Best Of bestStratFeatureFIN

by John Markley

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The Best Android Strategy Games of 2013

2013 has been a pretty good year for strategy games on Android so far, with worthwhile releases in subgenres ranging from squad-based combat tactics to business management to interstellar empires. Unfortunately, the sheer number of games released on mobile devices means that it’s not always a simple matter to tell the difference between General Issue Tower Defense #47649-B and games that are truly worth your time. With that in mind, Hardcore Droid is happy to bring you this list of the top Android strategy games so far this year.


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Ninja Village 

HD Score – 4.0
Who among us hasn’t looked at the cute cartoon graphics, silly humor, and infectiously cheerful atmosphere of Kairosoft’s library of games about running small businesses and thought, “Why hasn’t this formula been applied to the blood-soaked history of Japan’s Warring States Period?” The answer, of course, is “everybody,” because that’s an insane idea. However, it also turns out to be a pretty good idea. Ninja Village combines familiar Kairosoft mechanics – designing your village of ninjas, making it pleasant and productive, and recruiting and developing new characters – with a surprisingly detailed battle system as you send your ninja out to challenge rival warlords fighting to rule Japan.

Ninja Village HD Review
($4.99 at Google Play)

 

 

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Hunters: Episode One 

HD Score – 3.5
Hunters is a squad-based, turn-based strategy game in the vein of titles like XCOM. You command a squad of futuristic soldiers that you can customize and upgrade between missions. There’s no campaign in the usual sense. Instead, there’s a variety of missions you can choose from, with new missions appearing each real-world day. The lack of any real campaign takes a toll on immersion, but it’s a solid strategy title in a subgenre that’s not well-represented on Android.

Hunters: Episode One HD Review
($.99 at Google Play)

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Templar Assault Elite 

HD Review Score – 3.5

Templar Assault Elite is a turn-based strategy game with a science fiction setting. You command a squad of heavily armed and armored elite troops through a series of missions fighting alien threats in the cramped confines of derelict starships and ancient ruins. Graphics are very low-fi , but there’s a great deal of complexity here for strategy fans. The game’s look and premise is somewhat derivative of Warhammer 40,000 – and by “somewhat derivative of” I mean “nigh-identical to” – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for a game like this. There’s a free version you can try out before paying for the complete Elite version, if you’re curious but want to test the waters first.

Templar Assault Elite HD Review
($1.99 at Google Play

 

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 Dream House Days 

HD Review Score – 4.0
Every once in a while, it’s nice to feel like the world isn’t a bleak living nightmare from which death is the only release, and Kairosoft’s Dream House Days is just the thing for that. It’s a business/life sim where you design and manage your own apartment complex while helping your tenants out with their lives through suitable furnishings and the occasional bit of timely advice.

It’s free, and eminently playable without making any in-app purchases. It’s great fun if you enjoy the Kairosoft formula for management sims, and the game is just so cute and cheerful that it’s hard to feel down when you’re playing it.

Dream House Days HD Review
(Free at Google Play)

 

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Strategy & Tactics: World War II

HD Review Score – 4.0
Historically-based strategy has been enormously important in the history of the strategy genre as a whole but it’s still an underserved niche in mobile gaming, a field where fantasy, sci-fi, and humorous settings and premises dominate. (I hate to break the hearts of any Ninja Village fans who thought the part of the game where you battle talking frogs was just part of Kairosoft’s grittily authentic simulation of 16th-century feudal Japanese warfare, but…)

Strategy & Tactics: World War II is a welcome entry in the subgenre, letting you play out 18 different historical campaigns in the main single player mode, or choose from a number of customized scenarios to play in single player skirmish mode against the AI or up to three other human players

It has a lot of atmosphere and immersion thanks to its graphical style, which adds a lot to the experience. The music is astonishingly good, blowing the soundtracks of many full-price console and PC games from major publishers out of the water. It’s the best I’ve heard in a mobile game, bar none.

Strategy & Tactics: World War II HD Review
($4.99 at Google Play

 

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Anthill 

HD Review Score – 3.5
Violence is endemic in nature, but ants are one of the few life forms than man to engage in something that could be called war. Anthill allows you to take the role of our bellicose arthropod cousins, controlling a horde of ants in battles against rival hives. Spawn different types of units, battle your enemies, and bring their corpses back to your own nest to be devoured so you can spawn more units. It’s quite difficult, but if you enjoy a challenge and/or games about relentless all-devouring hordes of creatures, you might want to check it out.

Anthill HD Review
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$1.99 at Google Play

 

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Worms 2: Armageddon 

HD Review Score – 4.0
Speaking of unwholesome crawling things, this artillery-based strategy game has finally reached Android. It’s part of the long-running Worms series of games, still going strong since it began in 1995. (You know a series has staying power when it started out on the Amiga and is still a thing today.) Rival teams of worms – fighting for reasons presumably explained in the no-doubt rich backstory of the Worms universe – take turns lobbing projectiles at each other. There are numerous different weapons and other helpful items, many available in limited supplies, and it’s up to you to make the best use of these resources and make your shots count. It features both online and local hot-seat multiplayer.

Worms 2 HD Review
(
$4.99 at Google Play)

 

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Spaceward Ho! 

HD Review Score: 3.5
Spaceward Ho! is ugly. It’s a mobile port of something that was released on Macintosh in 2003 and was itself one in a long line of updated versions of a still-older game, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that the game is actively and willfully hostile to the eye. Or at least to my eye.

If you can get past that, though, it’s a fun turn-based interstellar empire strategy game with a fair bit of complexity and lots of customization options. Spaceward Ho! has existed in various incarnations since the early 1990s, but only a few iterations of it have been available for non-Apple platforms. So if you want to catch a glimpse of an ancient era when developing games specifically for the Macintosh was actually a thing that people did, this is your chance.

Spaceward Ho! HD Review
(
$4.99 at Google Play)

 

~Addendum: While slapping this article the following sublime Android strategy games showed up on our doorstep. We felt we’d be cheating you if we didn’t include them here.

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Tentacle Wars

HD Review Score: 4
About Tentacle Wars, Hardcore Droid contributor, Joe Matar wrote:

“The joy of Tentacle Wars is in how creative it gets with only a few core mechanics. Simply by building upon its earlier ideas and changing up the layout in each level, it manages to alternate between being strategic, brain-teasing, and action-oriented—sometimes all three at once. 80 levels is a lot of content for less than $2 and you can also unlock randomly-generated levels by rating the game in the appstore (which is slightly, but not hugely, obnoxious). It’d be nice if it eased the player into its world more gently, but, if you can find your footing with Tentacle Wars, it’s extremely fun and rewarding.”

Tentacle Wars HD Review
($1.79 at Google Play)

 

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Planets Defense

HD Review Score: 3.5
Hardcore Droid contributor, Travis Fahs wrote the following about Planets Defense:

“Each mission only takes a few minutes, and even the entire campaign can be tackled in a couple hours, but Planets Defense is not really about such things. As it stands, it’s still a must-download for anyone looking for a mobile-friendly strategy game that doesn’t confuse simple for shallow.”

Planets Defense HD Review
($1.98 at Google Play)

 

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About the Author

John Markley

John is a gamer from Illinois who has been playing video games since encountering Galaga on his cousin’s Atari 2600. His favorite gaming memories include Final Fantasy III, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade, Planescape: Torment, Persona 3 and 4, the Infamous series, and the time a series of “friendly fire” incidents while playing NES brawler River City Ransom with his cousin escalated into an actual fistfight.



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