Strategy games have a long and much-loved history, both in digital and non-digital form. The iPhone offers new challenges to game designers, which lets them offer new challenges to customers in return. There are some great strategy games out there for iOS5, and as with so many smartphone games, they’re often both cheaper and more original than computer or console games. We check out four of the best for iPhone here.
($0.99 iTunes download)
Turn-based strategy games have largely fallen out of favour in the world of PC gaming, other than new versions of the granddaddy of them all, Civilization. They make a natural fit for iPhone gaming, though, and the best of them offer far more genuine strategy than real-time strategy games (RTS) tend to. Highborn is one of the best for iPhone, mixing large-scale fantasy battles and sieges on an overhead map with more detailed 3D skirmishes, all injected with a healthy dose of humour. It rewards a variety of different play styles and strategies, and can be picked up and played for a few minutes or a few hours. As well as the single-player campaign mode, you can play against other humans via OpenFeint. The two sequels bring more of the same, with the most recent (Chapter 3) letting you play the bad guys, the Decay.
($0.99 iTunes download, or Freemium version for free)
This is an RTS, rather than turn-based, but with a bit more depth than many RTS games aspire to. Take over islands using your pirate armada; if by the end of the game you control more islands than your opponent (computer or human), you win. Sounds simple enough, but the game has enough variety, even in just 15 levels, to have some solid replay value. You can pick up more levels by buying additional campaigns.
Great Little War Game HD
($1.99 iTunes download)
Don’t be fooled by the funky, cartoonish 3D graphics – this may be a little war game, but it’s a deeply thoughtful one too. With 20 highly varied missions and some seriously flexible strategic options, this turn-based strategy game is a winner. It’s lovely to see a game in which terrain makes a real difference to gameplay: take the high ground, or take advantage of chokepoints, for a significant boost against your enemy. The oversized tank and soldier graphics work perfectly on the small screen, where more realistic graphics would be lost. As with Highborn, there’s a welcome injection of humour, too.
Crimson: Steam Pirates
(Free iTunes download of Chapter 1; Chapters 2 & 3, $1.99-$2.99 each)
We didn’t really intend to turn this into “The Two Best Pirate Strategy Games For iPhone (And A Couple of Others),” but it’d be remiss of us not to mention the other great pirate strategy game, in which you play Captain Blood, and control his crew of steampunk pirates. Steam power inevitably allows you to field not just regular pirate ships, but pirate airships and pirate submarines, too, armed with Tesla cannons and other lovely retro-futurist gizmos. It’s another turn-based strategy game, but here you and your opponent submit turns simultaneously, and the computer processes them simultaneously then calculates the results of the interaction between the orders you gave your units, and those your enemy gave his. This proves to be as exciting as it is tactical – which it is, very.
What’s Your Best iOS Strategy Game?
Tell us in the comments below.