Category Archives: Strategy

'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...

Just as we told you it would a couple of weeks ago, One Man Left's Outwitters [Free] has finally landed on Android and gained a massive overhaul in a version 2.0 update for iOS. Well, while it's technically a "massive overhaul," you won't likely notice much about the new iOS version just on the surface. One Man Left ended up rewriting the game from the ground up as part of the Android porting process, so the game runs like a dream now and features cross-platform play with Android folks. There's also native iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screen support, in-game auto-refresh to create a more "real-time" feel to the asynchronous multiplayer, and many more nips and tucks to the nearly three year old game...

If you're an iPad owner, into strategy games, and are a history buff, the mere mention of Slitherine's name is probably enough to get your blood pumping. Simply put, they consistently release some of the finest strategy games on iOS. Their games tend to be on the upper end of the App Store price range, but it's a genuine case of getting what you pay for. Each game is typically packed with content, extremely well-designed, and rounded out with a full set of features. Another well-known name in iOS strategy circles is Hunted Cow Studios, who are also nothing if not reliable. For years, their niche was in regularly releasing low-priced games covering a variety of interesting settings. The mechanics of those games rarely held any surprises, but they filled the belly without emptying the wallet. These two major forces in the iOS strategy game scene have come together with the release of Hell: Fight For Gilrand [$9.99 (HD)], an iPad-only release...

'Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure' Review - It's Auro Good

The first half of 2014 was pretty packed with roguelikes, with games like Wayward Souls [$6.99], Cardinal Quest 2 [Free], and Hoplite [$2.99] all taking their respective stab at the venerable sub-genre. This year has been a little more quiet on that front, with only a few offerings of any note at all. The best of this year's bunch until now has been Lamp And Vamp [$1.99] which, while very fun, was riffing pretty closely on Hoplite. Well, mark it on your calendars, friends, because I think we've got our first fresh hit of 2015 in the genre with Auro [$4.99], the latest game from the developers behind 100 Rogues [$2.99]. This one's been cooking at Dinofarm Games for quite a long time now, but I think it's certainly worth the wait...

In our hyper-connected world of social networks and online gaming, it seems like society is forgetting about our dear old friend the loner. I myself am a loner, as I enjoy single-player games the most and rarely play online with other people. I also don't really leave my apartment ever. Lately developers have been taking aim at that golden loner demographic, with games like One Player Pong last week and today the new Stratego Single Player [$1.99]. Stratego Single Player is pretty much what its title describes: The classic Stratego board game geared towards single-player play. It also features an AI developed by a Stratego World Champion...

'Pike and Shot' Review - Historical Strategy Hits the Mark

'Pike and Shot' Review - Historical Strategy Hits the Mark

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February 9th, 2015 10:44 AM EDT by Andrew Fretz in $19.99, 4.5 stars, iPad Games, Reviews, Strategy
$19.99 Buy Now

Pike and Shot [$19.99 (HD)] is out now on iOS from strategy vets Slitherine. This port of a PC game has made the transition very well. I bet you saw the price tag on this game, but let me be the first to tell you it's worth it. If you are wondering what the balance between quality and quantity is for this title, the balance is that it comes with heaping amounts of both. A host of features, in depth combat, historical narratives and a clean visual style make this an amazingly well rounded premium game...

'Sneaky Sneaky' Review: Metal Gear Rogue

'Sneaky Sneaky' Review: Metal Gear Rogue

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February 5th, 2015 1:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Strategy, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

Stealth is one genre that still isn't oversaturated, at least in my own mind. While there have been plenty of stealth games as far back as the NES era, pretty much every title adds in their own signature spin to the formula. Sneaky Sneaky [$2.99] is no different, featuring a tiny little rogue with an adorable pet rat...

There are a lot of issues with Heroes Of Might & Magic 3 HD [$9.99 (HD)], the spiffy remaster of the 1999 classic PC strategy game. The control layout has done little more than map things directly from keyboard and mouse to touch, with not much in the way of explanation of the intricacies, even in the tutorial. There's significant content missing in the form of the two expansions, which will not be coming to this version due to the source code being lost. The map editor found in the original game and the PC version of this HD remaster is not included in the iPad version. The updates are few in number, with just a bit of spit-polish done on the sprites and text to make them look a little less pixelated. These are all good reasons to pass on Heroes Of Might & Magic 3 HD, especially if you have a computer, where you can buy and play the complete version of the game with all expansions included for the same price...

