The 5 Best Strategy Games For Android

Of all the genres that can be played on a mobile device, strategy is my favorite. Touchscreens often aren’t the best choice for titles that rely on quick reflexes, but in strategy titles where planning is more important than reacting, that’s not a problem.It’s also a bit hard to look mature while tapping away in a game like N.O.V.A. 2. Let’s have a look at some strategy games for Android that can help whittle the away the hours, no matter where you are.

Townsmen 6 [Android 1.6+]

strategy games android

I have no idea why developer HandyGames decided to allege that Townsmen 6 occurs during the French Revolution. Far from a bloody title in which heads constantly roll and classes go to war, Townsmen 6 is a relaxing but complex strategy title that focuses on expanding your town and keeping peasants happy. Sure, there’s some French Revolution flavor added, but it’s cartoonish and mostly an excuse for game mechanics.

Perhaps the closest relative to this game is the Anno series of strategy titles for the PC, which also focuses on population happiness and expansion for expansion sake. SimCity fansmight enjoy this title, as well, though it focuses more on micro-management than that franchise.

You’ll need Android version 1.6 or better to install it.

Battleheart [Android 2.0.1+]

strategy games android free

My personal favorite, Battleheart is a popular game that blends an engaging graphical style similar to Castle Crashers with real-time strategy gameplay. You’ll find yourself in control of four characters, each with their own class, weapons, and powers. Mages, warriors, rogues, barbarians and more can be added to your party.

Battleheart is easy at first, but the difficulty begins to ramp up about an hour into the game. The game blends in RPG elements by offering a leveling system for your party members and equipment upgrade. You’ll have the opportunity to change character skills and weapons between levels.

Battleheart is priced at $2.99 and worth every penny. There is no free version. You’ll need Android 2.0.1 or better.

Majesty: Fantasy Kingdom [Android 1.6+]

strategy games android free

In 2000, a game called Majesty debuted for the PC. Though it looked like many other fantasy strategy titles, it offered unique gameplay. Instead of directly controlling a kingdom, players manipulated the world by constructing buildings, hiring heroes and setting objectives for them.

In other words, this is a macro-management game that focuses on the big picture. By taking many direct control options away, players have to think creatively and plan well. Although the Android version is unique to the platform in many ways, the basic gameplay concepts are the same as the PC title that debuted years ago. Even the graphics, for better or worse, recall a bygone era of PC strategy.

You’ll need Android 1.6 or newer to play.

Sentinel 3: Homeworld [Android 2.1+]

strategy games android free

One of the newer tower defense games to hit the Android scene and take off, Sentinel 3: Homeworld is the latest game in a series that was originally developed for iOS (that’s why the Android Market has no Sentinel or Sentinel 2).

The gameplay is similar to many other tower defense games, but it adds a small twist – a command mech and a “sentinel” spaceship. Both can be upgraded with abilities and equipment, adding some excitement and providing you with more options for dealing with the creeps.

Also worth mentioning are the graphics, which are among the best in the strategy genre. The game looks particularly good on tablets with the HD pack installed.

You’ll need Android version 2.1 or better to play.

Templar Assault [Android 1.6+]

strategy games android

By far the least well known game on this list, Templar Assault is the latest effort by the “the Trese bros”, who are also responsible for the immensely popular Star Traders RPG. Warhammer 40k fans are sure to love this title, as it is more or less an unofficial version of Space Hulk for your phone.

Graphically, this game doesn’t offer much, but it makes up for that with deep tactical gameplay. You command a squad of soldiers tasked to remove an alien presence, and as the game progresses, the means you have for doing so mount. There are times where this game can be difficult, but if you’ve ever been a fan of turn-based strategy, you won’t find this title too troublesome.

Templar Assault is free. There is also an Elite version available for $1.99.

Conclusion

Do you agree or disagree with my selections here? Did I miss a favorite Android strategy tile that you’ve been playing for hours? Let us know about your feelings and your favorite strategy games for Android in the comments.

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Hands-on preview: Sony PlayStation Vita Part 2

The Software
Turning the machine on, you’ll find that the familiar cross media bar — or XMB — is gone. In its place is the LiveArea, which features a number of bubbles, each presenting one of the Vita’s functions. From here you can access your movies, music, photos and games, along with the PlayStation Store on the location-based Near service. It’s a very visual menu, with everything almost immediately apparent and accessed with a tap — gone are the days of scrolling up and down menu chains. We say “almost”, as the home page of bubbles spreads over two pages, accessed by scrolling up or down and making it a bit fiddlier than it could be. Hopefully, these will be customisable in the final retail units, ideally allowing you to place your most often used apps at the top, or clearing unused ones entirely.PlayStation Trophy support is integral to the Vita, with achievements awarded even for completing the built-in tutorial mini-games. Those in themselves are a nice touch, offering a half-dozen different introductory lessons in the Vita’s various technical tricks and, for the most part, are genuinely quite fun to play. Using the same PSN account on the Vita as your PlayStation 3 will also link your trophy info.

The Games
One of the biggest failings of the original PSP was a weak launch line-up, creating a “no good games” mentality that haunted the console for years. Thankfully, with a “killer app” available on day one in the form of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, alongside a wide variety of content for seemingly all demographics, that’s a stigma that the Vita looks set to avoid. The aforementioned Gravity Rush will appeal to gamers with an affection for the weird, Japanese anime, or weird Japanese anime, as it places you in the role of a young girl given control over gravity by a cosmic cat and sent to fight monsters by kicking them to death.

Frobisher Says could well be a party game breakout hit, with hundreds of microgames taking advantage of the hardware’s quirks, while more conventional tastes will be catered to with the likes of EA’s F1 or FIFA. With a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 512MB of system RAM and 128MB of dedicated graphics memory, the Vita is a mighty beast — even accounting for stylistic decisions, such as the animated Rayman Origins, the games are already on par with high-def home consoles. A few years of developers getting used to the machinery and we should see some very impressive content.

