With deep strategy titles Civ Rev and Sid Meier’s Pirates in back catalog, just-released Haunted Hollow and the hotly anticipated iOS version of XCOM: Enemy Unknown due out this summer, one could argue that 2K Mobile isn’t the hottest name in iOS strategy games right now — but it’d be a steep uphill battle.
Then add this bombshell to support the argument: Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol, due out next Thursday, may be the best 2K iOS strategy game yet.
Why? Two reasons. First, the name “Sid Meier” isn’t just window dressing. Meier’s Civilization series is one of the most lauded and popular names in video game history, and he had a direct, heavy hand in developing this game. Then consider that this is the first game Meier has designed specifically for iOS from the ground up (Civ Rev for iOS is a tweaked version of the desktop series, and Pirates! is a direct port of the desktop version).
Ace Patrol is a true strategy game; players take turns maneuvering their vintage World War I aircraft on a hex-based battlefield in the sky, vying to position their fighters for the kill. Pilots each bring their own skills to the battle, and can be promoted and upgraded to create a specialized force. On the plane side, there’re more than 30 aircraft models with which to build a squadron.
Game modes include single-player against AI, two-player hot-seat on the same device and asynchronous multiplayer through Game Center
And here’s the kicker — unlike Meier’s other iOS games, the first levels of Ace Patrol are free. After that, more levels (in the form of nationalities to play as) can be purchased for $2 each. It’s a pretty smart way to open the door, without the pay-to-play stigma that’s been plaguing recent big titles like EA’s Real Racing 3.