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Tag: Tactical »

X-Mercs: Invasion Hands-On Preview - Extraterrestrial Combat Gone Free

Posted by Rob Rich on March 11th, 2015

X-Mercs: Invasion is a game about saving the world from evil aliens. And from evil mercenaries. You shoot lots of evil stuff in the face, really. You’ll slowly start to unlock new things to do as you progress, but your activities are mostly divided between four tasks: sending squads on missions, researching new technologies, manufacturing items and equipment, and building up your base of operations. If you’re looking around and thinking this sounds like a free-to-play XCOM, well, you’re not wrong. That’s totally what it is. Don’t write it off yet, however.

What really struck me is how much thought was put into these tasks and wait timers - yes, there are wait timers. Manufacturing items takes varying amounts of time, resources, and money, depending on what you’re putting together. Research follows a similar pattern, although you can only ever research something once so the initial cost is a bit higher. Of course building new structures and clearing out space also takes a certain amount of real time to finish, and should be familiar to anyone who’s played a free town builder before. Lastly there are the soldiers, who will take time to heal up if they’re wounded in combat.

I found that I really didn’t mind the waiting in this case. It’s not all that far removed from having to wait for wounded soldiers to heal or for new tech to be researched in XCOM, and in an weird way it actually works really well on a thematic level. I mean, if my shotgunner was inches from death when I extracted the team, it kind of makes sense that he’d need some time to get back into fighting shape. Severity is a factor, but in my experience heal times can take anywhere from a minute to 20. Fortunately you can also have soldiers waiting in the barracks, then put them on the team to fill any gaps and get back to fighting.

The tactical combat is also reminiscent of that other game I keep referencing, however there are only three main soldier classes and you won’t have to deal with figuring out what the rookies will eventually specialize in (although there’s technically a fourth class since any soldiers that have been KIA can be brought back as a cyborg, complete with a unique skill tree). Another key difference is that the items (just items, not equipment) you manufacture are consumable, so any one of your soldiers can chuck a grenade or two during a mission but you’ll need to remember to make more. Or you could just stockpile them like I tend to do, sine they’re really cheap to make. What’s also really interesting is that the items you need to speed up production (nanites) can be purchased using in-game currency. I’m curious to see how people will respond to such an approach.

I do have a few concerns about repetitive missions, PvP elements (I haven’t been able to try it out yet), tiny text, having trouble telling what can be tapped on in the menu and what’s just set dressing (it took me days to figure out what to tap on to access the Shop), and the ridiculous outfits and physical dimensions of the female characters, but I am currently messing around with a beta build. So who knows how much any of that may change for the final release?

Legions of Steel will be available this Spring!

Posted by Jessica Fisher on March 4th, 2015

Legions of Steel, by Slitherine, promises to be a turn based strategy game based off of the Legions of Steel board game. The League of Aliens and the U.N.E. (United Nations of Earth) must work together against the evil Empire of Machines before it can destroy the universe. Your job is to guide an assault against the Empire's production facilities and disrupt their endless supply of reinforcements. You'll get to choose from 2 playable factions and units with their own set of weapons and abilities. Who you choose will greatly impact your strategy for each of the 15 scenarios.

"In trying to faithfully recreate the thrilling experience of the Legions of Steel board game, we wanted to draw inspiration from successful classics such as Space Hulk and Doom: The Boardgame", said Romain Soulie, CEO of Nyx Studios. "The addition of a very engaging multiplayer system, involving head to head, multiplatform challenges and the tournament system, really makes Legions of Steel stand out on its own".

Legions of Steel is coming to iOS in May 2015.

Auro Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on February 16th, 2015
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: STRINGENT TACTICS
Auro has plenty of rules to keep to, but it's a very rewarding tactical experience.
Read The Full Review »

Crush the AI in Stratego's New Single Player Update

Posted by Jessica Fisher on February 12th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Youda Games' Stratego is based off the classic board game of strategy and bluffing. Recently, Youda has added an AI engine that offers a single player mode. The new AI can be set to easy, normal, and hard depending on your level of skill, and you can play against it in the campaign, classic 40 v/s 40 battle, or a quick 16 v/s 16. The update also makes the game universal, revamps the campaign, and tweaks the overall style.

