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iPad App Video Review: Frozen Synapse

by Andrew Koziara

Frozen Synapse is a critically acclaimed indie turn-based strategy game that won the hearts and minds of gamers and critics alike. It's been making the rounds on Steam for a while, but now we get this brand new portable iPad version. Anyone who has played the game might scoff at the idea of such a complex strategy game working on an iPad, but the touch controls make the transition smooth as a baby's bottom. This is one of the most rewarding and inventive turn-based strategy games around, and you owe it to yourself to give it a look if you're into strategy in the slightest.

Developed by Mode 7, this is like a smaller scale and more action oriented take on Diplomacy. You and your opponent actually put all your units moves in during the planning phase, only to watch the outcome in the action phase. The game is all about covering your bases and trying to anticipate your opponents moves by setting ambushes, destroying cover, and just making sure you're aiming in the right direction to engage. The game is pretty complex, but also simple to get into. There are about ten minutes worth of tutorial videos to prep you before you take on a real opponent.


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Frozen SynapseWhile there is an offline mode, the primary focus of the game is asynchronous multiplayer. You'll have to create an account to play, but you can do it all right from the app with virtually no hassle. If you have an account from the PC version, you can just log into that one too. The multiplayer is indeed cross platform, so you can play this on your iPad with your friend who owns the game on Steam. I'll state upfront that this game is on the polar opposite end of the spectrum from casual. It's very hardcore, with difficult AI, and you'll probably be facing experienced opponents online from the get-go. You've been warned.

The visuals are simple, comprised of only a few colors, but everything is clean and easy to make out, despite the visual chaos that ensues when you give multiple orders at multiple waypoints. With a truly fantastic soundtrack and an expansive online mode featuring leaderboard and tournament support, this is a tactical gaming experience that you shouldn't miss out on. It's pricier than your average iOS game, currently going for seven dollars, but this is a deep and expansive experience that is more than worth the cost. I can't sing its praises enough.


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