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Tag: Strategy game »

Frozen Synapse Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Rob Rich on May 20th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: A GOOD DUST-UP
The slightly weird PC strategy game has crept onto the iPad and made itself right at home.
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Zerg Must Die! Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on May 16th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: NOT WITHOUT MERIT
Take away the shameless cry for attention, and Zerg Must Die! is actually a fairly solid tower defense game.
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Go Home Dinosaurs Review

Posted by Rob Rich on May 13th, 2013
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Developer: Fire Hose Games
Price: $4.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

[rating:overall]

Having a barbeque can often be tricky. Not only is it important to stockpile enough food and beverages, there's also the matter of actually preparing it all. And then there are the pests. Flies and mosquitoes are irritating enough, but Go Home Dinosaurs takes it to the next level with Pteranodons, T-Rexes, and a whole menagerie of other Jurassic (and Cretaceous, and Triassic, and so on) party crashers.

I could try to summarize Go Home Dinosaurs as a tower defense game, and to an extent that's accurate, but there's a bit more to it than that. Yes players have to construct automated defenses and attempt to fend off the dino hordes using limited resources, and yes the nuisances follow a set path, but terrain and character placement is also a major factor. First off, players are in control of a sort of lead gopher. He chucks rocks for an okay amount of damage and has some good range, but his best function is gathering coconuts that are needed to build stuff. Once enough have been collected it's then a matter of dragging a card - one of several pre-selected at the start of the level from a library, a-la Plants Vs. Zombies - onto the field. The catch is that each structure has a specific shape, not unlike Tetris pieces. It both allows from some pretty devastating combos when two complimentary bits of ordinance are placed near each other, and forces players to change up their strategy since some levels simply will not accommodate certain choices.

I found virtually every one of Go Home Dinosaurs' quirky hybridized elements to be fantastic. Having direct control over that one gopher leads to some exciting moments spent bouncing between coconut collecting and doing direct damage. The resource collection and card management also do a fantastic job of keeping players from relying on a single strategy and requires that they really pay attention to the terrain. And I absolutely love how the puzzle-like structure placement feeds in to the terrain strategy.

The only thing about Go Home Dinosaurs that bugs me is the shop. It's possible to collect lots of coins during most of the levels, then turn around and spend them to unlock temporary power-ups that can be equipped and used much like regular defense cards, but I never really used them much. They just feel like a pointless option. Not that there's anything wrong with giving players a choice to develop strategies around these items if they'd like, but for me it just felt unnecessary.

Going in to Go Home Dinosaurs I was half-expecting a cute but typical tower defense game. Turns out it's anything but. Okay, it's still cute, but it's far beyond typical. It's also well worth checking out.

Leviathan: Warships Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Rob Rich on May 7th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: BLOW SHIP UP
This naval strategy game's nuances are borderline inaccessible but with enough patience it can be fun. Sort of.
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Cosmic Conquest Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on April 25th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: OVERWHELMING TACTICS
Cosmic Conquest is a pretty fun rush-style strategy game, but its difficulty doesn't so much curve as it does spike. Dramatically.
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Galcon Fusion Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Rob Rich on April 21st, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CONQUEST-ILICIOUS
It's like playing Chess, only everyone goes at the same time and the price for losing is being wiped out of existence.
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Pixel Kingdom Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on April 12th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: LANE CHANGER
It's not necessarily the most complex or grueling lane-defense strategy game but Pixel Kingdom does fun really, really well.
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Magic Craft: The Hero of Fantasy Kingdom Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on March 19th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FRUGAL DEFENSE FORCE
What could have otherwise been a rather typical tower defense game actually feels rather unique thanks to the in-game economy.
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Stratego Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Rob Rich on January 30th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: NEVER PLAY ALONE
The classic board game makes its way onto iOS with gusto. Just be sure to give the unbalanced single player side of things a wide berth.
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Heroes and Castles Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on January 22nd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: NONE SHALL PASS!
It's hard *not* to have a good time with Foursaken Media's latest third-person castle defense extravaganza.
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Smallworld Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Rob Rich on January 15th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: DECLINE LIKE A CHAMP
No Disney ride jokes here, just a fantastic iOS port of a great strategy board game.
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Wrath of Cheese Review

Posted by Rob Rich on December 17th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: Common Extract
Price: $3.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

[rating:overall]

Behold the power of cheese. Everyone probably thought those commercials were cute, but they speak of a dark truth. Cheese is indeed powerful, but it’s almost too much to be contained. It isn’t just able to train humans or tantalize Santa Claus; it can start all out wars.

