Search Results for: label/Strategy/index.html

Number of Results: 30

Eufloria [Omni Systems Limited] – $4.99 [HD]/$2.99 [iPhone/iPod]

I’m realizing more and more that Real-Time Strategy is a sort of niche genre. Seems the difficulty keeps a lot of gamers from diving into it, which is a shame, because, well, for one, RTS titles are a perfect fit for the iOS, and two, there’s some extremely console quality depthy gameplay to be had. One prime example of this is Omni Systems first iOS release, Eufloria. Originally released back in February of this year, Eufloria was originally only released for the iPad, but with an update that hit Thursday, the HD version was made Universal, and alongside it, an iPhone/iPod only build was also released. Luckily, the HD build is compatible with the 3rd Generation iPod Touch and up, so gamers who already own the HD version don’t need to double dip. 
Starting it off, Eufloria has 3 different gameplay modes; Story Mode, Skirmish Mode and Dark Matter Mode. Story Mode includes 25 levels, and can be played on either Relaxed or Challenging difficulties. Skirmish Mode contains 8 separate arenas, and Dark Matter Mode lets you replay Story Mode levels on a harder difficulty, providing more of a challenge. 
Granted, the words difficult and challenge have already been tossed around a couple times, but Eufloria is a fantastic title for newcomers to the Real-Time Strategy genre. Actually, I’d have to say that it’s probably one of the best, if not the best title for newcomers to start out with. The UI is fantastic, as the minimal graphics carry over to the controls, making it one of the simplest to control titles within the genre. 
The goal of the game is to completely wipe out the opposition in each stage by taking over each asteroid that is, or can be, controlled by the enemy. To move your creatures, you’re able to either tap on the asteroid that they’re flying around, and then drag to the asteroid you want to attack, or you can tap on an asteroid, and use the icon at the bottom of the screen to enter movement mode, which lets you choose, by tapping, which asteroid you want to move to. Once you’ve got your destination selected, you’re able to alter how many creatures you send to that asteroid by dragging, counter-clockwise, in the green circle that appears. Then just hit ‘OK’. If you’d like to scout an asteroid before sending a massive amount of your creatures to it, there’s an icon at the bottom of the screen aptly named ‘X1’. This sends just one creature to the selected asteroid. 
Once you have taken over an asteroid, you’re able to build trees, which sprout more creatures, or build defensive bomb type objects, by tapping on the icons at the bottom of the screen. You can also change the type of creatures that that asteroid produces by tapping on another icon, and altering the gauges for Strength, Speed and Energy. The last icon sends a beacon to another asteroid, sending all of your produced creatures straight to it. 
Graphically, Eufloria is one of the more beautiful, atmospheric titles available in the AppStore. The minimal environments, matched with the fantastic ambient soundscapes create an incredibly immersive world, one that’s very easy to fall into while playing. Zooming in on the asteroids, you can watch the trees that produce your fleet grow, as well as see the bustling creatures. Zooming out leaves you with an expanded view of the environment, and little dots for your fleet. The animations are very well done, and with the amazingly simple user interface, it all fits together perfectly, and seamlessly, to create one hell of a great game. 
Now that Eufloria HD is Universal, and has an iPod/iPhone only build, it’s very easy to recommend to all gamers, especially fans of the RTS genre, but even for gamers that aren’t really into strategy games. It provides a fantastic gameplay experience, and ranges from casual to hardcore, with basically endless replay value. Being one of the best RTS titles available, on any gaming platform, $4.99 for the Universal build, and $2.99 for the iPhone version is a steal. With GameCenter integration sporting 20 achievements and iCloud support, along with more levels and a new game mode or two promised with future updates, it’s definitely a game worth picking up and supporting. Here’s hoping online skirmish battles will be part of the promised updates, because right now, that really seems to be all that Eufloria is missing. 

