Dawn of Discovery - Harbor

Posted April 18, 2010 3:37pm


3 of 5 bars
  • PRICE: $2.99
  • SOUND: 4
  • CONTROL: 4
  • FUN: 3
  • VALUE: 3
SUMMARY: A fast-paced time management game where you control the harbor

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Dawn of Discovery is a mildly fun and slightly addicting time management game for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The objective of the game is to manage a harbor that services traders of goods, such as bread, lumber, spices and pearls. The more ships you bring in and the faster you get them out, the more money you’ll make. It sounds simple, but the challenging part is doing it all in the time allotted.

This game may be a bit deceiving if you try it out without seeing a video of the gameplay or reading a review first. The description does label it as a time management game, but if you’re not a hardcore gamer, you probably won’t know what that means. From the screenshots, the game appears like it could be a type of real-time strategy game, allowing you to build a harbor while you manage the trading of goods. It’s just not what you expect. You can’t actually build anything yourself. The dock does expand, but automatically throughout the storyline. Your only job is to manage the trading of goods.

You start off with a bare minimum of docks for the ships to pull into. As you progress, you will receive more docks of varying size. You’ll start to see a queue of ships at the top of the screen, waiting to enter your harbor. Each ship will show a symbol of what goods they are carrying. It is your job to decide which ships you want to trade with. Once you’ve decided, you can simply drag that ship into your harbor at any one of your docks. The ship will unload its cargo and request other goods to trade for. For example, maybe one ship will come in with wood and request bread in exchange. You can drag your bread onto his ship, you’ll get paid and he’ll be on his way. If you don’t have enough goods, the ship will wait until you do. So, you’ll need to bring in another ship with the goods you need. You really have to understand the relationship between certain goods so you can make decisions about what ships to bring into the harbor. If you bring in all of the same type of cargo, you won’t have enough of the goods in demand. Plus, you have to do all of this while the clock is ticking. If you don’t reach the predefined profit requirement when time runs out, you’ll have to replay the level again. The time you have for each level isn’t very long at all. The game is very fast paced and you’ll often find yourself barely making the minimum profit requirement.

The game gets even more challenging when you have multiple goods that need to be traded and multiple docks to manage. Some docks will only be big enough for small ships and some docks may block others. It gets to be pretty chaotic trying to manage so many ships at once. So, this is definitely not a relaxing type of game.

The story is actually pretty interesting. It explains the different types of traders that come into the harbor and what they are looking for with regards to service. The story often talks about building and expanding upon the harbor, but again, you don’t actually build anything yourself. That’s definitely where this game loses some steam. The graphics look great and the sound is done very well. The game really looks and feels like it should be an RTS, allowing the user to build docks, buildings, ships, etc. I understand that its purpose is as a time management game, but it just has the potential to be so much more. I also think it would be more successful as an RTS instead.

If you’re looking for a fast paced strategy game, then this one might work for you. There is definitely a learning curve and you’ll need to have some patience at first, but the game does become fun to play as you begin to understand how everything functions.

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