We here at iPhonegamenetwork have longed for a good RTS on our iPhone for a very long time. Our own Matt Dunn has written a full article on why the iPhone would be a perfect platform for an RTS. So it’s shocking to me that Stragea has kind of flown under the radar for such a long time. While it’s not the greatest game ever made, it is absolutely a competent RTS. There are some flaws and things that could be improved, but it is fun, and it’s a step in the right direction.
Stragea plays out in a Tolken Fantasy type of setting, with archers, swordsmen and the like. It features a campaign mode and a battle mode. The battle mode can only be unlocked after fully completing the campaign mode, which I find rather annoying. When I play an RTS I always go straight to skirmish mode and duke it out for supremacy. I feel like choice is always key in games. Forcing gamers to go through the story mode, even if all they want to do is battle, is a mistake. That’s not to say the campaign mode is bad, because it is a lot of fun, but I would have loved to be able to just jump in and go nuts in an all out war.
The campaign mode is designed as a tutorial of sorts, starting you off with simply building a resource building and guard tower. As you progress, the game starts opening up more types of units, and the ability to upgrade the units given. The objectives are simple and what you would expect from a small scale RTS. Most of them are things like go into the enemy base and kill all their dudes, and I’m not going to lie, I’m ok with that. I really don’t expect to see some deep meaning to the objectives in an RTS, I just want to make dudes, send them in, and kill everything that gets in my way.
The game’s controls work pretty well, not perfect, but I never really found myself frustrated with the controls. They work just how you would expect an RTS to work. You tap your guys to select them, and if you want to select multiple guys at the same time you hold your finger down on the screen and makes a box, selecting all units in the area. I would have liked to have seen the ability to draw a box that is however big you would like it to be. As it stands you can only pick whatever units happen to be standing in the range of the box that it draws for you. This can sometimes lead to an extra step of having to select individual units and moving them close to the other ones so you can group select them. It’s an issue, but it isn’t necessarily a deal breaker because the scale is kind of small, and you won’t be selecting tons of units at a time.
To make a unit actually do something you select it, then pick from it’s available movement options on the bottom of the screen, then click where you want it to go. The units are good at automatically attacking targets in their range. All you really have to do is move the units into range of the enemies and let the A.I handle the rest.
Visually the game looks nice. It’s a faux 3d looking game. Meaning it’s all 2d sprites, but the look a little 3d. It’s a nice look and even with the high graphics the game runs smooth. They seem to have found a good balance of graphical quality, and the right amount of units on screen the keep everything running nice and smooth. There is also good variety with the level design. There are rich green levels and harsh looking desert levels, after all variety is the spice of life. The sound is also pretty good, with decent enough music and good sound effects.
Stragea is a lot of fun, and it runs and looks good. If you are looking for an RTS to play on your iPhone until CandC comes out, Stragea is a great option. There is even a Lite version to check out, so if you are unsure, download that.
Presentation & Graphics
The game has a very nice looking art style. It’s kind of faux 3d. It’s all hand drawn sprites drawn in a manner that makes it look like everything is 3d, while still maintaining a nice hand drawn style.
Good music that sets the mood for the game, and nice sound effects that are not intrusive or annoying. Not the most amazing battle sounds I have ever heard, but more then sufficient for the game.
The game is a lot of fun to play, but there are a couple of nagging control issues that keep it from being as good as it could be. I would be happier if you didn’t have to double tap the screen as much to get things done. I also would love the ability to control how big the multiple unit selection is. Still these issues aside, the game is still a lot of fun to play.
There is a bunch of levels in the single player campaign, and a battle mode where you can free play fights. If you are really into the game the battle mode would keep you busy for a while, but the actual campaign mode is not particularly long.
Stragea is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but in terms of an RTS on the iPhone is very competent, and if you are a big RTS fan it is 100 percent worth picking up, or at the very least checking out the Lite version to see if it is something that would suit your tastes.