Great Big War Game [Rubicon] – $2.99

One of the biggest titles in iOS Turn-Based Strategy games, ironically enough named Great Little War Game, has finally come out with the sequel, Great Big War Game, and this time, Rubicon isn’t messing around. Including 50 single player campaign missions, a whole slew of skirmish maps, Pass & Play gameplay, and probably the biggest feature; Asynchronous Online Multiplayer. Great BIG War Game, indeed. 
For those of you familiar with GLWG, Great Big War Game is basically more of the same. But those those of you who love GLWG, that is in no way a bad thing. At all. Great Big War Game picks up where the updates for GLWG left off, with more war advancing escapades from the General, Jenkins, and this time, a new female character, Candy. You’re also outfitted with more units, more vehicles, and, in general, just a whole lot more. For those of you who haven’t been lucky enough to experience the great gameplay of GLWG in the past, Great Big War Game is a turn-based strategy game that has you going up against the enemy, running a muck in turn-based warfare. It’s gameplay is simple enough that newcomers to the genre can dive right in, but gets complex enough that hardcore fans of TBS gameplay will still have a challenge. And now, with Online MP, you’ll be able to have even more endless replay value, with players of all skill types. 
Now, along with the 50 Single Player Campaign stages, Skirmish Mode and Online MP Mode both have quite a few maps to play with. The game comes with 15 Maps, and has 3 more Map Packs available for purchase through IAP. Each of the Map Packs costs $1.99, and including a little something special. The War Chest Pack gives you 15 maps, and 150 Battle Points, which are points that you can earn in-game to permanently upgrade your troops for Campaign Mode, and clear the Fog of War. Map Pack 1 gives you 20 maps, and a new vehicle type, a flame shooting tank, while Map Pack 2 gives you another 20 maps, and a medic who can heal all your troops on the field. Rubicon has already stated that more maps will be added to these Map Packs, so if you purchase them now, you’ll get even more maps for free in future updates. I guess now would be a good time to mention that Rubicon’s support for Great Little War Game has been outstanding, and they have added quite a few maps to that game over the course of it’s time on the AppStore as well, so this isn’t just another empty promise from a developer who’s support has been questionable in the past, or a new-comer to the scene, who promises content, and then later on down the road says that sales we’re adequate to keep the updates coming (which is understandable, but always disappointing). 
The Online Multiplayer is handled through Rubicon’s own servers, and even though some might prefer GameCenter, this allows for cross-platform play. That’s right. You can play GBWG online on your iPad against a friend who’s playing on an Android. Soon enough, GBWG will be available for the PC, Mac, as well as the BBPlaybook, which means that there’s the potential of hundreds of thousands of players available for online play. What makes it even better, is that you don’t exactly need to know anyone in order to add friends to your list. Once you type in a name, for example, Paul, all of the gamers who have started their online name with ‘Paul’ will be listed and available to add to your friends list. So even those of you dying to play online, but who don’t know anyone, can still have a fairly good chance of finding online players. Surprisingly enough, I also haven’t run into any issues with the online play. There’s almost always bugs and issues which developers couldn’t have caught during the Beta Testing, but Rubicon has obviously put a lot of time and effort into squashing all the bugs and getting rid of all the issues they possibly could, which is basically unheard of with iOS MP titles. 
The controls in GBWG are great, and really, some of the best I’ve seen in a strategy title on the iOS. To move your units, you tap on them, and then tap on where you want to move them to, and the same goes for vehicles, while scrolling the map is done with a one finger drag, and zooming in and out is done by pinching and pulling. To see where your units can attack, you just need to hold down on the unit in question. Your typical TBS controls, I guess. But what makes them stand out is that I’ve never had an instance where my character didn’t move to a location right next to where I wanted it to, I’ve also never had a character shoot an enemy target I wasn’t targeting, and the units have never moved while selected, and while I’ve been dragging the map around. Responsive controls remove a lot of un-necessary frustration from games, and here, they’re very smooth and very responsive. 
The graphics are a bit cartoony, but the animations are great. The explosions, taking aim and firing, getting hit, running around the maps, it’s all animated beautifully, and even though it is a little cartoony, the game becomes very immersive because of how great it looks and plays. The music and sound effects are also top notch, with some typical war time music, and units calling out ‘On point!’ ‘Bag ‘em & tag ‘em!’ ‘You need me?’ and more, it’s easy to get sucked into their world of obeying orders, and doing what you can for your side in order to win. 
With Great Big War Game priced at $2.99, and being Universal, it’s a great buy. There’s loads of content with your original purchase, and even more available if you’re wanting to throw a couple more bucks down, and Rubicon is a fantastic developer who has shown awesome support for their previous games, which makes it easy to want to support them in return. The endless play offers up the possibility of GBWG never being removed from your device, and as a sequel of one of the best TBS titles in iOS gaming, that possibility is multiplied by the great gameplay. Rubicon has definitely done it again, and I can’t wait to get knee deep into the online play, and get to learn all of the maps. If you’re a fan of the genre, GBWG is definitely a game you NEED to own. Finding another Strategy game with the amount of charm and astounding gameplay on the iOS is near impossible. 

