challenging title.