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Best Turn-Based and Real-Time Strategy Games for the iOS Platform

by: Anurag Ghosh ; edited by: Simon Hill ; updated: 6/7/2012 • Leave a comment

There are plenty of strategy games for the iOS platform. But the ones that truly shine boast tons of maps, new gameplay variations and slick visuals. They have tons of single-player and multiplayer maps and several additional features to give you a satisfying gameplay experience.

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    1. Great Little War Game

    Great Little War Game   Great Little War is an outstanding military-themed turn-based strategy game. The battle takes place on a 3D world with intense combat between infantry or land, air and sea units. The vast world gives plenty of opportunities to capture strategic points that may prove to be disaster for the opponent.

    The game keeps the turn-based mechanic intact and offers strategic depth. Its lengthy campaign missions and tons of multiplayer and AI skirmish maps have plenty of surprises in store for strategy gamers. With a variety of terrain types and challenging missions, the game transports players to a war-torn world filled with cartoony infantrymen and assault units. Maps provide several vital opportunities to devise your own battle plan, such as ordering units to capture high terrain or taking advantage of the sea to launch a naval attack on enemy units. Campaign missions are varied and range from eliminating all enemy units to escorting your army’s Generalissimo. The extensive missions, together with brilliant map design, create a perfect war-like scenario. If you love military-themed iPhone strategy games and turn-based tactics, you should have this game installed on your iPhone.

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    2. Hunters: Episode One

    Hunters - Episode One   Hunters is a turn-based tactics game with several gameplay elements similar to Jagged Alliance and Fallout Tactics. You control a group of hired guns whose objective is to take on dangerous jobs for cash. The game has simple goals, such as eliminating targets and retrieving objects, but it is the turn-based game mechanics that add more interest. What’s even more impressive is its time-based campaign mission. Each day, a new mission will be added to the game and you will have to complete it within 24 hours. This unique aspect throws in more excitement, but you will have to complete any mission before the 24-hour timer goes off, or else it will go stale and you won’t be able to complete it at a future date. The mercenaries can be upgraded and equipped with brand new weapons with the cash earned from the completed mission.Hunters  

    Hunters: Episode One lets you see the action from a top-down perspective and allows you to command a group of mercenaries through the iPhone’s touch screen. You can navigate the map by sliding your fingers over the screen, tap twice on a mercenary and tap on the target to eliminate him. The game’s visuals are very impressive and detailed and even from the top-down perspective you cannot miss the attention to detail for every single object. The free version of the game briefs you about the mission structure and provides an in-depth tutorial. It then allows you to buy the full version, which will update it with new missions and upgrade options. Hunters: Episode One, with its superb graphics and varied missions, brings the turn-based tactics of Jagged Alliance to your iPhone and is a must-play if you are a fan of this strategy genre.

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    3. Rebirth of Fortune

    Rebirth of Fortune   Rebirth of Fortune, with a fantasy theme and turn-based strategy mechanics similar to old-school JRPGs like FF: Tactics and Tactics Ogre, is grand in every respect. It has 200 maps featuring a variety of terrains that will help you plan your strategy effortlessly. You will command eight unique classes equipped with different types of weapons, magic skills and other unique powers. Each map has a completely new terrain inhabited by various monsters. As you progress through levels, you will find a diverse range of AI monsters that are more challenging than the previous levels. You will also have the opportunity to unlock new classes with the points earned in the previous levels. Sadly there are only eight classes as it would have been more interesting had there been more units to unlock.

    One of the notable features of the game is the simple, uncluttered level design, which is quite pleasing to the eye. The animation is top-notch and the unit design is simple, yet attractive. The cartoony visuals will remind you of FF: tactics, only more polished than the original game. If you are a big fan of FF: tactics and are looking for a fantasy-themed game, then there isn’t another game as satisfying as Rebirth of Fortune.