Bio Crisis [Sphinx Entertainment] – $2.99

Sphinx Entertainment has released some awesome games in the past; Carrot War, VR Mission, Mole Dash, League of Extraordinary Birds, and more. Their newest title, however, is easily their best yet. Bio Crisis, a title that’s won numerous Indie Game Design Awards, has been polished up and released for the iOS, and takes it’s place next to the small, but growing list, of cover based shooters. 
Bio Crisis throws you into the roll of Night Hawk, a marine who’s guided by Claire, the operator of the Missions, who is pretty much your tutorial master. It’s 2035, and Earth’s resources are depleted. Thankfully, a meteor that wound up landing somewhere near the jungle that use to be the South Pole has been found. It’s said to contain a mysterious crystal which could be a source of great power. Your mission is to find Bull Dog, another operative who hasn’t been able to be reached since finding Crystal Samples. 
Like other cover-based shooters, you’re outfitted with various weapons, and will need to fight your way through loads of enemies in order to complete your objective. But with Bio Crisis being a top-down type shooter, it allows for some great strategic additions. This is amplified by the great level design, and positioning of barriers which you’re able to take cover behind.
All of this would be pretty much meaningless if it weren’t for the great control system. You’re given a virtual joystick, roll, fire and reload buttons. Once you get close to a barrier, Night Hawk automatically takes cover behind it, blocking all of the projectiles coming your way, and in order to make it through the game without running out of ammo, you’ll need to figure out what weapon best serves the situation. You’re outfitted with an auto riffle, shotgun, missile launcher, grenades, and a laser gun, and switching between all of them throughout each level is basically mandatory. Your shotgun is great for taking out enemies close-by, while your riffle is better for enemies further away. If you’ve got enemies back to back, the laser is able to shoot through them, hitting all of them at once, and the missile launcher and grenades take care of bigger enemies or groups of enemies. You’re also equipped with a knife, which you’ll be able to use when you’re close to an enemy. You automatically use it by pressing the ‘fire’ button, no matter what weapon is equipped. 
There are 24 Missions, and every 6th Mission you’ll come across a boss battle. Here, you’ll need to figure out how to use the environment and your heavy weapons to best serve you. The first boss battle is fairly easy, requiring you to roll out of the way when the boss comes charging at you, and then shoot missiles and throw grenades at him once he hit’s the wall and is dazed. However, the second boss has some great armor, and in order to take him out you’ll need to figure out where to stand in order to make him damage himself. 
There are goals which you’ll need to complete in order to unlock the other gameplay modes; Brutal, Insane and Hell. To unlock Brutal Mode, you need to kill 100 enemies with grenades, for Insane, you need to kill 999 enemies, and for Hell Mode, you’ll need to kill 500 enemies with your knife. 
There is a shop, with IAPs included in the game. In the shop, you can upgrade your weapons, as well as purchase ammo if you happen to run out. The IAP is for coins. You also earn these coins by playing through the game. With each enemy you kill, you’re given coins, and are given lump sums after completing boss stages. While progressing through the game, you’ll also come across ammo containers which help out with the ammo. You will run out of ammunition if you blast away emptying clip after clip into an enemy after their dead, or just decide to only use one gun the entire time you’re playing. But the game is centered around strategically figuring out what weapon best suit’s the situation, and carefully planning out your attacks. It isn’t a blast everything to smithereens while not keeping an eye on your ammo type of game. Your health is also pretty limited, but does regenerate. 
You can automatically refill your health for 300 coins if you don’t want to wait, but again, you will be dying and loosing a lot of health if you just decide to run into a group of enemies and start blasting away. Players that don’t use some strategy and don’t use each weapon as it’s meant to be used will probably wind up feeling like they’re being pushed towards buying coins through the in-app-purchases. However, you can also go back and replay missions that you’ve already beat if you wound up loosing all of your ammo by being careless. You’ll earn the same amount of coins as you did the first time you played through the level, so this can help out a lot. 
With Bio Crisis priced at $2.99, and being Universal, it’s a great buy for gamers looking for another cover-based shooter, or a shooter that requires thought rather than mindless killing. Sphinx Entertainment has definitely raised their own bar, as well as created a fantastic cover-based shooter that can hold it’s own within the genre. The game could use GameCenter support, with achievements, and possibly leader boards, but with the amount of content, there’s already quite a bit that’ll keep you coming back to the game, even after you beat the Campaign Mode. Bio Crisis is highly recommended for fans of the genre, especially if you’re sick of the mindless shooters found throughout the AppStore. 

