Category Archives: Strategy

'Vietnam '65' Review - The Rhythm of War Has Never Felt So Rewarding

"The line between disorder and order lies in logistics..." -Sun Tzu. It's hard to find a word that evokes as many connotations of hell, destruction, anger, and failure as the word "Vietnam" does for the collective American psyche. The Vietnam War was a war like no other - and that includes the current conflicts. For Americans, sending over soldiers to fight in Vietnam was like sending them off to fight on Mars, such were the differences in the way each country was imagined and represented. In terms of warfare, Vietnam demanded that the U.S. army depart from its WWII tactics of fighting across wide European fronts against a similarly-organized fighting machine; instead, it forced American troops to fight a counter-insurgency (COIN) war, the kind of war that Every Single Soldier's (ESS) Vietnam '65 [$9.99 (HD)] attempts to creatively depict on your tablets. The turn-based strategy game, published by Slitherine, depicts warfare differently than most other wargames, putting emphasis on logistics and winning "hearts and minds," rather than on large scale tactics, and doing so brilliantly. I was very interested in Vietnam '65 when it came out a couple of months back. However, before I had to chance to get to it, the developer announced that he was working on some important improvements, so I decided to wait until the game was updated, which it was a few days ago...

'Sproggiwood' Review - Wood, Could, Did

It's official, everyone: I'm nearly out of clever or interesting introductory paragraphs for roguelikes. So let's just just get down to the business of why you should consider a spot in your likely crowded roguelike folder for Sproggiwood [$9.99]. Hm, it feels like when I typed that name, all of the Aussies in the back of the room started snickering. Oh well. Sproggiwood tells the story of a mischievous little fellow named Sproggi, a guardian spirit who watches over a realm that is apparently doomed to destruction. Wishing to avoid that outcome, Sproggi does a little time manipulation to sucker a group of people called the Clogheads into helping out. The first of these is a humble farmer who Sproggi immediately tasks with taking out a dangerous boss jelly in a nearby forest. Sproggi warns you he's a bit of a silver tongue, so you'll need to mind that...




'The Last Warlock' Review - A Strife Less Ordinary

Like every genre, turn-based strategy RPGs have a certain common grammar to them. Most decent ones will bring their own ideas to the table, but the core gameplay rarely ventures outside of the well-established rules of the genre. Likely owing to its roots in chess and similar strategy board games, there's a certain rigidness inherent to this particular sub-genre that you might not see in others. While many games try to push against that by trying to offer the player a more free-form experience, balance is generally considered paramount. The more freedom a game gives the player, the harder it's going to be to maintain that balance. The end result is that once you've learned a good set of strategies for one game, that training will often serve you well in many others. It's not necessarily a bad thing, since most of these games are trying to simulate wars. It's not exactly reasonable to expect a commander to eschew time-honored strategies in favor of sending a pegasus-mounted zombie to chuck home-made bombs at a castle...

It's hard to imagine a more generic studio name than "Game Dev Team," but their recently-released title Hardboiled [$0.99] is anything but generic. A lot of energy has gone into this one, the game content is rich, compelling and definitely worth a play through. Hardboiled is a turn based, strategy RPG that explicitly mentions the classic Fallout series as inspiration. In Hardboiled, you play as Max, a wanderer in a world ravaged by nuclear war. Armed with makeshift weapons and equipment, your mission is to explore the devastated town in search of items you need to progress in the game...

'Kindo' Review - Respect, but not Love

Kindo [$1.99] is the kind of game I feel somewhat conflicted about. It's a game that I like and respect. I appreciate it for what it is and everything that it does. I think the concept of the game is strong, easy enough to pick up on, while allowing for high level play. It does almost everything it needs to in terms of features. But it's the kind of game that I personally won't be playing long-term because it doesn't give me the kind of satisfaction I like from games...

'Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon' is Looking for Beta Testers (or Cannon Fodder)

Slitherine is continuing its inexorable march to conquer both PC and iOS with its announcement today that iPad beta testers for Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon are expected to report for duty here. For those who lower their gaze when miniatures take the field to slaughter each other, Warhammer 40,000 (or 40K), is a tabletop miniature wargame produced by Games Workshop which has a pretty huge following. Recently, there have been as many Warhammer games on iOS as there are half-painted miniatures in the houses of many thirty-something guys. However, this iOS game will probably be among the best Warhammer games on any platform...

