It's true that you can find a lot of good strategy games on the App store, as well as a lot of decent RPGs, but a hybrid of both is not as easy to find. Enter The War of Eustrath, which gives gamers a healthy strategy RPG experience and adds a strong story to boot.
Being a strategy game addict means that you are forever looking for just the right blend of tactical combat ability and fun clanking around in a giant mech, but we have to hand it to The War of Eustrath - it fits the bill for all that, and the story rocks too. It opens up with a fight between your main character, Luke, and some invading enemies as they torch a small town for no good reason in the world of Eustrath. One thing we loved about this initial battle was that Luke is very powerful right off the bat. It's refreshing to be a badass in round one, rather than to be the puny hero who somehow miraculously buffs up and saves the world. He saves the life of a country girl named Tiana who naturally has some secret power that allows her to pilot one of the mechs (called GEARs) later down the line. Hey, we said the story was good, but every RPG is allowed a cliche or two from time to time, right?
Soon enough, Luke meets some friends to help support the fight (and one of them is a tough chick who has a thing for Luke and pretty much hates Tiana -- total comedy ensues), and you'll have a nice team to take on further battles with. Getting into the fights is pretty straightforward, enabling you to alter the GEARs between rounds with things you pick up that the enemy drops after defeat, such as stones that enhance powers and equipable items. In battle, you'll have the usual turn-based map, with an enemy queue on the left side of the screen and the ability to move within a certain radius on your turn. Everything is controlled by touch, and the interface is intuitive and works smoothly at every turn.
When you engage with an enemy, you'll see a screen that shows all your stats versus those of the enemy you are about to encounter. You can modify the outcome here by selecting different weapons, some which will use your magical resources and some which are free. You can also add cool bonuses that you earn as you progress such as Evade, which will take a huge chunk out of the enemy's ability to hit you. Once the battle begins, you'll see your character on the bottom of the screen and the enemy's across the top in profile, and they'll comment a bit during battle. In the middle, your GEARs duke it out while you wait and watch for the outcome. Naturally, if you encounter the enemy first, you get first strike, which is always in your favor, but if they get you in their sights first, it'll be the other way around.
Between battles, you'll get some time with the story, which as we mentioned before is very strong. Luke is obviously a hard-boiled warrior type, and he's got two girls fighting over him by the time you engage in your third battle. Tiana, rather than be the quiet, humble type who accidentally discovers her own power, is a bragging know-it-all, and the characters continue to be amusing and interesting from there on out. It really breaks up the battle sections of the game nicely and keeps you engaged as you play.
While what The War of Eustrath does when it comes to combat is fairly straightforward for an SRPG, it does it very well. The game has major polish, and it shows in every detail from the music to the excellent art that accompanies the cutscenes in-between battles. Add to that that the game offers 50 campaign stages with multiple endings, over 20 characters and a ton of GEARs to discover, and this will keep you busy for a long time to come. If you have an IPad, the HD version costs a few dollars more but definitely offers a more expansive play experience, although the iPhone version still performs just fine. We highly recommend The War of Eustrath if you're looking for a great story, a bit of comedy, a solid strategy experience, or best, all of the above.
Mar 25, 2011