Zombie Quest [Synaptic Wave] – $0.99/$1.99

Hex-based strategy games haven’t really been my cup of tea. New World Colony, Conquest!, Neuroshima Hex – none of them really did it for me, and with Neuroshima Hex being GameShark’s iOS GOTY, TouchGen’s runner up for Best Board Game, and a whole slew of fantastic reviews and press behind it, probably the ‘best of the best’ – I just figured the genre wasn’t really for me. Lucky for me, I was able to have an entirely different experience with Synaptic Wave’s (a 6 person outfit from the Ukraine, and developers of Tesla Wars and Tower Siege) Zombie Quest – Mastermind the Hexes! 
Maybe it appeals to me because I’m not a hardcore strategy fanatic, maybe I’ve still got some ‘casual’ gamer left in me from my early 20’s, I dunno, but Zombie Quest really hit’s the mark between casual and hardcore which is usually a difficult balance to achieve for most strategy developing studios, who generally go completely casual, or full-on hardcore within the genre. 
With Zombie Quest, you’ll be able to think your way through 5 different enemies, including Pinhead, Dracula, Lecter, Frankenstein and Torquemada, each having 4 different stages with increasing difficulty. The gameplay is simple enough, yet full of strategy. Whenever it’s your turn, you select one of your wolf characters on the screen, and you can either select a spot directly next to them, which will clone your character, and turn any enemy characters that are touching that spot into one of your characters, or you can jump up to 3 spaces away, not cloning your character, but sometimes being able to make it into a group of enemy tiles, resulting in a huge addition to your team. The side with the most characters on the board when there are no more moves left for one of the players, or the board is full, wins. 
The addition of power-ups makes the gameplay even more strategic. At first, you’re only able to use a shield, protecting one of your wolfs from becoming an enemy if they move next to your character. The enemy is also given a power-up, in the case of your first enemy, Torquemada, he’s able to use a crane like power-up, removing one character from the board. Once you complete the 4 Torquemada stages, you’re given that power-up, and can use it throughout the rest of the game. Also adding to the game is a special 2 player, side-by-side mode, which lets you play with another player on the same device. With not too many 2-player-1-device games out there, it’s definitely a plus, and was a pretty big surprise to find included with the game. 
It’s not really anything that hasn’t been done before, I’m sure, though I’ve never had the pleasure of playing a hex based strategy game that does what Zombie Quest does, with a surprising amount of polish on the animations and graphics, as well as casual gameplay that could easily appeal to hardcore strategy gamers looking for something to blow through, or take their mind off of extremely deathy gameplay. 
Zombie Quest also includes GameCenter integration with a total score leader board, and 15 achievements, adding some replay value to the game, but if you’re not really a high-score chaser, or achievement fanatic, the 20 levels don’t really offer up much replay value, and will probably not be a game you dive back into time and time again after completion. However, the time you do spend making your way through the game will be toughly enjoyed, especially if you’re new to the genre, or more of a casual gamer. 
With a few fairly deep strategy hex based games in the AppStore, games like Zombie Quest is something we could definitely use more of. If you’re looking for something with loads of depth, and endless replay value, chances are, this is not for you. But priced at $0.99 for the SD version and $1.99 for the HD version, it’s worth snagging if your interested in getting into the genre, are looking for another 2 player on 1 device title, or are interested in something that won’t push your mind to the edge through every stage of the game. With their previous Synaptic Wave releases, the updates have definitely not been in short supply. Hopefully Zombie Quest will get a couple more enemies to take on, or maybe even multiplayer in the future. With the gameplay, it’s easy to see multiple different routes being taken, and hopefully Synaptic Wave will take advantage of that. 

