Archive for the ‘Turn-Based’ Category

Military Madness: Neo Nectaris

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

MIlitary Madness: Neo Nectaris

Recognize. If you ever owned a TurboGrafx-16 system (I didn’t), you need this game. If you ever had a friend with a TurboGraphx-16 system (I did and I was so jealous of that rich mothe…), you need this game. If you are as old as Abe Vigoda, you need this game. If you don’t fit any of the above categories, but you want to see why the Advance Wars series even exists, you need this game.

The original Military Madness was a Turn-Based Strategy game released in the late 80′s that was well before it’s time. In this lovingly-crafted conversion –  unit composition, movement range, defense, firepower, and placement on underlying terrain actually matter. That and your own knowledge of the enemy troops and armor. These missions are no cakewalk, either, and if you go into thinking they are, you will get pwnd. It seems more difficult than I remember, but I loved this game as a kid and I love it now. It’s not polished really at all, but I actually think it plays better than the original, because the touch interface is much better than the broke-as-a-joke scrolling cursor.

BTW, this is not the Psone or PSP remake with the fancy-shmancy new cinematics. This is bare-bones 16-bit pixel goodness and I love it. If Herzog Zwei ever comes out for the iPhone, I will cry sparkly unicorn tears.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Words With Friends

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Words With Friends

This simple Scrabble clone has caught on in a big way, thanks to the ability to play versus real-life opponents, turn-by-turn. The player can create a game either by choosing a friend from facebook, from twitter, from their contact list, or they can be matchmade against a random player. After playing the first word, a notification is sent to the opponent, they receive a PUSH notification, and a badge appears on the game icon. There is no time limit for playing your turn and you can have several games going at once with other players. The rules are similar to Scrabble, as tiles from a tray are placed on the board to score based on tile worth and special spaces on the board, but there are no challenges; players can simply try a word and if it is not in the dictionary, they recall their tiles and try again. Because of the low time commitment per turn, the game is a perfect candidate to occupy a permanent spot on your iPhone to play at your leisure. Personally, I like it better than Scrabble IRL.

Rating: ★★★★★ icon
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Rogue Planet

Monday, December 14th, 2009

This is a multi-unit, turn-based Advanced Wars clone, with excellent character art in the cut scenes, an interesting and watchable storytelling approach. It does miss the mark on some of the gameplay basics like controls, for instance. There are several different unit types that use a rock, paper, scissor mechanic, so the game is all about positioning the right units, at the right place, and at the right time. When you don’t do this, your attacks can be ineffectual. It uses a mission-based structure and, while the early missions aren’t thrilling, they do serve to progress the story, although as I mentioned, the characters are outstanding and their dialogue is more compelling. Control-wise, it should be way easier to move a unit and it is way too easy to suicide a unit. The balance is not perfect either, but it is still playable. It currently has 1v1 multiplayer over Wifi and Bluetooth and Internet games are promised.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Romance of the Three Kingdoms Touch

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

This was a shocker. I’m a fan of the series, but I never expected to see it show up on the iPhone, quite honestly. I’m happy to report that they did an good job in porting what is an incredibly deep game. It is, by necessity, missing some of the features of its console brethren, but that is forgivable. For those that haven’t played a game from this series, it’s a turn-based strategy title set in 2nd century China, that involves economics, politics, and war. Each turn, you decide what needs to happen in each of your territories and which of your generals should carry out the plans. You need to manage resources, such as money, troops, and food. You need to keep your populace happy, as well as managing your relationships with allies and enemies. If you are not already a fan of this type of game, I doubt that this one will convert you (especially since it has a steep learning curve), but if you are, it’s great to have a version for the iPhone.

Update: Wow, be sure to save often, because if you get a phone called, your game is jacked. There is no auto-save!

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Civilization Revolution

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I’m including this because I only gave it a brief mention before and promised to update you after I had played it more. Well, I’ve played it more and it is freakin’ awesome. I started writing up a detailed review, but it started to feel kind of pointless. Simply put, if you like Turn-Based Strategy, you need this game. Full stop.

Rating: ★★★★★ icon
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Tradewinds 2

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Tradewinds 2

This is almost exactly like Chocolatier; buy ingredients at a low price, sail to another port, and then sell them for a higher price. Instead of the chocolate shop mini-game, it has a kill pirates mini-game. There are various buildings in each port that provide missions, tips, and gear. It’s good, although the graphics are a bit off-putting.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Mecho Wars

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Mecho Wars

Wow, game clones aren’t so bad, if they’re based on a game like Advance Wars and the devs pour their heart and soul into them. In this title, that dedication primarily takes the form of a very unique art style illustrated by Luc Bernard (the soundtrack is nice too). I love the look of the creatures, although the colors tend to burrow through my skull, after long hours of play time. The long hours, though, are due to the fact that the gameplay is actually quite good; the game consists of turn-based strategic battles and tech tree navigation. One mildly interesting feature is that the environment can change over time, which has to be a part of your strategy. For instance, the previously impassable lake ices over at night, which allows your units to merrily slide across and flank your opponent’s base. So far, the depth is there and I’m really enjoying the single-player campaign, but there is no online component yet, which you will definitely miss, if you are a UniWar junky. If you want to play against your buddies, you can wait for the update, or just get UniWar, which you should have done already!

Update: Multiplayer has been added, but I have yet to test it. My rating may go up.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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My Brute

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

My Brute

This is a port of a free web game, with 1.7 million subscribers. You choose a fighter, customize him or her, and then send it to battle other player’s fighters, a few times per day. You don’t control the battles at all; you simply watch them play out. The only real decision-making is who to fight. Your character gains experience to level up and get upgrades along the way, including weapons, items, and pets. It’s a super cute, somewhat mindless observer sport, which might get a recommendation at a lower price-point, but it feels overpriced for what you get.

Update: Once I found a real-life friend to share a dojo, I actually played this a fair amount. I ended up liking the character customization and progress path. Much like playing a quick turn in Words With Friends, each day for a couple weeks, it was kewl to see when I could fight a couple battles for a quick break. Due to this, I raised my rating up a star. In addition, the developers have added several downloadable expansion packs for real life money, adding to the content available, but at a relatively significant cash outlay.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
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Vanguard Storm

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Vanguard Storm

This is Square Enix’s latest offering and it’s quite good. It uses the job system from Final Fantasy Tactics, in a timed, turn-based, boardgame-style environment.  The player must simply keep the monsters that enter from the left from exiting on the right. The player chooses multiple defenders, each with his or her own abilities, which often translates to targetable squares and damage type. Monsters have vulnerabilities and immunities that must be taken into account. This game feels like it was built from the ground up as an iPhone game, unlike their previous effort, and the gameplay is fun and somewhat original.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Strongholds

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Strongholds

I really want to like this and I haven’t given up on it yet, but so far the depth just isn’t there. I thought it would have similarities to Orions, which I love, but it’s severely dumbed down, as compared to that game. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind approachable games, but there really isn’t enough decision-making here for me. You have a hand of cards that can affect any number of features of the opponent’s base, like wall defense, research, and such. You don’t deck-build, though, you just use the cards that are dealt. For a turn-based strategy title, there just isn’t enough strategy involved, at least for my tastes.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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