I heard about Game of Sultans probably the same way you did too – phone ads. For a time, this game was so heavily advertised that I had its ads pop-up 4 or 5 times per day for about a week or two. Honestly, I installed it just to stop the ads. After a few months of playing, it’s time for a review.
In Game of Sultans you play as an Ottoman Sultan, at the moment of their conquest of Byzantium. As in other similar games sharing the same engine, you get to “experience the life of a Sultan”. This means you raise armies to fight your enemies, add concubines to your harem, raise your children and develop your viziers (generals and administrators) to advance your kingdom.
I have played several games based on the same engine, even one where you are in the roll of a Yakuza boss, and they all share some traits – you are a male in a position of power, controlling a faction and having a harem-based romantic component. The ‘innovation’ that Game of Sultans brings is making the harem an actual real harem.
I won’t get into any gender issues, political correctness or the morals behind it; this is just a game review. If you are concerned about the former, there are other posts online that explore those topics inside this game.
As you take the role of a sultan you’ll level up your viziers and your main character (by conquest missions) to strengthen your empire. You have three main resources at the start: army, gold and food. You use gold to level up viziers, food to raise your armies and the armies to battle your Byzantium AI opponent. On the harem side, you visit various buildings in the town and have a chance to meet a potential concubine. After a number of meetings, you’ll have the opportunity to offer marriage and increase the size of your household.
As you advance through the ranks there will be some mini games you can play, together with events that bring unique resources, but the main part of the game is still developing your viziers and concubines.
The main gripe I have is the combat system. It’s just building up your army numbers and sending them against the enemy in the same type of repetitive missions. You don’t get to control anything – it’s all predetermined and you are watching the same animations over and over again.
Sure there are various mini games, but I didn’t find them all that creative, nor are they fun. This narrows the ‘staff to do’ to leveling up your viziers and attaining and developing your relations with your concubines. The thing is, mid-game, you’ll already have all the non-paying concubines and the game loses steam after that. Even if you pay for the non-free concubines, you just get more of the same, no new mechanics are added.
To me it seems obvious that 90% of the players will come for the harem and the concubines, especially seeing how the game is advertised. The problem with this is that after you acquire all the concubines there really isn’t much to do and I soon lost interest. To make matters worse, your favorite concubines, the ones you spend most of your time and resources developing, will demand more and more diamonds (most valuable in game resource) to “visit” in the harem and raise a family with them. Your choices are to slowly grind for diamonds or open your wallet.
This strikes me like saying to players: please grind to develop these characters and then pay us to interact with them.
Check out our gameplay video below:
This is not a deep or technically developed game and there is a limit to how much you can get from it (whatever it is you are searching for). Compared to something like Game of Thrones: Conquest and Star Trek Fleet Command, the combat and PVP mechanics are almost non-existent. Mission and event design is also a weak point. Repeatedly clicking on a ship, a servant or an animal is not much of a mini game.
I did like the artwork and it might be the biggest draw of the game. I enjoy nicely implemented RPG elements in most games and some of that is present here with your viziers and (to a lesser extent) concubines. However, once you get all the concubines the game struggles to hold your interest with mini-games that are rarely creative or fun.
Lack of interesting game mechanics
Boring, unimaginative events and mini games
Punishing player interaction with favorite concubines