The 10 Best Strategy Games on the iPhone
As Advance Wars: Dual Strike proved when it was first released for the Nintendo DS in 2005, turn-based strategy games are a genre made for touch screen controls. Savvy developers quickly realized the iPhone's potential for delivering games of that nature, and there have been tons of high-profile strategy releases for the platform since App Store's launch and many more since we last updated this list. The RTS is another subgenre of the overarching "strategy" label that has been traditionally reserved for PC gamers, but a bit of creative thinking and intuitive control scheme design has led to the creation of a number of quality RTS iPhone games as well, proving that if there's a will to make something work on the iPhone, there's probably a way.
10 | Avalon Wars
Although Avalon Wars is little rough around edges and heavy on the menus, but as a strategy game, it's incredibly deep. Taking the role of one of three space colonizing factions, you're tasked with maintaining units of soldiers while simultaneously upgrading and expanding your home base. Various missions give you the tools and equipment needed in increasing the effectiveness of your army, and in many cases, the battles come down to how well you prepare your individual units. Once you’re in battle, the game automatically calculates your victory, which means that your stat crunching is your best weapon. As a single-player game, the campaign is interesting enough to plow through, given the low price.
9 | Great Little War Game
Great Little War Game (GLWG) maps the Advance Wars turn-based strategy formula to the iPhone's touch screen. Capture bases, gain resources, and deploy units to destroy the enemy's armies or capture their headquarters. The touchscreen is a natural interface for a strategy game, so most of GLWG works elegantly. Sending units off to die is as simple as tapping them and their destination on the hexagonal grid. The unit deployments screen is big enough – and the number of units small enough – that you never accidentally make a transport truck instead of a tank. You can also zoom in and out of the battlefield at your leisure, allowing you to fluidly switch between macro- and micromanagement.
Between how well the strategy works and how simple GLWG is to play, it can be easy to get into the “just one more turn” habit that many of the best strategy games known for. Given a few caveats, Great Little War Game fills the void once filled by Advance Wars, and that's honestly one of the biggest compliments I could pay it.
8 | Everlands
While the game has a cute factor that might turn off a more adult audience, the strategies involved in this hexagonal, turn-based strategy game are surprisingly complex. You start with a select number of animal game pieces that can only attack certain directions and have a specified health and attack power. You need to strategically place each piece so that you can capture opposing pieces, ultimately capturing a majority of the game board. Sound easy? It's not. Your opponent can also attack your army's pieces, hoping to turn them to their side. Factor in some special abilities and you have a game that starts easy and then develops into a real headache for iPhone generals.
7 | Supremacy Wars
Much like Clickgamer’s Modern Conflict, Supremacy Wars is a real-time strategy game where players are asked to rapidly move troops around a map to capture buildings. Capturing enemy territory will generate more soldiers in your army, making it easier to crush your opponent. All structures on the maps have a number hovering over them that indicates how many soldiers that particular building houses, and if you send enough troops to overcome those soldiers, you'll be able to capture the structure for yourself. Games end when one player has successfully stolen all their opponents' structures. It’s a simple concept, but there’s a hidden depth for quick-witted players to discover.
Supremacy Wars certainly feels a lot like the aforementioned Modern Conflict at first, but it will quickly become obvious that this is a much deeper game with a massive pile of things for players to do. A rich leveling system, a host of spells and abilities that can be used to trip up your opponents, and unlockable game modes all serve to make this a game that's plush with strategic potential. The only thing this game is really missing is online multiplayer. If that isn’t a deal-breaker for you, by all means hand your money over to Chillingo ASAP.
6 | Rebirth of Fortune
With a name as nonsensical and nondescript as Rebirth of Fortune, you'd think that this would be a Square-Enix game. While that's not entirely accurate, it's also not far from the truth, as the game admits to "borrowing" heavily from Final Fantasy Tactics right in its App store description. There is literally no story in the game; you're simply supplied with a handful of soldiers, archers, and thieves to wreak destruction on people who have committed no crime other than being differently colored than you.
There isn't much variety in the game's stages since every map is styled after a giant chess board, which is disappointing given the high quality of the art style, and after being exposes to the dialogue it seems that the game was translated by someone with about 45 seconds of experience with the English language. Obviously, there are more polished games on the App Store, but there's definitely enough fun to be had here to make the game worth its discount price point.