One of our favorite turn-based strategy games, Highborn, has just received a new update and has gone free for today only. Released in early June of this year, Highborn has a wonderful art style, clever writing, single player campaign, and an asynchronous multiplayer mode. Using the typical top-down grid view of most strategic games like this, once you engage in battle with an enemy the game switches to a 3D animation of the ensuing fight between your troops and the enemy. It's a really neat effect, and the overall presentation of Highborn really impresses. As you can see from this excerpt, we really loved the game in our full review:

Highborn comfortably sits as one of the best turn-based strategy games we have played on the iPhone. Beyond its dialogue and characters, which raise the bar entirely for humour, creativity and personality (and ability to plough right through that fourth wall); Highborn looks and plays fantastically, with a depth and attention to detail in its presentation that constantly surprises (just take a look at the character descriptions to see what I mean). If you look past the Facebook integration (which we understand some of you won't, though we strongly urge you to), Highborn also has a lasting and engrossing multiplayer mode that is excellently paced and perfect for portable devices. With additional campaigns promised beyond the 8 lengthy missions currently available (they'll take you hours to complete), Highborn is a robust and content-heavy turn-based strategy game that will surely leave you impressed.

What you can also see from that snippet is that while we loved the way the multiplayer mode worked, we absolutely hated that it forced you to use Facebook to take part in it. I'm sure many other players felt the same, and likely shied away from the multiplayer aspect because of this. Developer Jet Set Games recognized this, and in an update released a couple days ago Facebook was taken out in favor of the OpenFeint social network. While not everyone is a fan of OpenFeint either, it at least affords a way to enjoy the multiplayer in the game without having to add strangers to your own personal Facebook friend list, and doesn't even require an email or any personal info to sign up for. There's even the inclusion of player chat thanks to OpenFeint, not to mention the 30 million strong user base.

Besides Highborn for iPhone being free today, there's also an iPad version that has just been released. The iPad version adds the usual benefits of sharper graphics and a larger play area due to the bigger screen, but essentially the two versions are identical. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though, as the iPhone version is of such high quality and the introductory price for the iPad version is only $2.99. And while Highborn has a fairly decent single player campaign already, what I'm really waiting for is the addition of the second chapter that is hinted at in the game. Still, for one of the best strategy games available on the App Store there's no reason not to at least grab the iPhone version of Highborn while it's free for today only.

  • Metalbear

    Downloading now!

  • Metalbear

    Downloading now!

  • RSTv

    Bought it when it was $3, and it has turned so quickly free.

    • araczynski

      isn't that the norm in the apple store? screw over the early adopters and reward those who wait?

      then again, that's life :)

      glad i waited as always, now i can use the free version to decide whether the ipad version is worth $3 to me.

      • Jindo Fox

        Three dollars is not a lot of money. I understand the principle of the hung, but the developers probably wanted to get back in the top selling list since it seems like Facebook connectivity was a flop.

  • RSTv

    Bought it when it was $3, and it has turned so quickly free.

    • araczynski

      isn't that the norm in the apple store? screw over the early adopters and reward those who wait?

      then again, that's life :)

      glad i waited as always, now i can use the free version to decide whether the ipad version is worth $3 to me.

      • Jindo Fox

        Three dollars is not a lot of money. I understand the principle of the hung, but the developers probably wanted to get back in the top selling list since it seems like Facebook connectivity was a flop.

  • Xurkey

    Too bad the multiplayer on this game is a joke. Still after all this time you still need to have someone on your friends list to play them. You can't play with random people or compete for a highscore.

    The games a joke, pass on this one guys, uniwar is still supreme.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      When you are talking about free (or $3.00) titles, it hardly seems like a zero-sum game. I can easily see someone enjoying both Highborn and Uniwar.

  • Xurkey

    Too bad the multiplayer on this game is a joke. Still after all this time you still need to have someone on your friends list to play them. You can't play with random people or compete for a highscore.

    The games a joke, pass on this one guys, uniwar is still supreme.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      When you are talking about free (or $3.00) titles, it hardly seems like a zero-sum game. I can easily see someone enjoying both Highborn and Uniwar.

  • roadblocked

    are they going to update this to iphone 4 display support? i'll pass if not.

  • roadblocked

    are they going to update this to iphone 4 display support? i'll pass if not.

  • soup

    its still very playable on the iphone 4 and i suspect now that the ipad version is out that they will update it

    now they should get on with part 2 though !

    • http://mayblogmaynot.blogspot.com Maniacfive

      Partvtwo will no doubt only be available as paid for DLC, I wouldn't get to excited.

  • soup

    its still very playable on the iphone 4 and i suspect now that the ipad version is out that they will update it

    now they should get on with part 2 though !

    • http://mayblogmaynot.blogspot.com Maniacfive

      Partvtwo will no doubt only be available as paid for DLC, I wouldn't get to excited.

  • Icepulse

    Should DEFINITELY have become a "universal" app. It wounds me when these clowns expect us to buy it again, w/ NO real content upgrade.

  • Icepulse

    Should DEFINITELY have become a "universal" app. It wounds me when these clowns expect us to buy it again, w/ NO real content upgrade.

  • why

    Why should I buy the iPad version for an introductory price after they fooled me with the introductory price of the iPhone version?

    I paid $3 and now it is free instead of the promised higher price.

  • why

    Why should I buy the iPad version for an introductory price after they fooled me with the introductory price of the iPhone version?

