App of the day: Mushroom Wars Mini review (iPhone)
Furious fungi battle it out in Mushroom Wars Mini on a miniature scale that's mighty difficult to master. If strategy games are your thing then Mushroom Wars on the iPhone - or the iPad if you want it a little less mini - is a well thought out attack and defend strategy game that's hard to take your eyes off (if you do then it will likely result in your being conquered).
Mushroom Wars Mini
- Free | £1.49 to unlock all levels
Point and click strategy games are often more typical of the PC than a smart device. But Mushroom Wars Mini fits everything on to the iPhone's screen in a clear fashion that's easy to understand and master using a click and drag technique.
As new features open up throughout the first nine levels there's an informative hand which pops up to guide you along. These initial levels are knocked back with relative ease - but jump into the full game (priced £1.49) and the difficulty level immediately jumps up a notch.
The story goes that a menacing force threatens Mushroom Kingdom. Once happy mushroom folk are now at war, and it's your job to lead the army to conquer properties including defence towers and other strategic strongholds in a capture the flag style game.
You'll need patience and wit in equal measure. Often beginning with just one mushroom property to your name you'll need to let your mushroom men - or whatever they're called - multiply in numbers before deploying them. It's possible to move them in 25, 50, 75 or 100 per cent portions, as adjusted by a slider to the left side of the screen, in order to defend your other outposts, obtain neutral ground and, when numbers are strong enough, attack enemy strongholds.
Typically there are key strongholds within a level to keep hold of, otherwise its game over, while others you'll need to capture as highlighted by a crown above each crucial building. This is where the capture the flag concept comes into play.
But don't go into all-out attack and leave yourself exposed, as an onslaught of enemies on the counter can come back to bite you - often in large numbers, so it's important to keep an eye on where and how many enemies are positioned. The artificial intelligence is top notch and the game will see you suffer plenty of defeats before success - it's difficult stuff and that makes it all the more rewarding.
Along the way you'll need to learn to upgrade buildings to produce and handle more of your mushroom men, while later down the line the ability to transform buildings adds a new tactical standpoint. Defence towers launch projectiles which cull enemies on the move, or the flip side of that is your mushroom army can easily get mown down if walking directly into the line of fire.
As clever a tactical real-time strategy game as we've played, despite the face it's a budget smartphone app. Top notch.