App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Codex of Victory doesn't have the most exciting or descriptive name out there, but it is a pretty awesome hex-based strategy game. It borrows some of the best ideas from games like Advance Wars and XCOM to make for a game that might not have the most personality, but is really fun and rewarding nonetheless.
In Codex of Victory, you play out a 20+ hour campaign in a fight between humanity and the Augments–a race of transhuman cyborgs bent on “liberating” humanity from its organic limitations. Over the course of this campaign, you build your own army, research new technologies to upgrade units, and fight out procedurally-generated skirmishes to maintain control of the solar system.
Most of the action here is some version of something you've seen before. The story is reminiscent of The Borg from Star Trek, army management is much like XCOM's underground base management mechanics, and skirmishes take place on a hex-based map with capture points that operate a lot like buildings in Advance Wars. Although all of these things feel familiar in isolation, their combination ends up making Codex of Victory feel actually quite unique.
Codex of Victory doesn't entirely depend on other strategy games to make its gameplay work. Army management in particular is its own, strange system that strikes a new balance between saving and sacrificing units in battle. Before any given skirmish, you have complete control of what your entire fleet of units looks like, but you only have a limited amount of resources and storage for said units. If you deploy any of these units in battle and they get destroyed, then you'll have to make a new one to replace it before your next fight.
This isn't a game where you have unique characters that can die permanently, but also not one where you can pump out unlimited numbers of faceless units. You have to manage what you want your army to look like and use it strategically so you don't lose too many resources between battles replacing units. This system gets even more involved and satisfying as you get further into Codex of Victory, as certain planets are inhospitable to certain types of units and certain upgrades can really change the way you want to use certain units.
War never changes
The army management aspects of Codex of Victory are really satisfying in ways that I didn't expect, but this isn't to say that the game is free of problems. In fact, there are quite a few idiosyncracies and rough edges to Codex of Victory that can make playing it a little more difficult than it should be.
The most notable of these issues is the general lack of explanation about certain game systems can result in unexpected outcomes or even force you to restart a mission. Codex of Victory does sport an undo button which helps deal with this, but the game (strangely) doesn't always make it available. There are also a few bugs that make error screens appear, but none of those actually crashed the game or halted my progress in any way. Bugs aside, Codex of Victory's procedural generation of skirmishes can feel a bit repetitive at times because of the limited number of battle maps and somewhat predictable AI.
The bottom line
Codex of Victory may look a lot like strategy games you've played before, but it distinguishes itself as a unique and satisfying strategy game in its own right. It has an interesting gameplay structure that gets more complicated and rewarding the further into the experience you go. Although it has some usability issues and some repetitive elements, Codex of Victory is still some of the best turn-based strategy you can get on mobile.