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    4. Neuroshima Hex

    Neuroshima Hex   A hex-based strategy board game, Neuroshima Hex provides satisfying strategic gameplay. The iPhone game is based on the popular table-top strategy game. With a sci-fi theme featuring mutants and robots, this fast-paced game has a steep learning curve. It does not provide any in-depth gameplay assistance, which may force you to take help from online guides.Neuroshima Hex  

    The main objective, however, is similar to other war-themed strategy games – attack enemy headquarters while defending your own base. You will have to select one faction out of the four and have over 30 hex tiles that have to be placed strategically on the game board. Your will have to defend your tiles and at the same time attack your opponent’s tiles using various tactics. Each of the 35 tiles has special abilities and has to be cleverly utilized to paralyze your enemies. You will have assault units, special action tiles and unique units that you will have to place on the tactical game board to plan a formidable attack or defend against enemy hex tiles.

    Neuroshima Hex can be played by 4 players. You can play against the AI or your friends and lead your troops to victory. The post-apocalyptic setting, simple and bright graphics and excellent sound effects make it quite satisfying and immersive and you won’t find any difference between the original board game and the mobile version.

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    5. Red Conquest

    Red Conquest   Red Conquest is one of the best real-time strategy games for iPhone. Developed by John Kooistra, this sci-fi RTS title allows you to take command of a fleet and utilize the phone’s touch interface to wage an intergalactic war against your opponent. The simple touch-based controls were not so easy prior to the update. The recent update solved most of the complexities of the game, including controls and the difficulty level.

    Red Conquest cleverly employs the iPhone’s touch screen to ensure that the game is as satisfying as any PC real-time strategy game. There are multiple on-screen menus that help you maneuver your units, launch an attack against your opponents and defend your base without any space problems on the small screen.

    Although there aren’t plenty of unit types to build, the game has key units, including harvesters, carriers and cruisers. The most unique part of the game is its visuals. The units are colored Red and Blue for their respective teams. While this is an intergalactic game set in open space, the units look like tiny bacteria floating around in the blood of a human body. The developer must have wanted something unique and hence the simple color scheme and unit design, but overall the game scores well in gameplay and provides a complete real-time strategy experience. In future, there will be new updates that will add more features to the game, so stay tuned.

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    6. Warfare Inc.

    Warfare Incorporated   Warfare is a brilliant mobile version of AAA real-time strategy PC games like Command and Conquer and StarCraft. This award-winning iPhone strategy game was first released for the Palm OS platform and later ported over to iPhone and iPod Touch. The game’s sci-fi setting is similar to StarCraft and focuses combat between two large intergalactic corporations who have their eyes on the planet Icarus for its valuable “galaxite". The game’s 20-mission campaign mode lets you fight against your opponent to capture the planet’s resources, build units and plan your strategy to vanquish your rival.

    Warfare Inc. does not boast amazing graphics, but the huge maps make it one of the most challenging and fully fledged RTS game for the mobile platform. The game’s tutorial mode explains everything related to unit building, assault tactics and defense. The game has over 20 unit and structure types to build and several add-on single player and multiplayer missions to keep you busy for hours. The most refreshing part is its PC-based tool kit that can be used to build your own missions and publish them for others to download. Besides the rather simple graphics (which are very similar to the first StarCraft game), Warfare Incorporated uses the same RTS formula and that makes it as interesting and engaging as any RTS PC game.

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    7. Rogue Planet

    Rogue Planet   What if Advance Wars had a futuristic setting? Well, it would be much like Rogue Planet - a solid turn-based strategy game with excellent artistic visuals and outstanding combat cut-scenes. Created by Gameloft, the game has several variations that will certainly make you feel that it is not a complete Advance Wars clone. You can convert your soldiers into suicide bombers and order your engineers to destroy enemy structures and bridges. When battle ensues, a cut-scene displays close combat between unit and vehicles a la Advance Wars.Rogue Planet Screenshot 2  

    Rogue Planet boasts plenty of single player and multiplayer maps. With excellent 3D backgrounds, the maps provide several strategic points to forge a formidable defense against your enemies. You can rotate the game field and zoom in to watch your forces wreak havoc and destroy enemy bases. The dramatic themes and sound effects breathe in new life to Rogue Planet, and make any mission more immersive and engaging. While the touch-based controls may be frustrating sometimes, the game performs smoothly most of the time and gives you ample time to devise your strategy. Overall, Rogue Planet is a superb turn-based strategy game as addictive and engaging as any Advance Wars title.

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