    I paid $3 and now it is free instead of the promised higher price.

  • bravetarget

    THATS IT IM NEVER BUYING A GAME AGAIN -- EVENTUALLY ALL THE GOOD ONES WILL GO FREE.

    • Jindo Fox

      Caps lock stuck?

  • bravetarget

    THATS IT IM NEVER BUYING A GAME AGAIN -- EVENTUALLY ALL THE GOOD ONES WILL GO FREE.

    • Jindo Fox

      Caps lock stuck?

  • JCat

    Just playing the iphone version in 2X in iPad - no way I'm purchasing again.. One of my favorite games, but should have gone universal.

    • http://mayblogmaynot.blogspot.com Maniacfive

      Seconded. Universal should be the way forward. In my eyes, Apple should enforce it for games already in the store. Sorry Devs, but unless you implement a save/progress sharing scheme like warp gate, I'm not buying twice.

  • JCat

    Just playing the iphone version in 2X in iPad - no way I'm purchasing again.. One of my favorite games, but should have gone universal.

    • http://mayblogmaynot.blogspot.com Maniacfive

      Seconded. Universal should be the way forward. In my eyes, Apple should enforce it for games already in the store. Sorry Devs, but unless you implement a save/progress sharing scheme like warp gate, I'm not buying twice.

  • Icepulse

    Hope the developer grasps this, and reads the forums.

  • Icepulse

    Hope the developer grasps this, and reads the forums.

  • Ed

    I only bought this for iPhone because the developer promised it would become a free universal app for iPad when it (iPad version) was done. Am I crazy or does anyone else remember that?

  • Ed

    I only bought this for iPhone because the developer promised it would become a free universal app for iPad when it (iPad version) was done. Am I crazy or does anyone else remember that?

  • Senior Coconut

    wow, people are actually raging about having paid $3 for a game. who cares if it goes free later if in the first place it cost you the same as two chocolate bars and dingdong.

    • Aaron

      Agreed. It's a great game and the developer should definitely be supported. Would be nice if console games ported to portable systems were universal... *sarcasm intended* Silly folks.

    • Xurkey

      Some of us are not using Mom's money to buy things.

      Learn to comment.

      • LeeDot

        You're right, some of us aren't using Mom's money to buy things and we still don't think $3 is an unreasonable price for a quality piece of software.

        As an adult here's a short list of things that have limited 'replay value' and also cost more than this game.

        A cup of coffee.
        Going to a movie.
        Cover at most clubs.
        Buying any drink of any kind at most bars.
        Those microwavable instant indian food packets at Trader Joes.
        etc.

        Honestly, if there's any lesson to be learned here it's that developers shoot themselves in the foot by having sales because it [a] encourages people to wait for sales and [b] winds up a portion of the user base that didn't wait for the sale.

  • Senior Coconut

    wow, people are actually raging about having paid $3 for a game. who cares if it goes free later if in the first place it cost you the same as two chocolate bars and dingdong.

    • Aaron

      Agreed. It's a great game and the developer should definitely be supported. Would be nice if console games ported to portable systems were universal... *sarcasm intended* Silly folks.

    • Xurkey

      Some of us are not using Mom's money to buy things.

      Learn to comment.

      • LeeDot

        You're right, some of us aren't using Mom's money to buy things and we still don't think $3 is an unreasonable price for a quality piece of software.

        As an adult here's a short list of things that have limited 'replay value' and also cost more than this game.

        A cup of coffee.
        Going to a movie.
        Cover at most clubs.
        Buying any drink of any kind at most bars.
        Those microwavable instant indian food packets at Trader Joes.
        etc.

        Honestly, if there's any lesson to be learned here it's that developers shoot themselves in the foot by having sales because it [a] encourages people to wait for sales and [b] winds up a portion of the user base that didn't wait for the sale.

  • Ed

    My bad, I think I was thinking about Carcassonne that was going to be a universal app...

  • Ed

    My bad, I think I was thinking about Carcassonne that was going to be a universal app...

  • Stephen

    Having a lot of fun with this game...I was on the fence for awhile, glad I got it for free. Would have paid the $3 if I knew how much fun I'd have.

  • Stephen

    Having a lot of fun with this game...I was on the fence for awhile, glad I got it for free. Would have paid the $3 if I knew how much fun I'd have.

  • http://bytesandbeans.com Badr

    Well I got the game when it was free. I am glad I never bought it, because it has not been able to run due to the "excuse" that there is a bug in iOS4 on iPhone 3g. The game launches, I see the title screen and it closes down again.

    Companies that release crappy coded games like motivate me to grab the game from The Bay instead of purchasing it. Thankfully that wont happen as my phone is a company phone and we are not allowed to jailbreak it.

  • http://bytesandbeans.com Badr

    Well I got the game when it was free. I am glad I never bought it, because it has not been able to run due to the "excuse" that there is a bug in iOS4 on iPhone 3g. The game launches, I see the title screen and it closes down again.

    Companies that release crappy coded games like motivate me to grab the game from The Bay instead of purchasing it. Thankfully that wont happen as my phone is a company phone and we are not allowed to jailbreak it.

  • bob

    will chapter 2 be free or in app purchase cause id hate to pay more for this after i bought it at full price

  • bob

    will chapter 2 be free or in app purchase cause id hate to pay more for this after i bought it at full price