Some poor soul pilfered some cheese, and an entire army has been dispatched to reclaim it. Players must guide their soldiers through over twenty levels of castle defending goodness. As with other games in the genre, both forces occupy opposing ends of the screen and must overwhelm the other in an attempt to smash up their base. Cash required to summon units builds up steadily over time, and occasionally can be collected from the base/shrine in a large sum for some much-needed assistance. Magic spells that can be upgraded with skill points earned through victory can heal or hurt as well. What really sets Wrath of Cheese apart from the majority is the ability to place units anywhere, even right next to the enemy base, for a cost.

It’s interesting to note just how refreshing the ability to place soldiers anywhere on the field can be. It changes the formula up quite a bit while still maintaining a fair bit of balance by requiring more cash for more distance from the home base. In other words it’s not easily exploited but can be useful under the right circumstances. Of course the enemy can do this as well, so it’s important to save up a little cash just in case they launch a sneak attack (i.e. drop a bunch of units close to the player’s base). And believe me, they will.

Although I think dialing back the metrics of this placement mechanic wouldn’t be a bad idea. It’s just that placing a unit near the base can range in cost by almost 100 gold depending on how close to the veeeeeeeeery edge of the screen they are. I understand that those few feet can make a difference, but I feel like some kind of alternative would be nice. It’s also unfortunate that a lack of planning, thus leaving one open to a sneak attack, often means the difference between winning and losing. It’s fair to give players a challenge but sometimes these cheap shots can be virtually impossible to come back from.

Wrath of Cheese is a castle defense game that mixes things up a bit to great effect, for the most part. It could use a little bit more balancing in places but it’s still a quality time waster. One with a rather impressive soundtrack, no less.

Battleship Airstrike Adds a Bit More Excitement to an Old Classic

Posted by Rob Rich on October 25th, 2012

Did the Battleship movie get you all pumped up and ready to take on some hostile aliens? Yeah, me neither. In fact it was fairly unimpressive. Classic Battleship, on the other hand, is all kinds of alright. EA Mobile’s upcoming Battleship Airstrike looks to sit somewhere in the middle, containing the spirit of the classic board game and coupling it with a faster-paced asynchronous multiplayer experience.

Imagine a typical game of Battleship. Each player takes their turn one shot at a time, trying to find their opponent and sink their fleet before they meet a similar fate. Battleship Airstrike ratchets the formula up a bit by allowing players to take multiple shots per turn. In addition to that, special limited use shots can be purchased with money earned through play in order to gain some possible advantages. Advantages such as destroying a ship with a single hit or deploying a kind of artillery sonar that doesn’t cause damage but will reveal vessel locations within a certain number of tiles.

Once a turn is completed - which may consist of several strategic bombings and even paying for repairs on your own damaged (damaged, not destroyed) ships - it’s all submitted to the servers and the opposition is alerted. Typical asynchronous multiplayer stuff, really. It’s more the mold-breaking multi shot turns and special shells (not to mention the possibility of repairs!) that make Battleship Airstrike enticing.

Battleship Airstrike should be out sometime this fall.

Blade Guardian Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on October 12th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FEELS A BIT EMPTY
Tossing autonomous super-units into the tower defense genre is a cool idea, but one clever concept doesn't make up for a bland game.
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Blue Libra 2 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on October 12th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: MAKE THEM PAY
Blue Libra 2 adds a bit more depth to a fairly simple genre, but is that enough to keep fans coming back for more?
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