WarGames: WOPR [Be-Rad Entertainment] – $0.99

Match-3 games are almost as abundant as runners in the AppStore, which makes it hard to find titles within the genre that really stand out. Luckily, there are those few that do. Be-Rad’s latest release, WarGames: WOPR is definitely a title that stands out above the rest. Officially licensed, WarGames centers around the 1980’s Movie by the same name, with you taking control of the WOPR computer.
WarGames: WOPR only has one mode; the Campaign. It takes you through the story of WarGames from the computer’s perspective. You’ll go up against each of the movie’s characters, gaining special powers, and pieces of the launch code. 
WarGames is played by connecting groups of 3 or more symbols in order to use that action. On the board are missiles, satellites, + and $ symbols. The missiles attack your opponent, satellites go towards filling up a percentage which, when it hits 100%, gives you a special option, usually giving you health, an extra attack, or placement of power-ups on the board. The “+” symbols regenerate health, and the “$” symbols give you money, which you need in order to use your power-ups which you’ll gain as you progress throughout the game.
As you complete stages, you’ll earn RAM. This RAM is used to purchase and upgrade Tactics, or usable power-ups, which you can use in-game with the money you gain while playing, and Mods, which are permanent bonuses like gaining money with each turn, spawn a powerup tile when clearing chains of 12 or more, gain money instead of health when health is already at 100%, things of this nature. You are able to buy more RAM through the IAP, but it isn’t required to complete the game, and is mainly there if you want a super-powered up computer, or just feel like donating some money to the developers. 
The graphics are a simple, retro inspired, minimal style, and the animations fit very well within that fashion. However, the music is more modern, but accompanies the style of the game perfectly. The User Interface is clean, simple and responsive, and with no time limits, you’re able to thoroughly think through your moves, which, like most other match-3 games, does involve some strategy. 
WarGames: WOPR is Universal and priced at $0.99. It is supported with GameCenter, having a leaderboard for most Nukes, along with 8 Achievements. It’s also got iCloud support, which is fantastic, considering some of the levels are incredibly challenging, and sharing the saved data between devices is a real time saver. As far as Match-3 games go for the iOS, WarGames is definitely one of the best. If you’re a fan of the genre, it’s one title you should check out.

Cardinal Quest [Joshua E Day] – $1.99

Roguelike games have definitely become a new obsession of mine. After 100 Rogues and Zaga 33, I just can’t get enough of them. A three-man project, Cardinal Quest, just so happens to be the newest roguelike to grace my iPad, and it’s already gotten quite a bit of gameplay out of me. 
Starting off, you’re able to choose between one of three different characters; a Fighter, who has strong melee attacks, a Thief, who is agile and can use his speed to get away from enemies quickly, and a Wizard who’s strength is in his spells. You’ll be going after Asterion. A minotaur who crushed the town you were living in when you were young, also captured many of the townsfolk, and turned them into his slaves. Now that you’re older, you’re going after the beast, fighting through swarms of his minions and maze like dungeons. 
To control your character, you’ll need to tap in the gameplay area in the direction you want to move. A swipe to move control scheme would be a nice addition, but right now, the tap to move and hold to run controls work well enough. On the right side of the screen, you’ll have your spells, at the bottom, your quick select inventory, and on the left, you can select a map, inventory, and check out your character’s stats. As you make your way through each level of the dungeon, you’ll automatically level up your character by defeating enemies, and gain more spells by exploring and finding them laying around. Your character also automatically equips himself with the strongest equipment he finds, which is a nice addition. No needing to go and manually figure out what items to wear. Once you find stairs to a lower level, all you need to do is tap the center of the screen, and your character will go down to the next level.
Like most other roguelike titles available, Cardinal Quest is done with retro graphics, but even though you’re going through dungeon level after dungeon level, the environments do change enough to stay interesting. Also, the character and enemy sprites are well done, and surprisingly, the equipment that your character wears is shown on his in-game sprite, which is a great addition. Great animations, the nice BGM and cool sound effects complete the atmosphere perfectly. The level design is fairly simple, with no hidden passage ways, no locked doors, but the exploration aspect is still there, and the lack of any hidden areas doesn’t really effect the gameplay. The developers have also said that this is something they’d like to add in the future, so we’ll see.
Unfortunately, unlike most other rogue like titles, there are no stats. Having a stats screen is a big thing for a lot of roguelike fans. Seeing how well you’ve done, how far you’ve gotten, which character you play the best with, ect… is usually a big deal. Thankfully, this is also something that the developers are talking about adding in a future update for the game. But as it is right now, there are no end game stats at all. 
Cardinal Quest is a great, fast-paced roguelike title that fans of the genre should definitely check out. Priced at $1.99, and being Universal, it’s a great buy, and one that will fit very nicely between 100 Rogues and Fargoal in any Roguelike folder on your device. Hopefully the game will sell well, and we can see the game become more well rounded, but even as it is now, it’s a game that no roguelike fanatic should be without.

