Six Ages: Ride Like The Wind — Mobile Mythology-driven Strategy with Pretty Horses
Six Ages: Ride Like The Wind is a story-driven strategy game where you lead a clan of horse riders. The game is a successor to the 1999 PC game King of Dragon Pass, which I had personally not heard of before reading up about Six Ages.
The game is out on iOS already and will be released on Steam in October 2019.
I’ve had Six Ages on my list of games to review ever since The Mane Quest was launched, because the developers offered me a review copy early on. After months of never quite finding the time to give the game a try, I finally had a look… and realized that I won’t be able to give this game a fair review after all.
Lore and Strategy
In Six Ages, you start out by deciding the mythological backstory for your clan. You take the role of clan leader and start making decisions. Your actions — trading, exploring, making sacrifices, building shrines, waging war — advance the time and trigger events such as the visits of other clans or encounters on the road. In every event, you make choices that have an effect on the mood in your clan, or that cost you horses, herds or goods. Each interaction is paired with an artful illustration that you can see in full by hiding the overlapping text with a tap.
In between all of this, you will end up reading a lot. Every event introduces names of deities, other clans or individual characters, which quickly threatened to blur together for me. As a frequent reader of fantasy books, I am not exactly a stranger to exposition dumps, but in most books I like, new lore is accompanied by the stories of individual characters that are relatable in one way or another.
Unfortunately, I found it very hard to keep reading the events and exposition texts with enough attention to actually follow what was going on.
Riders and Horses
The clans are all referred to as Riders, their horses an important basis of their livelihood. Six Ages is in no way comparable to a regular “horse game”, nor does it really follow the collectible/companion structure I’ve laid out here. Instead, horses are a countable resource and could be called a cultural cornerstone for your people. You can buy and sell horses, but like your cows and your goats, they are a number, rather than individual creatures.
Many of the visual representations of horses in story events remind of Mongolian wild horses, with solid builds and short, upright manes. The countless illustrations paint a picture of a world steeped in mythology, with many diverse portrayals of tribes and clans.
My appreciation of the game’s art does unfortunately not translate into any desire to keep playing it.
For me personally, Six Ages feels like way too much of a chore. After around an hour of playing, I have probably barely seen a fraction of what the game offers, but don’t intend to return to it. While I generally enjoy story-driven games, the sheer amount of reading material here is too much for me, combined with the slow, strategic decision-making that is not my favorite kind of gameplay at the best of times.
As mentioned, this is not so much a review as it a brief exploration of why I won’t be writing one even though I’ve been wanting to. If you like strategy, slow, text-based gameplay and reading a lot of mythological lore, then Six Ages may be just the right thing for you.
Personally, I’ll just revisit the screenshots I’ve taken for their pretty horse artwork instead.
Six Ages is available on iOS for $9.99 and will soon be out on Steam. The Mane Quest was provided with a free copy for review purposes.