Atlantis, or Ruins of Atlantis as the script is tilted, is for all intents and purposes an Island type map, based on a snow/wintry setting. Sometimes the islands are connected, and other times they are completely isolated. There are always a good number of small, unoccupied, islands also. The author has included an interesting story that sets the scene, and certainly adds to the theme. Although I couldn’t quite imagine what “advanced weapons” were used 1500 years ago that created these islands, must have been powerful magic! While the island theme is not new, the number of islands, and the uncertainty of being on the same island, or not, adds to the theme greatly. The story also helps to lift the theme slightly above average, giving more depth, and certainly adds to the creative element of the script.
Visual appeal 3
The maps are always snow based, with no variation from this. The player’s islands have little in the way of terrain blending, and predominantly use snow and snow-grass terrains. The water is blended well, and was the most visually appealing aspect of the script. But on the whole, with little, or no use of eye candy, no elevation, and not a single straggler tree, the maps tend to look quite plain. One observation is the number of Hawks, while they can only be classed as eye candy, there is a high number of these, and on small maps they can become quite distracting at times.
Game play can be similar to Island type maps, but the fact the island/s can be connected together, or completely isolated presents slightly different game play from standard Island maps, and can give different strategic opportunities each time you play. The standard AI plays the map reasonably well, although as with any Island map the standard AI will never build on any Island other than its starting island, if the islands are connected the AI will far better. The layout of the maps can limit boats to some degree, but generally if the islands are connected, limiting naval movement, then boats become less important in the game play, and much of the connections usually contain sailable ice. Each player starts with a town center, villagers, a scout, houses, barracks, market, blacksmith, and a random chance of getting varied units, such as archers, militia, scout cavalry, or spearmen. The author seems to have selected these carefully to avoid balance issues, and taken in to account housing headroom too, which is very commendable for a first script indeed, and shows thought and testing have been implemented.
There are a reasonable to high amount of resources, gold, stone, and food are well balanced, but unfortunately wood is not. Many times one player will have far more wood available on his/her island than the others, and this seriously affects games that extend well in to Imperial Age. There are a great number of small islands, but unfortunately most of these are devoid of any resource. This reduces the strategic importance of controlling these islands, and that’s a shame as this could have added to game play considerably. Two observations, there are no shore fish around the islands, this is not really a problem because there is plenty of other fish to take advantage of, but it does take away the opportunity to gather fish with villagers in the early ages. And the author seems to have forgotten about relics, and again this takes away an important aspect of game play. One very annoying thing does affect playability, at the start of each game the players villagers are often attacked by wolves that have been placed to close to the players starting locations, depending on where your units are located, one or two villagers can be killed, unless your military units are close. This can give an advantage/disadvantage to players and can upset balance.
Atlantis is a very admirable first script, visual appeal could have been better, and the game play can suffer from some issues as already mentioned, but generally the maps play well, are good fun, and do offer a change from the standard type Island maps. I look forward to seeing more from the author and hope to see some great scripts in the future.
Notes to the author:
Reduce the amount of hawks, you stated that you have reduced them already, but they can still be overbearing on small maps. Visual appeal could be lifted with more terrain blending, and the addition of some eye candy. Perhaps a few ruins from the earlier civilization? ;)
The numerous small islands would benefit from the addition of gold or stone, adding to the importance of naval control and expanding playability considerably, as would the addition of relics. The wolves can be problematic, and would be best placed further from players starting locations. Above all this script has potential yet to be realized, and should you choose to update I will gladly update this review. Look forward to seeing more.