Earlier this month we took a look at Neuroshima Hex [$2.99], the iPhone adaptation of a strategy-heavy boardgame based in the Neuroshima universe. This game world straddles several sci-fi cliches and includes things like nuclear war, a sentient robotic revolt, mutants, humans doing whatever they can to survive, and even somewhat intelligent carnivorous plant life. Adapted from the tabletop Neuroshima game, Neuroshima Hex features four of the main factions and is fast-paced enough that calling it an “action" board game seems appropriate.
Like many strategy games with unique rulesets, Neuroshima Hex is fairly complicated. Playing the game involves selecting one of the four factions, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, then playing with a 35 tile “deck". Players start by placing their headquarters on the game board, and the rest of the game revolves around attacking the enemy HQ while defending your own utilizing the tiles you draw at the start of your turn. Your deck of tiles consists of three different types, tiles that contain different types of units, modules which buff those units, and instant action tiles that do things like destroy or slide a unit, or even initiate combat.
The issue with all this is that the learning curve of the game is less of a curve and more of a wall, as the developers didn’t do much to make the game approachable to newbies aside from including a brief tutorial video. There is a help section in the game, but is isn’t convenient at all to refer to while you’re actually playing. Once you get a hang of strategically using your hex tiles to attack the opponent as well as deal with their threats on the game board Neuroshima Hex is a lot of fun… But as suggested in the thread in our forums getting there requires reading additional material on the game or even printing out a quick reference guide PDF.
In comparison, Carcassonne [$4.99] features a fully interactive voiced over tutorial that did an absolutely fantastic job at introducing new players to the game. Carcassonne is also host to some great online multiplayer options while Neuroshima Hex only comes with single device multiplayer. Thankfully, the developers have posted in our forums acknowledging these issues and plan on addressing them in the future.
Neuroshima Hex is a fun fast paced strategy game, and if you already know how to play, you’ll likely have a great time jumping right in to this iPhone port. If you’re intrigued by hex grid strategy games, and this is the first you’ve heard of Neuroshima Hex, just be aware that you’ve got quite a bit of work in front of you as you climb the steep learning curve.