Monday, January 10, 2011

Legions iPad Edition marches into my iPad Games of the Week

When I was kid, we played things called board games. Some offered true challenges, requiring unique strategies to master. This week, the Legions iPad Edition finally brings one of the most popular strategy board games to life on our tablets: Stratego.

It’s certainly the newest game to hit the App Store in recent days, but have no fear. There’s also several must-have games in this fresh set, including an updated and expanded N.O.V.A. shooter, a worthy physics puzzle game in the same vein as Angry Birds, and a no-holds-barred dual-stick shooter that’s probably the least politically correct app I’ve ever played.


Legions iPad Edition: With its roots firmly planted in Stratego, and an AI crafted by a three-time world champion of the board game, Legions is the first must-have iPad strategy game for 2011.

N.O.V.A. 2 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance HD: A Halo-clone that gotten even better in its second release. Grab a mech, fire up a 10-player online match, and get to shooting!

Fragger HD: A new physics puzzle game that turns players into grenade-wielding soldiers fighting masked bad guys. Can you throw in a perfect arc?

Guerrilla Bob HD: Takes Minigore to the Middle East oozing with graphical detail. A shooter that’s not to be missed.

Read all of my Apple iPad and Google Android application reviews at Appolicious and Yahoo! Tech.


Legions iPad Edition ($2.99)

With its roots firmly planted in Stratego, and an AI crafted by a three-time world champion of the board game, Legions is the first must-have iPad strategy game for 2011. Thankfully, full rules and proper move/attack instructions are included in the in-app Help file. Once you’ve refresh your memory of this classic game, you’ll be moving your Roman Legion troops across the board, attacking the enemy, and snatching their Standard in no time. The key is understanding which pieces can attack others, and how. Set the difficulty level from easy to crazy-hard, where you’ll need to muster some serious skill to defeat the on-board AI. Designed by Vincent De Boer, a three-time Stratego world champion, Legions offers us perhaps the first true challenge in the form of a nearly-human AI. (Hint: It’s really, really hard!)

N.O.V.A. 2 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance HD ($6.99)

If there’s one mobile game type iPad owners can’t get enough of, it’s the military shooter. Add a healthy dose of 10-player online matchmaking, hulking mechs and other fresh vehicles, upgraded graphics, and plenty of “shoot to kill” Halo-like action, and N.O.V.A. 2 is Gameloft’s reigning champion of the moment in the App Store. Kal is back in action, running, gunning, and strafing his way through massive levels, interspersed with choke points of action (think hallway shootouts and small battles in tight corners). If you’re feeling the Halo vibe like I am, take that as a compliment. The formula works in both universes. It may take you a little time to master the hulking on-screen controls, and learn to precision-shoot using the tilt and gyro controls, but it’s time well spent. If you see a mech or other vehicle, hop in. You’ll decimate your foes with these deadly weapons. Last but not least, do not miss the online component to the title. Gameloft has upped the ante to full 10-player matches via Gameloft Live. Let’s hope Game Center is added soon.

Fragger HD ($2.99)

I’ve spent countless hours playing Angry Birds and Trucks & Skulls, my picks for the top pair of physics puzzle games for mobile devices. Fragger HD takes a page from both apps, this time turning players into grenade-wielding soldiers fighting masked bag guys (terrorists?). Just like its forbearers, each level presents a unique challenge, forcing you to perfectly aim and fire your ordinance at fixed targets. Instead of taking out those annoyingly-oinking pigs or mushroom-cloud exploding skulls, you’ll vaporize freedom fighters wearing masks. Arc those grenades to send them over walls, down chimneys, and even through windows. Best of all, the ‘nades pop as soon as they hit the ground, so there’s no need to worry about perfect timing or trick shots. With 80 levels today, and 40 more on the way, there’s plenty of physics puzzle joy to wring from this newcomer.

Guerrilla Bob HD ($.99)

Sporting rich, high-quality graphics, a Minigore-like dual stick shooter control scheme, and non-stop action across seven crazy levels set in the Middle East war zone, Guerrilla Bob HD is a cheap dollar-menu thrill for iDevice shooter fans. Even in the initial training levels, players will instantly come to appreciate the attention to detail, both in terms of the precise controls, and also the quality of the visual presentation. You’ll have no trouble sorting friend from terrorist (Al-Qaeda?), which is critical, seeing as how each enemy will take a slightly different approach on your part to eliminate, based on his location and weapon of choice. Pro tip: Play the app in Hard mode. It will stretch out your dollar that much further, and delay the inevitable end of the game, when Survival mode opens up. This mode is the sole source of replayability for the game, and while it’s plenty crazy, you’ll want to take your time in getting there. There’s too much to see and shoot along the way!

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