Frozen Synapse on iPad is one of the few notable “core" kinda releases this week, and it is what you think it is: a pretty straight-up port of an imaginative PC title that got a bunch of awards and praise. This version sees the addition of one-tap touch controls, as well as cross-platform play.
At the top level, this a turn-based strategy game set in a world bursting with neon. For the most part, you’ll be tasked with ordering around a squad of lo-fi dudes in an effort to clear the enemy team or take an objective. You’ll send your dudes to take cover or to flank and, if you’re lucky, to go in for a kill. What makes this interesting is the fact that you’re controlling the smallest movements. You pick which direction your dudes will look, at which point they’ll crouch, and so on. As you do this, the enemy team moves too, so there’s a bit of a reaction and prediction component going on as well.
The whole game kinda reminds me of a living, breathing old-school Ghost Recon or Rainbow Six pre-mission planning screen. I used to spend some major time in these, probably more time than I did actually executing the plan. And just like in these games when bad dudes counter or take an unexpected position, you get these awesome emergent moments where you just throw away the plan and act on what you’re seeing. It’s a great feeling, surprisingly.
A lot has been said about this one over the years, and I’m not adding anything new here by mentioning that the granularity of your tactical options and the emergence are some of this one’s best features. But, it’s definitely a title you’ll want to have in your arsenal if you’re into tactical shooters. There’s not too many of those games on iPad to begin with and none specifically like this one at all.
Frozen Synapse hits tonight at around 11PM EST. Add it to your Watch List on our app and we’ll send you a notification when it hits the App Store.
International App Store Link: Frozen Synapse, $6.99