Hunters 2 [Rodeo Games] – $4.99

After the success of Hunters: Episode One, the fantastic sci-fi turn-based strategy title from Rodeo Games, it was no surprise when Hunters 2 was announced. Being a Strategy fanatic, I was extremely excited to get my hands on the release. Unfortunately, because of some badly timed events, and large backup of games, I wasn’t able to get the time to check it out. After playing for 5 hours straight this morning, I’m kicking myself for not having it on my device sooner. 
Like Hunters: Episode One, your thrown into a civilization which revolves around contracts. There are no governments, only corporation owned planets, and credits and contracts are the only things that matter. Unlike the first Hunters, Hunters 2 has an actual story line which you can progress through while also having access to daily contracts which you can play to earn more experience and money, helping you make it through the story mode a little easier, while also providing some extra challenge. 
Starting off, you’re able to choose between Easy, Normal and Hard difficulties, as well as being able to turn Hardcore Mode on, which makes it so that any team members lost during battle are lost forever. After a back-story dialogue scroll down the screen, you’re thrown into a tutorial mission where you’ll learn the basics of the game while also finding out that your employer wants you dead, presumably because of some information you posses. After all but a total of 3 members of your team have been extinguished. Making your way to the end of the tutorial level, the last 3 members are overrun. 
You’re then taken to the ship where you can check out the available menu options, Bridge (where you start your contracts), Comms (where you can connect to Rodeo Games, Facebook, Twitter, and check out GameCenter boards and achievements), Armory (where you’re able to equip your team members), Trade (which is the shop, where you can buy and sell items, as well as purchase new members), Manufacturing (which is where you can create your own weapons and armor) and Settings (which lets you change the difficulty, team color, music and effects volumes, and turn the Blood and Free daily Gifts on or off, as well as reset the campaign). 
Each member of your team is able to be outfitted with one weapon, and armor, with both having a major influence on how you play the game with those specific characters, with the armor dictating how many moves they can make per turn, and the weapons you equip possibly taking up more than one movement point. As they level up, more abilities will become available to them, giving your team-mates super human abilities, and extra special moves to help them tear the enemies apart. Since you are able to purchase more members from the shop, even leveled up members, this makes experimenting with weaponry and armor very easy, and adds quite a bit of depth to the already depthy strategic gameplay. 
The graphics in Hunters 2 are what you would expect from a sequel. If you’ve played the original Hunters, you’re familiar with the look of the environments and character models. Rodeo Games did definitely make the graphics sharper and more vibrant, with some fantastically created plantlife and outdoor environments added to the many buildings found in the first title. They’ve also added some very nice atmospheric graphic effects and animations to go along with the new graphics, making the game even more immersive than the original. Also accompanying the new graphics is fantastic music and sound effects helping to set the dark and dreary mood perfectly. 
This time around, Rodeo Games made Hunters 2 Universal, and with it being priced at $4.99, it’s a fantastic deal, especially considering the endless replay value, and extremely difficult challenges that await players in-game. GameCenter is also supported, with a leader board based on how many contracts you complete, along with 33 hard-to-unlock achievements, both also adding to the insanely high replay value. Rodeo Games has done a fantastic job creating a completely immersive world, and compelling campaign to go along with this amazing game. Hunters 2 has quickly become one of my favorite iOS strategy games, and right now, is definitely in the top 3 on my ‘Best of 2012’ list. It’s one game that strategy fans need to have on their iDevice. 

Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space [Astraware Limited] – $4.99

