First Impressions

Songs of Conquest


Release Date21 May, 2024 

Platform: Windows, MacOS

Genre: Turn-based Strategy

By Chris Picone, 26 May 2024


Songs of Conquest (SoC) is heavily inspired by one of my favourite games of all time, Heroes of Might & Magic (HoMM) 3.  Much of the game is clone-like in its execution, but with stylistic changes and new features added - subtly (they didn't fix something that wasn't broken) - and with the addition of their own factions, lore and story, they've made it their own. 

Although I spent most of my youth playing HoMM3 hotseat against my mates, I jumped straight into the campaign, where I was immediately met with a rich, interesting story. Cliche in certain ways - you come from a small but stout and honourable family, trying to remove trespassing barons and bandits from your lands when things get complicated. Some naughty baron has started raising an undead army and of course the beasts and strange mythical creatures of the land aren't too happy about it. But the story evolves from there and there are two other campaigns besides. Oh - and SoC does offer multiplayer modes, of course, both local and online. The scale of SoC is a little smaller than HoMM - only four factions, but they're interesting. Of course there's a human faction - two, actually; one allied with fey, the other leaning toward technological superiority.  There's also an undead army, and a faction of swamp dwellers which I've only begun to meet.  Once actually in the game, everything is eerily familiar; the resemblance between SoC and HoMM is uncanny.  The artstyle is unique - more pixel-oriented - but very similar, although it does have one really cool totally unique feature. Remember in the Witcher TV series how the bard sings a little ballad about the episode's adventures; well, SoC offers the same at the end of each mission, replete with some absolutely gorgeous paintings. They're really something special. You move your hero and his army around the map in the same manner, following winding dirt tracks through forests and swamps and exploring and looting very similar locations - waterfalls, shrines, treasure chests, frequently having to opt between two forms of loot. And of course many treasures and intersections are guarded, leading to a turn-based tactical combat phase almost identical to its inspiration.  There are differences though:  SoC makes better use of environmental obstacles, has different placement rules, and includes some new features like raised ground which can enhance both archer range and also give melee bonuses. Heroes play a role too, of course, providing bonuses based on skills gained through experience or by casting spells during battle.  The last thing I want to talk about is the kingdom management; unlike HoMM where this is a separate screen for each city you control, in SoC you encounter and control settlements which sprawl across your map. You spend your precious resources to increase the size of your settlements and build new buildings, which appear on the map, and which you can interact with to generate new resources, recruit new troops, fortify your settlements, or open up research options. It's different and I like it.

The verdict?  Any fan of the HoMM series will love this - it's nostalgic, sure, but with its own armies, lore, and story, as well as other subtle differences, it carries its own weight and is a great game in its own right. If you haven't played HoMM before but like the idea of a wide-spread strategy game filled with map exploration, looting, kingdom management, and tactical battles, you'd be crazy not to give it a go.