Conan Unconquered – Review
Follow Genre: Base/wave/tower defense
Developer: Petroglyph Games
Publisher: Funcom
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Conan Unconquered – Review

Site Score
Good: Exciting gameplay with a lot to work up to
Bad: Sometimes unbalanced, friendly AI can be frustrating, loading times
User Score
(2 votes)
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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Not many people know that Conan (The Barbarian) is a story dating from the early 1930s. Created by Robert E. Howard, it was published in Weird Tales, an American horror and fantasy fiction pulp magazine. As more past-time entertainment slowly got available over time, the story turned into a true franchise which included Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jason Momoa in two separate movies, and a total of seven video games already. Conan Unconquered is the latest of these games.


This Conan game doesn’t have much of a story. Whatever there is to be told is pointed out in the opening cinematic, where Conan gives a ”speech” in which he tells that the people became weak by having too much of a good time without war, while the enemy had been gathering its strength to attack. Visually, you see hordes storming at your stone walls, as the friendly forces are sure to collide with them. This is also the essence of the story (and the game). You get attacked by waves of enemies and need to survive, so going from that, the only story cinematic does a good job explaining what to expect.


Conan Unconquered gets a lot right when you expect something in the scenery of Conan. Deserts, hot and cold, sometimes with a sandstorm and some props are all you need when it’s done right apparently. Here, it is done right. Combined with the building animations which are rather simple by letting buildings arise from the sand, as well as animations from NPCs and allied troops, make the graphics successful in what they try to accomplish, which is, one can assume, to not only create something that’s Conan-worthy but also to create some tension as you try to hold off against the forces of evil.


As is expected from a game that’s building on the visual legacy of mainly movies and games, Conan Unconquered is backed up by orchestral music that gives a cinematic twist to the experience. With a lot of brass-work to illustrate the vastness of the sandy planes and the wars at hand, it’s quite enjoyable to play. Conan himself has a brutal, intimidating voice as is to be expected from him, and the other characters that you will possibly get to control have their own shrieks and cries. The true villains, the strongest of the enemy army, are a bit of a disappointment though. Besides (sometimes) a single piece of text when entering, they are awfully quiet on the field, which gives a sense of them just being another mob that needs to be squashed instead of something fierce.


So, when you start Conan Unconquered, you will always start with a small base that you can expand by gathering resources. Besides a base building game, Conan is also a wave defense game. This means that every now and then, a wave will be announced and you can see where they approximately will come from on the map after which they will try to destroy your base and defenses, attacking the first thing they come across. Different enemies mean different strengths and weaknesses, so you should anticipate accordingly as you can see what most waves include.

Conan Unconquered has a lot of the same vibes and mechanics as They Are Billions, which shows in a few ways. For one, you can pick your hero and moveable army units to explore the map and pick up resources by destroying enemies. These resources can be found from small encampments, but also from large Fortress Guardians which are tough mini-bosses that drop a special item which makes your hero stronger. This could be an item such as an on-hit poison effect, or something to instantly do huge damage to creatures around you with a 60 seconds cooldown. At the same time, you need this map exploration to see what good tactical points would be useful for your strategy, and which resources you could access to keep on growing.

The resources are also a lot like They Are Billions, meaning that most of what you need is connected to each other. You use banners to expand your territory, which at the same time gives ”command” as a resource. Your main fortress and houses give money and housing which you will need for i.e. troops and towers, but at the same time, you will also need hunter cottages or farms to have the required amount of food if it’s used for a unit. Most buildings lower your gold income as long as they exist, and some lower i.e. wood or stone, forcing you to build more lumber camps or quarries which on their turn require more of the above. It’s important to keep an eye on everything because before you know it, you will want to deploy a last-minute reinforcement, only to figure out you are out of resources.

Conan Unconquered is fun, and in a way, it’s pretty extensive in things to do. There are some weak points though. During a multiplayer session, we discovered that we were easily overrun with huge spiders without a clear reason, and in the solo campaign sometimes a bit of luck is required. This shows in, as an example, random enemies coming through places where you couldn’t possibly build any defenses yet, which could set you back a couple of minutes. Another big, maybe even the biggest frustration, is parts of the friendly AI. Enemies can set your buildings on fire, but your army reacts very poorly to it. You need to click each section of a wall separately to watch them putting out fire one bit a time, which is a huge pain in the ass.

Worse than that though is when you are in a fight and you want them to retreat to safety to heal or revise your strategy. Your soldiers will just keep on auto attacking, ignoring your commands after a single step every time. It’s some basic programming that you expect to be in a late 90s RTS game, not in something created in 2019. The same goes for walls that need to be fully built before you can replace a section of the wall with a gate for your units to pass through. Sometimes, the walls simply won’t let you put a gate anywhere without any reason whatsoever. And then there is still the ridiculously long loading times. Conan Unconquered is a fun game, but all these types of poor programming or design parts do hold the game back from its potential and the players from having the best possible time.


It’s nice to see a Conan game that tries to do things a bit different, and something that takes the formula of They Are Billions to craft it as their own. The AI is what’s holding the game back most though, and it ruins the fun that is slaughtering the waves that come towards you by a decent amount. Conan has the atmosphere right when looking at the graphics and the sound, and some of the gameplay is firmly in place, but it needs some work to get really good.

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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Conan Unconquered - Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for since 2017.

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