I’m still fairly new to the 4X genre, having only been into it for the last couple years, but what I’ve played so far, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. Starbase Orion is easily one of my favorite iOS games to date, and Ascendancy, Civilization Revolution and Imperium Galactica II have totally got me hooked. Luckily for me, there were a few 4X ‘lite’ games to be found on the AppStore, and without them, I don’t think I would have gotten into the 4X genre like I have. 9 Colonies, Blue Libra and Vincere Totus Astrum played huge roles in my decent into the 4X world, and since then, I still find it hard to pass up on lite 4X titles. Astraware Limited’s Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space falls into this category of ‘4X lite’, and just like the other titles mentioned, it’s a great game to get if you’re just starting to uncover the many, many layers of the 4X genre, or even if you’re already deep into the genre, and are looking for a game that you can complete in 10-30 minutes. 
There are 3 different types of campaign like scenarios in Weird Worlds which you’ll be able to play through, each depending on the type of ship you choose to command. There’s a Science Vessel, Pirate Corvette and Terran Frigate. 
With the Science Vessel, your goal is to catalog and capture unknown alien lifeforms. While you’re doing this, you’ll need to also catalogue new worlds and various deep space phenomena so that the information can be added to starmaps. Playing with the Pirate Corvette will have you exploring the galaxy and grabbing anything of value; technology, artifacts, lifeforms, weapons and hostages. The Terran Frigate’s goals are to make first contact with alien lifeforms determining if they are peaceful or ready for war, as well as obtaining all of the technology and artifacts you can that might be useful to the military. 
With each ship, you’re able to decide how large the map is, small, medium or large. As the galaxy gets bigger, you’ll have more time to explore the planets within it. The small map gives you 10 years, medium gives you 20 and the large map gives you 30. You must make it back to Glory, the planet you start your adventure from, before time runs out, or else the points you’ve collected while out in space will not be added to your score. You’re also able to choose the Nebula Mass, which slows down your ship dramatically, as well as the hostile alien’s combat strength. 
Exploring the galaxy is simple, tap on a planet, and two taps will pop up, ‘Engage’ and ‘View’. You’re also able to see how far away the planet is, and how long it will take you to travel to it. ‘View’ gives you a little bit of information about the planet, while ‘Engage’ will have you travel there. Once you’re on the planet, if there are any available materials, weapons, other equip items like shields, star drives, propulsion systems, and loads more, as well as alien beings, plant life, technology and artifacts, you can put all of these into your cargo hold, or equip your own ship with them. 
Unless you have an item which scans planets within your vicinity, you will not be able to tell if planets are occupied by alien beings or not until you land on the planet. If there are alien lifeforms, you can choose to engage them and find out if they’re hostile or friendly, or just leave them alone without finding out who or what they are. As you travel around the galaxy, you’ll also come across mercenaries which can be hired by trading them items from your cargo hold. Once you have hired them, they’ll fly alongside you in battle, helping you get out of tricky situations. You are also able to equip their ships with items found on the various planets, which does give the whole equip system some depth. 
Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space is only available for the iPad, and is $4.99. It does have GameCenter support, with 3 boards for the small, medium and large sized galaxies, but does not have any achievements. Right now, Weird Worlds would be much better if it had a lot more items and aliens to come across within the galaxy as right now, it seems like after you play through the game once with each of the ships, you’ve pretty much seen everything there is to see, and all that keeps you playing is the high-score chase. Hopefully the developers have something in mind to add to the replay value. The game is solid in all other aspects. It’s a great game for those of you who are looking to get more into the 4X genre, but are finding games like Ascendancy and Starbase Orion too complex at the moment, or for 4X fans looking for a game that they can play through in short spans. 

Plague Inc. [Ndemic Creations] – $0.99

It’s not too often you see a completely unique and original Strategy title, even on a platform that’s full of hundreds of incredibly talented developing teams. It’s even more rare for a Strategy title to end up taking the #1 spot on the iTunes Paid Game’s list away from Angry Birds. Plague Inc., developed by Ndemic Creations is just that. Plague Inc. has you evolving and spreading a disease, while trying to infect and kill everyone in the world before a cure can be found. Sound evil? It is. But it’s also one of the most interesting and addictive strategy games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.
When you start your first game, you’ll only be able to start with a Bacteria and will be able to choose between Casual (no one washes their hands, research doctors don‘t work and sick people are given hugs), Normal (67% of people wash their hands, doctors work 3 days a week and sick people are ignored), and Brutal (compulsive hand washing, doctors never go home and sick people are locked in prisons) Difficulties. Once you complete a Bacteria game on Normal or Brutal difficulty, you’ll be able to unlock the Virus. Completing a Virus game on Normal or Brutal unlocks Fungus, then Parasite, Prion, Nono-Virus and then Bio-Weapon. Once you complete all disease types on Brutal Difficulty, you’ll be able to unlock special cheats, with no cure being able to be found, humans never taking action against you, and the unlimited DNA cheat, which lets you evolve your plague like you were God. 
Once you start your game, you’re able to choose which country you want to infect first. Once your plague starts spreading, you start earning DNA points. These are used to evolve your plague by choosing from literally hundreds of different attributes, all split up into 3 different types of evolutions; Transmission, which lets you decide what animals can be infected, and how your plague can travel, Symptoms, which lets you choose what symptoms occur, and how bad these symptoms can get, and Abilities, which give your plague the strength to survive in different climates, and how resistant it is to cure research. 
As the game progresses, little bubbles will pop up across the world, letting you infect more countries, gain more DNA points, and disrupt scientists research. 
You’re also able to check out the world news, which lets you know what’s going on in the world you’re trying to infect. You’ll be alerted when and where Olympics, as well as other National events are going to start, when certain countries are noticing infection, when they close down airports and seaports, block boarders, notice infection, start researching a cure, as well as some very sobering events, like when bodies are piling up so bad that they’re being buried in massive holes, when the dead are being burned, and more. There are also graphs which let you know which countries are and are not infected, how the cure is coming along, and how your infected to dead ratio is coming along. The background music adds to this very serious sort of feeling you’ll get while playing. And it will hit you, eventually. When starting a game, you might be rooting for complete world destruction, but once you read about the events and see the death toll hit the billions, watch your plague spread, see where the evolutions branch out to, and hear when governments fall, as well as the creepy ‘ring around the posies’ chant in the background, it all starts to get pretty intense. 
With Plague Inc. being made Universal with their first Update, as well as being priced at $0.99, it’s one game that strategy fans should not miss. Considering it’s hit #1 on the paid app charts, and judging from the iTunes ratings, as well as explosion of posts throughout iOS forums, it’s pretty clear that casual gamers are jumping in, and are becoming obsessed with the game as well. Considering it’s 2012, and the popularity of movies like 28 Days Later, Contagion, Quarantine, and a whole catalogue of virus related films, it’s not surprising that Plague Inc. has climbed up the leader boards so quickly. But it is pretty surprising seeing a strategy/simulation game hit the #1 spot. It’s definitely a game every iDevice user should check out, and is one game that I will be recommending to everyone I know. 

