The 10 Best Strategy Games on the iPhone
5 | Starfront - Collision
If Starcraft II was available to download from the App Store it would very easily take the top spot on this list. It’s not (yet), but leave it to Gameloft to provide a cheap substitute where they see demand. Like many of their other games, StarFront is much lesser imitation of an almost universally adored game. In Gameloft’s defense though, StarFront is much better at aping Starcraft than, for example, 9mm is at aping Max Payne. This is mostly due to the fact that the touch screen lends itself much more to selecting and managing units than it does to twitch-based action. It’s a competent, portable version of the real thing, that, when combined with its high production value, a long singleplayer campaign and multiplayer mode, forms a package that’s well worth the price.
4 | Galcon
Galcon is probably the simplest game on this list, making it also the easiest one to pick up and play. The goal of the game is to conquer the interstellar map by sending your ships from planet to planet. Bigger plants produce more ships but are harder to conquer, and the opposite is true for smaller plants. The Strategy here lies in keeping momentum, knowing when, where and with what force to attack. There are several different game modes, each fun and worthy of your time, but the principle remains the same in throughout: stay on the offensive and keep your ship moving in the right direction. The speed with which you tap around the screen is almost as important as strategically thinking, so this choice might best suit those who like a little bit of twitch with their strategy games.
3 | Catan
When Klaus Teuber set out to create a simple, enjoyable game to play with his wife and kids, he never imagined that his idea would one day manifest itself as one of the first German board games to achieve notoriety outside of Europe. Die Siedler von Catan was first published in Germany in 1995 and has gone on to sell over 15 million copies across the 30 different languages into which it has been translated, eventually arriving in the United States as The Settlers of Catan.
Players cannot be eliminated and there is always a possibility of a comeback for those who find themselves doing poorly, making Catan a game that's fine-tuned for multiplayer. That being said, the iPhone version's lack of online multiplayer is disappointing, but local hot seat multiplayer and intelligent A.I. opponents in single player mode make Catan's App Store debut a worthwhile purchase.
2 | Army of Darkness Defense
If you’ve never experienced Sam Raimi’s horror comedy trilogy, Evil Dead, Netflix it at once. The third entry in the clinically-insane film series, Army of Darkness, serves as the backdrop for Backflip Studios’ (Paper Toss, Ragdoll Blaster) new iOS title, a castle-defense game where you assume the role of Ash Williams as he takes on waves of Deadites. Army of Darkness: Defense might not break much ground, but it’s one of the best games of its kind that keeps things interesting by constantly pumping out new enemies (Deadites, Evil Ash), attacks (boomstick, the Necronomicon), and unit types (Henry, Wiseman), all of which are references to Raimi’s cult-classic film. The game’s even loaded with Bruce Campbell’s cheesy one-liners like "Hail to the King, Baby," (which later appeared in the Duke Nukem series).
1 | Civilization Revolution
Sid Meier's Civilization series has long held a special place in the hearts of many gamers, almost all of them PC players. When 2K's console port of the legendary franchise, Civilization Revolution, drew nearly universally positive reactions from critics upon its release in 2008, it became apparent that Civ can be done well on platforms other than the PC. With a set of features comparable to the console version and controls superior to the DS version, Civilization Revolution's iPhone adaptation is arguably the best version of the game.
2K hasn't let the iPhone version of Civ Rev stagnate, regularly updating it to address player complaints. The considerable number of playable civilizations, scenarios, and strategic options for both attacking and defending make the ultra-portable release of the game a complete port that won't disappoint fans of the console edition. Zoom-pinch camera controls take advantage of the iPhone's superior touch screen and the game looks great in the high-resolution in which it's displayed. PC gamers with fond memories of the Civilization games should definitely check this one out, and tutorials should be enough to familiarize newcomers with the game's deeper concepts.