“This version of Stratego is tailored to the way mobile players are used to playing on their devices. Short sessions and the possibility to play whenever you want are important to players. With this in mind we have made a great game that appeals to young and old alike. Just like the physical board game does,” says Jur van Teunenbroek, producer of Stratego.

You can download the updated Stratego for $1.99 right now.

Frozen Synapse is Now Available in a Pocket-Sized iPhone Version

Posted by Tre Lawrence on January 9th, 2015
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

The award-winning, turn-based, simultaneous tactical game that is Frozen Synapse is now available for the iPhone.

The game boasts a bunch of interesting features that mimic the desktop experiences. Players get turn-based gameplay, single and multiplayer scenarios, social networking integration, Youtube video export, email notifications, an electronica soundtrack, and more - now in a convenient travel size.

Frozen Synapse is available for $2.99 on the App Store.

Damn Little Town Now Offers Online Multiplayer

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 9th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: DARN GOOD LITTLE GAME :: Read Review »

Tactical board game Damn Little Town has just been updated to include some very handy new features. The game now offers online multiplayer, along with some limited-edition Meeples to enjoy along the way.

As well as that, the game offers online leaderboards, a new gameplay rule during the Escape Phase (unfinished constructions), and various minor tweaks and bug fixes.

We described the game as being 'fun' with 'good solo and pass-and-play potential' so the addition of online multiplayer should sweeten things up.

Damn Little Town is out now on the App Store. It's free to download but $2.99 will buy you the full version.

Duke it Out in Turn-Based Fighter, AERENA: Clash of Champions

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 25th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: STEAMPUNK STRATEGY :: Read Review »

Turn-based strategy game, AERENA: Clash of Champions, is now available on the App Store.

Players can wage war in 10 minute bursts in this tile-based single and multiplayer game. Over 20 different Champions can be used as players fight it out on deadly flying arenas. It should be ideal for gaming while on the move.

AERENA: Clash of Champions promises deep tactical gameplay with live multiplayer complementing single player challenges. Future updates are set to include daily quests and cross-platform play.

AERENA: Clash of Champions is out now and is free from the App Store.

Bezircle Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on May 7th, 2014
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: STRANGE NAME
Capturing orbs by circling them shouldn't be quite so much fun or as tactical, but Bezircle does a fine job of offering both.
Read The Full Review »

PAX East 2014 - Epic Arena is a Nifty-Looking Turn-Based Tactical Game

Posted by Rob Rich on April 14th, 2014

This week I was able to get a look at Travian Games’ Epic Arena, and it looks pretty cool. It’s an asynchronous hex-based tactical arena combat game with multiple factions to control and several arenas to fight in. There are also some new gameplay modes that are being added to the current Facebook version, which include a faster Blitz mode (each player has only 60 seconds to decide what to do on their turn, and there are ELO rankings) and solo Challenges (players are given a predetermined scenario and must figure out how to complete it), that will also be available once it releases on iOS.

The core mechanics involve using five actions per turn to make the most of the units you have available while attempting to either decimate the opposition or destroy their artifacts. Different factions (and their units) play differently, of course, and it’s also possible to use special one-off Power Cards that can do all sorts of different things - and come in different rarities.

Epic Arena should be releasing in the US in about a month or so as a freemium title, and will support cross-platform play.

Warhammer Quest is Apple's App of the Week - Go Download it

Posted by Rob Rich on April 11th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: HAMMER TIME :: Read Review »

A while back Rodeo Games released Warhammer Quest, and it was good. Quite good, in fact. It garnered a fair amount of praise even before releasing new campaign DLC. And now it's been chosen as Apple's App of the Week.

