Mushroom Wars Mini
Mushroom Wars may have made its appearance relatively recently on the App Store, but it's not a new game by any means. Released as a digital download for the PlayStation 3 back in 2009, it's only in 2013 that this strategy title has been given the touchscreen treatment - first as a premium offering in January, and now as a lighter, free edition.
The strategy on offer seems effortlessly simple at first, and perhaps a little too simple. On each top-down challenge map, you have your own little houses, and your opponent has theirs. Each base has a counter above it, and it ticks up over time as new troops are automatically acquired. When you're ready to release them, you simple draw a line towards an enemy base with a finger-swipe, or shore up your defenses by feeding them into another base you own. Once put into motion, the marching can't be canceled and progress is automatic.
Combat takes place when units collide at bases and is, essentially, a battle of attrition. If you march 40 troops against an enemy base that only has 39, you'll capture it and start accumulating fresh troops. That of course leaves you exposed - if the enemy has a powerful army nearby on the map, they can march triumphantly upon you and reclaim their old base before you've acquired the necessary defensive troops.
It's a fun bit of back and forth, and once you start facing slightly less even odds it becomes a good deal more frantic too. As well as having the balance tipped against you, you'll also have to contend with area-of-effect towers which bomb troops until captured (granting their defensive power to you), and missions where the enemy's numbers are hidden from view. There's multiplayer too if you want to keep playing, but not pay to unlock any more missions - you're only allowed to play a certain number of games within a certain amount of time, but it's a generous gesture nevertheless.
You wouldn't describe the strategy of Mushroom Wars Mini as particularly deep, but it's a very fun little game that you'd be a little bit daft not to at least download and sample. If you find yourself taken with the deceptively simple gameplay, we don't think any player will balk at the $1.99 asking price.
What's Hot:A simple but satisfying strategy game, with a generous amount of content to try up-front.
What's Not:The core mechanics on offer become repetitive after a while.