'Subterfuge' Strategy/Diplomacy Game Preview - Fascinating Machinations of Machines

One of my favorite aspect of strategy games is the clash of wits and the constant attempt to outmaneuver your opponent. Yet, AI opponents never really give me those glorious moments that a strategy board game can, the knowledge that you've just outmaneuvered someone who sees and understands the game in the same way you do but still couldn't figure out the trap you'd been setting the last few turns. So, when I first heard about Subterfuge, a one-week long multiplayer game of strategy and diplomacy currently in alpha developed by a team consisting of Ron Carmel (of World of Goo), Noel Llopis (of Amazing Alex), and artist Shane Nakamura (of Zombie Gunship), my strategy sense started tingling. According to the developers, the game was greatly influenced by Neptune's Pride and Diplomacy, which is music to my ears. After spending about a week with the game, I have to say that I'm really looking forward to the game coming out because Subterfuge really brings diplomacy to the fore and will be a great game to play with friends (as long as you don't mind losing a few of them after you double-cross them for the tenth time)...

RPG Reload File 036 - 'Partia'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where no losses are accepted when we can just reload. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past. It's a chance to revisit an old favorite, reflect on how well it holds up, and take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. With a genre so diverse that bloody feuds can start just by asking for definitions, it's important to present a balanced plate of games from week to week. I'll always do my best on that front, but just to keep me from going mad with power, I turn the choice over to you fine readers once per month. Simply make your suggestion by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload and if the RNG gods favor you, your selection might pop up in the June reader's choice article. Why June? Because May's article is next week, and it's already been decided. As per a suggestion from reader Jonathan Leschinski, next week's article will feature none other than the legendary Final Fantasy 4 [$15.99]. Mark your calendars, friends. It's going to be a big one!..

Developer Jujubee is probably most famous in the iOS scene for the Flashout series, their entry into the high-speed futuristic racing sub-genre. They're stylish games that don't venture all that far from the template, and at least at the time of the respective releases of each, satisfied a relatively underserved niche in the mobile gaming scene. Their latest effort wades into more populated waters, the RPG genre. Spellcrafter: The Path Of Magic [$2.99] is an odd hybrid. The battles play out like a light strategy RPG, but the parts between fights allow you to wander around like a more standard top-down RPG. Even more strangely, the game has a level-based setup, with three different playable heroes each getting three stages. Everything is okay on paper, but it just doesn't come together well at all...

Democracy is on sale, something everyone who watches politics knows very well. Of more interest to iPad gamers though is that Democracy 3 [$4.99 (HD)], Positech Games's Democracy simulation, is $0.99 today down from $9.99. It's the first time that Democracy 3 has dropped so low, so if the special interests you are representing want to influence (ruin) the political system of a country, now is your chance to make it happen at a bargain price...

If you love strategy games on the iPad, do I have a deal for you. Ultimate General: Gettysburg [$3.99 (HD)], the real time strategy game by Game Labs, is now $3.99, down from $7.99. The game is in soft-launch currently, but the U.S. is one of the soft-launch territories, so many of you should be able to get it. If you haven't heard of the game, which is a crime if you enjoy wargames even a bit, Ultimate General was originally developed for the PC and later ported to the iPad...

Offworld Games Announce 'Reiner Knizia's The Confrontation,' Set for This Summer

Over on our forums, Offworld Games announced today that their iPad port of The Confrontation will hit the App Store later this summer. The Confrontation is a turn-based strategy game by famed German board game designer Reiner Knizia. It's similar to Stratego in that you can't see your opponent's units until they engage in battle, but it features fewer units and an extra layer of card-based combat mechanics. ..

Back in September, every player who enjoys strategy games on iOS read in utter disbelief the news that Shenandoah Studio, the developer of some of the most acclaimed iOS wargames, and some of my personal favorites, such as Battle of the Bulge, Drive on Moscow, and Desert Fox, was acquired by strategy-gaming giant, Slitherine. Most players didn't know how to process the news, especially because at the time Shenandoah was developing its Gettysburg: The Tide Turns game, which it had kickstarted with some success. The acquisition was followed by too many months of silence on behalf of both Shenandoah and Slitherine...