The Questions 
Is the Vita worth your time? In our minds, yes — it’s positioned to be the most powerful and most promising dedicated handheld games console on the shelves. Sony’s plans for augmented reality and social gaming features make it more than a simple gaming device though, and everything from the aesthetics to the overall build quality make the Vita an easy recommendation.

Pricing will likely be a big issue though. Nintendo’s 3DS cut its price drastically only months after release, and the launch price of £229 for the WiFi-only model Vita (or £279 for the 3G model, with no firm pricing yet on data contracts) is undoubtedly going to be steep for some. On the games side, with a generation of consumers now in the mindset of paying only a few pounds at most for portable games on their smartphones, full retail prices of circa £40 for each Vita game may sting — and in turn, sting Sony right back.

We also have no idea of how long the battery will last in real usage terms. Sony stated at this year’s Tokyo Games Show that we could expect 3-5 hours of gameplay, which is less than many gamers would like. Unlike the PSP, the Vita’s battery isn’t removable, so the opportunity to replace with a higher capacity pack is simply not there, though plans for an external booster are in the works.

Should Sony overcome those concerns, it’s got a winner in its hands — a true next-gen handheld.

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Hands-on preview: Sony PlayStation Vita Part 1

The 22 February release of Sony’s second generation handheld is fast approaching, and Wired.co.uk has been giving it some play time ahead of that date. But we’re asking: Does the PlayStation Vita have what it takes to earn a place in your pocket next year?The Unit
The first impression the Vita makes is how light it is. Having dropped the oft-maligned UMD disk format for games and movies, the unit also loses the optical drive that ran them, contributing considerably to the weight loss. While we weren’t able to actually weigh the unit, and Sony hasn’t stated an exact weight in the Vita’s specifications yet, it feels even lighter than the slimline PSP‘s 189 grams.It’s also a rather smart-looking bit of kit — all smooth edges, rounded corners and comfortably placed grip points on the rear. The screen is embedded beneath the black and silver surface of the machine, giving the unit a slick,iPhone-like appearance. Access ports for cards — both the new solid-state PS Vita cards that publishers will release games on and the removable memory sticks — are neatly hidden beneath flush rubber caps, as is the SIM card slot for the 3G model, while the volume control buttons are easily accessed by your right forefinger. Symmetrical and frankly quite sexy, on looks alone, the Vita is a very desirable addition to your tech arsenal.The only real disappointments on the hardware side are the cameras. The front-facing 320×240-pixel camera took noticeably blurred pictures of faces, while the rear cam fares only slightly better by hitting 640×480 resolution, both far short of even a low-end phone camera nowadays.The Screen
To use the technical jargon, the PS Vita’s screen is a 5-inch OLED multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, offering 24-bit colour, 960×544-pixel screen resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio. At only 0.7 inches larger than the standard PSP, you’d think the difference would be almost negligible, and looking at it while switched off it doesn’t strike as being that much larger. With a game or video running, the difference is vast — bold, bright colours, a noticeably sharper picture and a viewing area that makes its predecessor feel tiny in comparison.

In practical terms though, for those with smaller hands the screen may be almost too large. With hands positioned at the extremes, tapping into the middle of it to utilise touch-based controls requires quite the handspan. Individual experience will factor in here, but for some this might prove a bit awkward, no matter how good it looks.

The Controls
The Vita finally addresses arguably the biggest criticism of the original PSP — the lack of twin thumbsticks. However, while the dual sticks now allow for a full range of controls mirroring that of its stay-at-home big brother, they do feel a bit, well, twiddly. Unlike the PSP, with its easy-grip thumbpad that sat flat against the unit, the Vita’s pair are raised, sitting on a full-angle ball joint with smooth indentations for your thumbs to rest in. They’re as smooth and responsive as you’d expect, with the only potential problem being one of storage — protruding as they do, the sticks are likely to catch on the insides of bags or coat pockets and not sit properly. It’s not enough of a negative to put anyone off buying the Vita, but it’s likely to be an annoyance for some.

Another small change is that the D-Pad is now a solid “cross”, rather than four individual directional buttons, though this felt more a cosmetic change, with no real impact on gameplay. Otherwise, the Vita has the traditional four PlayStation face buttons and left and right shoulder buttons.

The capacitive touchscreen is swift and responsive, as smartphone users have come to expect. This is certainly no coincidence — with Angry Birds alone racking up a half-billion downloads, the market for touch generation titles is huge. If Sony can tap into even a fraction of that audience with simple controls and an easy to use digital store, it will.

The touchpad on the back is a little less intuitive, simply because of the element of guesswork in not being able to see where you’re intending to interact with. It’s just as responsive as its front-facing compatriot though, and after something of a learning curve you’re soon tapping in the appropriate places.

The really interesting control functionality comes with the incorporation of Six-Axis motion controls, often in conjunction with the cameras. First wave games such as Reality Fighters and Gravity Rush are already using this to dramatic effect, allowing you to pan around your self-styled arena or direct characters in-game simply by shifting the Vita around in meatspace.

At its heart, the Vita is a terrifically tactile device. While all the games we played utilised a combination of traditional, touch and movement controls, how we chose to interact with them was largely at our discretion. Whether future games continue this trend will vary from developer to developer but the emphasis seems to be on giving the player choice, rather than forcing gimmicky mechanisms into games where they’d be ill-suited. Overall, the Vita’s multiple control inputs make you feel a lot more immersed in the games you play — something the addition of 3D has failed to do for the 3DS.

Next, software the Part 2 of the Hands-on preview of Sony PlayStation Vita…

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