So basically Rodeo's critically acclaimed and (arguably) best tactical RPG to date is currently free. Totally and completely free. You'll still have to cough up a few bucks for the extra content of course, but I mean come on. Free Warhammer Quest. Download it!

Breach & Clear Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on July 19th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: A GLOBAL THREAT TO PRODUCTIVITY
Elements from several of the most popular (and beloved) modern tactical franchises come together to create something no strategy fan should be without.
Read The Full Review »

Assault Wave Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on July 3rd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SHALLOW FIGHTING
Style over substance, Assault Wave offers some great features, but is mostly a quite shallow Lane Offense/Defense game.
Read The Full Review »

Mulling over Mutons: Jake Solomon on XCOM: Enemy Unknown and the Port to iOS

Posted by Rob Rich on May 31st, 2013

For those of you who don’t know, the original X-Com: UFO Defense is one of the most beloved strategy games in existence. It was only fitting for it to receive a modern update of sorts, but XCOM: Enemy Unknown turned out to be a modern update that was treated with the utmost respect by Firaxis (Civilization IV, Civ. V). Now that same re-imagining of a genre cornerstone is coming to iOS. XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s lead designer, Jake Solomon, was kind enough to answer some of our questions regarding the upcoming mobile release.

148Apps: You and the rest of the Firaxis team obviously have a ton of reverence for X-Com and it shines through in Enemy Unknown. Has X-Com had any influence over other projects you've worked on?
Jake Solomon (JS): Since the first time I played X-Com, it has been one of game designs that exemplifies to me a great game, and that means that it’s also been a big part of how I think about game design to some extent. Specific influences are probably harder to point out, but I still crack it out and play the original from time to time.

148Apps: What's your fondest memory from the original X-Com? Mine is making it to the point where I'm invading alien bases without having lost a single soldier on the way.
JS: Wow, that’s really hard to pick one memory. There are always a handful of moments from a game that you remember, and you take them together and you can tell these war stories about the game. For example, I remember this one game where I had this one rookie who was so useless and I was like: “Son, you’re going to Mars. I can make that happen for you.”

148Apps: How about the aliens? Any particular favorite or least favorite? I find I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Cryssalids.
JS: The Chryssalid is iconic for sure. I guess the one I don’t miss is the Silicoid. I mean, it’s a rock, and it spits at you, and it leaves a giant trail showing where it went. It’s such a non-threat.

148Apps: Deciding what to cut, keep, and change when streamlining X-Com’s mechanics for Enemy Unknown must have been pretty tough. Was there anything you all were actually glad to see go?
JS: I don’t think I was necessarily happy or sad about specific changes we made. We felt the mechanics changes were necessary because of the systems we wanted to include in the game, like soldier and alien abilities and the class system. We did want to make sure that all of the decisions you were making were meaningful ones that had real consequences within the game, and keeping that in mind was sort of a guidepost for the mechanics design.

148Apps: The iOS port of Enemy Unknown looks like it's coming along quite well. Was an iOS version always planned or was it a result of the game's PC and console reception?
JS: There was a discussion about whether the iOS version was even feasible at first. Unreal 3 does scale very well, but we still had to go investigate the tech side. And what do you know? It worked really well. After that it was largely a matter of adjusting the interface and making some changes for storage size.

148Apps: Please tell me the option to customize soldiers' names and appearances is still in there!
JS: Yes, you can still fully customize your soldiers. That’s such a huge part of how people play XCOM that it wouldn’t have been the same if that wasn’t in there.

148Apps: Have there been any features for iOS devices that aren't prevalent on consoles/PCs (camera, QR codes, augmented reality) that you've considered incorporating into this version of Enemy Unknown? Not necessarily as major elements but as little extras or something?
JS: We wanted to make sure that the game that we released on console and PC played solidly on the iPad, so getting that experience solid was our highest priority. I’m sure there are cool things we could do with the camera and location tools, but that’s something to think about for the future.