'Lamp And Vamp' Review - This Campy Vamp Is Hoplite-Like And That's Alright

It was just over a year ago that I reviewed Douglas Cowley's excellent strategy game Hoplite [$2.99]. I found it to be a superb game, as many did, with tremendous depth and not an ounce of fat on its bones. It's one of the most efficiently-designed mobile games I've ever played. I can't say for sure if Mucho Party [Free] developer GlobZ was inspired by Hoplite when they made their latest game, Lamp And Vamp [$1.99], but it sure feels like they were. Not in a bad way, mind you. Lamp And Vamp certainly feels familiar, but it's different enough that it doesn't feel superfluous. Like Hoplite, you're trying to make your way across a single board, divided into hexagons, to an exit. In this case, it's a coffin. All you need to do is survive the gauntlet of enemies that lay in the path. It's harder than you might think...

I have a confession to make to all of you. About a month and a half ago, I started playing Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, and I've been hooked ever since. I'm in deep, playing every day to open up new chapters from the games and unlock new characters. For a Final Fantasy fan, it's almost the best case you could imagine for a free-to-play social RPG. A lot of that is because it understands that you have to give people some of what they want or you're going to lose them right away. It's not as strategic as Terra Battle [Free], and it certainly has some pay boundaries when you get several hours in, but all-around, it's one of the more generous and fun social RPGs I've played so far. It's certainly not what I expected from DeNA, a company who has earned a bit of a reputation over the years...

It was just about a year ago that Mi-Clos Studio launched their haunting deep-space survival game Out There [$4.99] to critical praise, including our own 5 star review and Game of the Week nod. In July of last year the studio announced that Out There would be getting a huge revamp dubbed the "Omega Edition" and along with that it would be expanding to PC, Mac and Linux. Just last month, Mi-Clos revealed the first images of Omega Edition and detailed some of the changes and new features that it would include. Today the beta version of Out There: Omega Edition has launched and Mi-Clos has released the first trailer showing off some of the new features in the game, including the slick new graphical engine...

Ambition Of The Slimes [Free] appeared on the App Store worldwide a few months back, but until recently, the only language it offered was Japanese, making it tough to play for people using every App Store except Japan's. An English patch was promised in the notes, but after a few updates came with no sign of a translation, I had assumed the developer meant it in a 'someday' kind of way. Apparently not, however, as the game's most recent update finally opened up the game to English players. So, as I promised back in the first article I wrote about the game, I'm here to give the game a proper review...

In October of last year, a bizarre and intriguing tactical strategy game called Ambition of the Slimes [Free] was released. The premise was that those adorable little slimes that have been fodder in RPGs for decades are finally sick of being pushed around, so they decide to fight back. The way they do this is by inhabiting the bodies of humans. The game plays out in turn-based fashion as you tactfully position your slimes near human enemies, take over their bodies, and then use those inhabited humans as weapons against the rest of the humans. It's kind of twisted, but everything's oh-so-cute, so it's ok. ..

In the first half of 2014, the hottest trend in war strategy games was the Eastern front of World War 2. We had entries from Hunted Cow, Shenandoah Studio, and Slitherine, all within a fairly short span of time. Slitherine's title, Frontline: Road To Moscow [$2.99], was a slightly more accessible strategy game than their usual fare, and although it lacked the depth that fans of the genre tend to crave, I enjoyed it well enough. The game had a huge variety of units to play with, took terrain conditions into account, and had just enough below the surface to keep me engaged without crushing me. On top of that, the visual designs of the pieces were excellent, the base game included a generous amount of missions, and while it did release in a bit of an Eastern front boom period, the overall scenario was still quite novel for me. In theory, I should be the perfect target for a follow-up...

Foursaken Media tackled the deficiency in games inspired by Mega Man Battle Network last year with their action-RPG Phantom Rift [$0.99]. Haven't gotten a chance to check it out yet? Well, now's as good a time as any, as the game is on sale for $0.99. The game combines deck-building with real-time combat, as you create decks of attacks, and draw them out in battles, which you use against enemies, but with an energy cost to equip. You also get to explore a world that is built before your eyes, Bastion-style [$4.99], and can get all manner of equipment to deck out your wizard...

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