Frozen Synapse was released two years ago for the PC, and provided turn based tactical combat that has now come to the iPad. The game revolves around players performing their turns at their leisure, and then having those turns played out simultaneously. With that in mind, it sets the stage for online multiplayer that includes cross platform between computer and iPad. There are five different multiplayer modes to engage in, all delivered through a top down interface with neon infused graphics to depict combat action. There’s also a 55 mission single player campaign as well as randomly generated maps across single player and multiplayer.
There’s a whole lot of strategic depth available with different unit types, multiple actions, and intricate maps with ever changing angles of attack. Each turn is set-up to give you five seconds of forward action, and you can preview that action before engaging it. The preview button lets you see if your moves will lead to an attack or pathway to death, and that’s just based on where the current enemies positions are, not taking into account their move. The five second intervals let you change strategy often, and on the fly, and still matches don’t take very long. The entire experience is a lot like Leviathan Warships, and that’s not a good thing.
At first glance, you can tell that the developers just dropped the whole heap of the desktop version on to the iPad, without any refinements for touch. The interface is extremely bloated with virtually no aspects changed to use touch instead of a mouse. There’s also a significant learning curve, and there’s nothing that is intuitive leaving you to watch tutorial videos. The whole game feels archaic, just like Leviathan Warships, and they feel extra stale compared to Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol, which was made for iOS from the ground up. Frozen Synapse was shoehorned on to the iPad, and there is nothing that is made friendly to the user or on the go gaming. Even the multiplayer has a rudimentary interface that isn’t set-up for quick in and out sessions like most other iOS multiplayer games.
Frozen Synapse ($6.99, iPad) is stuck in the past with layers of frustration covering the strategy filled gameplay making it one to strategically avoid. Sadly, the game is frozen in time, and just isn’t made for the iPad era.