148Apps: I could see Enemy Unknown's multiplayer working quite well on iOS, especially if it was asynchronous. Any chance of that happening or is the focus entirely on the campaign right now?
JS:There will eventually be an update that includes multiplayer, and that’ll be a free update for people who own the game.

148Apps: Will the iOS version of Enemy Unknown include the "secret" characters and/or extra Council DLC missions? Or might the missions be available as add-on content?
JS: We’ve been focusing on creating the best release on iOS as possible – we hope this release like the PC and console will drive a lot of interest and community feedback!

We here at 148Apps would like to extend our appreciation to Mr. Solomon and the entire Enemy Unknown team for answering our questions and for making a remarkably excellent strategy game. No specifics on a release date or pricing are available yet but it’s due out “this summer” and will have a “premium” price tag.

Dungeon Crawlers Ain't 'Fraid o' no Loots

Posted by Rob Rich on January 10th, 2012

Dungeon crawlers as a genre have certainly seen much success over the years, but that doesn't mean that everyone loves them. It takes a certain kind of mentality to find joy in gathering tons of loot through repetitious fighting in order to fight stronger things (repetitiously) for better loot. Now assuming there was something else added to the proceedings to keep things from feeling less monotonous, something like that could draw in a bit more of a crowd. That is to say, draw in even more of a crowd. And what usually sells like crazy regardless of medium or platform? Humor.

With that in mind (I think), Ayopa Games and Drowning Monkeys have decided to unleash Dungeon Crawlers on an unsuspecting App Store. The game itself is a combination of more typical dungeon crawlers with multi-floored dungeons, loot and experience grinding and turn-based strategy RPGs. Players will control a team of four adventurers (an alchemist, priest, barbarian, and dwarven warrior) over the course of five chapters, each with their own distinct environments. They'll also be going toe-to-toe with plenty of nasty monsters as they scrounge for stuff.

Dungeon Crawlers is slated for a January 26th release. A universal release, might I add. For a special "introductory price" of $1.99 no less.

Danger Alliance: Battles Hands On Preview

Posted by Jennifer Allen on August 10th, 2011

We at 148apps were very kindly invited to take a look for ourselves at the upcoming turn based strategy game Danger Alliance: Battles. Rather excited at the prospect, we were far from disappointed at what we saw.

Coming from the land of down under (Australia), Danger Alliance: Battles has some strong pedigree in its development studio with its two man team offering backgrounds in both mobile phone and console based development. It shows too with a distinctly professional sheen to everything about the title.

What also becomes immediately apparent is that Danger Alliance: Battles isn't a gritty game. The general appearance isn't quite full on cute but it does have a light-hearted vibe to it offering colorful and charming characters that commit to the many actions available. Variation is the key too. Provided before each Skirmish battle is the option to customize a squad. Players can then adjust tactics according to how their playing style is. Classes encompass a sniper, incinerator (flamethrower), grenadier, rocket launcher and commando, hopefully providing enough variety no matter how the player prefers to tackle the situation. They even offer their own quips mid battle.

In this preview build, we were only able to play the Skirmish mode but a single player campaign mode is promised in the future after the initial release of the game. This story is set to echo our own history at first with some subtle differences to ensure this is most certainly fiction.

Back to the Skirmish mode, things are looking pretty solid. Controls are easy to use with the ability to zoom in and out of the battlefield for optimum view. While on the iPad, things appear clearer, the game is far from muddled when viewed on the smaller iPhone screen. The Skirmish mode offers two forms of play with a Strategic Victory and Elimination mode available, as well as three different AI difficulty levels. The AI certainly plays a challenging game too with even the easy mode offering a solid match.

Danger Alliance: Battles is shaping up to be a pretty enjoyable game indeed. Developers Tome Studios promise that a Lite version will co-exist alongside the paid version offering one battlefield rather than a full selection like the full version, ensuring that everyone is able to give the title a shot when it arrives later this month. We'll be keeping track of this progress as it nears full release.