Strategy games have always been reserved as niche games for so-called hardcore gamers. That’s subtly changing on iOS thanks to new touch controls, brand new ideas from small developers, and such a wide potential market to try to appeal to. Outwitters is the newest strategy game to hit the App Store, and it’s from the makers of my 2010 game of the year Tilt To Live. One Man Left has lofty goals with Outwitters as they try to introduce the genre to the more causal friendly iOS platform while retaining the intrinsic challenge and thought of strategy games.
The game itself strips out the overbearing intricacies of many other strategy games, and lets you focus on the goal of simply destroying the enemy’s base before they destroy yours. There are six different unit types at your disposal, and each turn you get a certain number of wits. Each move costs a wit whether it’s movement or attack, and some units cost a bit more to generate. There is a multitude of strategies to shoot for, and it depends on each game as you play on a hexagonal grid layout where you use the strengths and weaknesses of your various units.
Outwitters is set-up with asynchronous online multiplayer, like Words with Friends or more aptly Chess with Friends, but with turn based strategy. The game can be played with Game Center friends or random opponents, and at your own pace. There’s a great League matchmaking set-up so that each battle is evenly balanced based on your current skill level. Each match is such a unique challenge, and it feels like a friendlier version of chess. There are nice subtleties on each of the unique board with a fog of war which hides your opponents pieces if you’re not in range.
The game has been set-up so that anyone can pick it up, figure out what to do, and begin strategizing and excelling within the first couple of minutes. You can rush ahead to the enemy’s base, send a runner unit to uncover the enemy’s pieces, or go after destroying each enemy piece because new units are cost prohibitive. The turn based nature against a real person allows for a fluid game and strategy, though it would be nice to just have an option to play solo. You can get multiple matches going, although you need an internet connection to play, and at this early stage there are a few issues with notifications and game refreshes.
Outwitters is free to play which allows you to create new matches easily because so many players can join in the fun. The game offers up three different themes with pirate, robot, and cute and cuddly with the last two available via in-app purchases. The friendly themes invite even more users into the fold, and it further emphasizes how One Man Left has made the strategy genre approachable to all. At the same time, they didn’t sacrifice the challenge and strategy that the genre is known for with the well matched human opponents, and unit and board design.
Outwitters (Free, Universal) is a must have app that delivers a wonderful multiplayer experience that truly delivers strategy to any and all iOS users.