LostStar Tactics [James Pawliuk] – $1.99

Strategy Games are really hitting their stride in the AppStore, but one of my favorites has always been Tactical Warrior by James Pawliuk. Earlier this week, the two man team consisting of Mr. Pawliuk and Brandon Alter released their 3rd iOS title, LostStar Tactics, a turn-based strategy RPG with some great gameplay, nice graphics, and an interesting story to go along with it. But does it warrant purchasing when so much of the game is identical to Tactical Warrior?
When compared to Tactical Warrior, the whole set-up of the game and gameplay is almost identical. Moving costs stamina, unless you move to an orange tile and each attack or special ability you use costs stamina, while resting offers your character recovery of stamina. Each character, as well as enemy, has stats which you’ll need to learn so that you can know what attacks will work well, and what attacks will result in almost no damage at all. Even the party screen is an almost identical clone of Tactical Warrior’s. 
The character designs and environments, however, are fairly different. The characters have quite a bit of details, with some wielding some pretty badass looking weapons while the environments lean more towards lightly forested and murky areas, though the environmental objects still play a roll in where you’ll move your characters and how you attack with them. 
While exploring the outer reaches of space, you wind up finding something extraordinary. The planet Moridia, which legends say is home to mythical knowledge and treasures hidden in a mysterious ‘nebalua‘. An energy pulse takes your ship out while exploring, resulting in a crash landing on the unexplored planet. Now it’s up to you and your team to survive the attacking life forms, and find a way back home. 
Starting off, you’re able to choose between 3 different groups of fighters; Mechanic, who’s main focus is summoning – Warrior, who focuses on powerful attacks – and Councillor who focuses on flexibility. You’re also able to choose between Easy, Medium and Hard Difficulties. 
The game is set up kind of like a card based strategy game. Each character is able to equip various cards which allow them to perform different attacks as well as beef up their defensive skills. Once you earn enough experience through battles, you’re able to strengthen these cards up. Some battles will also give you cards as rewards, and sometimes you’ll be offered another character to add to your team. Each time you’re offered a reward, you’re given 3 choices to choose from. In the event of a new member being offered, you’re able to not add a member, and give some XP to your team. All of this makes the card equipping, leveling up, and even item equipping aspects of the game fairly deep. 
Aside from the cards, story and character design+environments, LostStar Tactics could easily be a sequel to Tactical Warrior. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. Especially when I think about all the hours upon hours I lost because of Tactical Warrior. There’s also the price. $1.99. Hard to beat that, considering Tactical Warrior is $2.99, and worth every penny. But even with the fantastic gameplay, there are a couple of down-sides to the game. The game is not Universal, so those of you out there who hate playing games in 2X mode on your iPad will be pretty disappointed. There’s also no GameCenter, meaning no achievements to shoot for. Also, if there’s a player or enemy at the bottom of the screen underneath the text that says “touch a warrior to view his stats.” you’ll need to move the playing field in order to select them. It’s not a big deal, but something that kept on bugging me while I was playing. Actually, none of these ‘issues’ are really a big deal. LostStar Tactics is one of those games that’s good enough it’s very easy to overlook having to play in 2X Mode, and the lack of achievements or any online features. 
In the end, LostStar Tactics is a fairly deep turn-based strategy game with great RPG elements, also with a price that really can’t be beat. Hopefully it gets the attention it deserves so that more work will go into it, and hopefully we can get an HD or Universal version of the game. An online multiplayer mode would be amazing to see as well. But for $1.99, it’s a great buy if you’re a fan of turn-based strategy games. Even if you’re new to the genre, LostStar Tactics would be a great place to start. It’s easy to understand tutorial and simple gameplay that gets deeper the more you explore it is great for newcomers to the genre.