'Crowntakers' for iPad Review - A Royally Good Roguelike Spin

Some of the earliest video game RPGs were roguelikes, but if you didn't notice them around for a couple of decades, nobody would blame you. After being fairly popular in the early stages of home computing, they soon gave way to bigger, more persistent adventures. They still had a dedicated following during those years, with games like Nethack, Angband, and Japan's Mystery Dungeon series carrying the torch for the genre. The boom of indie developers and the surging interest in more compact gaming experiences in the last ten years has seen the genre make a big comeback. The basic elements of the genre have been used in many popular games that might not be strictly considered roguelikes but owe a massive debt to the genre nonetheless. A genre once almost totally represented by so few games that you could count them off on your fingers now has a strong influence, especially in the PC and mobile gaming markets...

'Football Manager Classic 2015' Review - Creating Amazing Stories in a Sports Management Game

Necessary Disclaimer: Although this review is about the sport US readers call "soccer," I'll be using the term football to be consistent with the game's title...

Knights and Snails [Free] is a game that should have an identity crisis. It feels like it should be a multiplayer CCG-type title, with strategic battles. Instead it decides to structure itself more like a match-3 game with dozens of levels to play, and the trappings of something like Candy Crush Saga. [Free] I'm baffled by it, because the core gameplay concept is so interesting, but it just goes in such a weird and ill-fated direction...

It's all too easy to dismiss DomiNations [Free] as a Clash of Clans [Free] clone that arrived late to an over-saturated market. But with its theme of nation building, and a timeline spanning millennia, this is more like a free-to-play reimagining of Sid Meier's Civilization...

'Shadowrun: Dragonfall' Review - The Matrix, Reloaded

I'm of two minds about Shadowrun Returns [$1.99 (HD)], the 2013 Kickstarter-fueled return to the cult cyberpunk setting. On the one hand, it's a really strong RPG that pays respect to the beloved 16-bit games. The pacing is snappy, the systems are enjoyable to play around with, and while the setting isn't quite as unique as it was twenty-five years ago, it's still unusual enough to help invigorate the experience. I mean, this vision of a dystopian cyberpunk future is almost adorably retro at this point, like looking back at the 1960s idea of where the space race would lead us. The writing quality is strong enough that those feelings of quaintness are quickly shaken as you get into the plot. On the other hand, the iOS release was extremely buggy at launch, the developer was slow to fix anything, and it's still missing content from the PC version, a situation that will likely never be resolved. The game has a tendency to grab you by the wrist and drag you along, with little in the way of role-playing options or any real agency on your part. That's a valid choice and I enjoy many games that use that kind of design, but at least where I'm concerned, I tend to feel that Shadowrun RPGs are best when they're a bit more open-ended...

Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager (SPM) Road to the Moon [$9.99 (HD)], developed by Polar Motion and published by Slitherine, was first released on PC and is now out on iOS. The iPad version had an eventful launch because of a bug that made the tutorial unplayable on iPad Air devices (in a demonstration of its efficiency, Slitherine quickly identified and fixed the issue). The game puts you in the role of the Director of NASA, the Soviet Space Agency (SSA), or the fictitious Global Space Agency (GSA) as you try to launch rockets, satellites, and humans into space — and, in the case of the US and Soviet campaigns, do so before the other side does...

Even today, it's rare to see a developer's name affixed to a video game title. There are a lot of reasons for that, depending on which period we look at, but one of the bigger exceptions to that is the name of Sid Meier. I'm not sure how or why his name ended up in the title of Sid Meier's Pirates! [$2.99], but it might have simply been to help make the somewhat generic title more unique. The game was a massive hit, and while publishers generally don't like to canonize developers, they'll make an exception for just about any rule if the money looks right. So it is that after just a few more games, nearly every game Sid Meier had a hand in, and a few that he didn't, carried his name. It's an odd outcome for someone who seems to be a relatively low-key guy. The problem with his name becoming a brand, however, is that you can't be too sure with any given release just how much of the game is Sid Meier the designer versus Sid Meier the marketing tag...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.