When they get it wrong, it’s an unmitigated disaster. So what are some safe strategy game choices? Here’s seven – one for each console and PC – where you can’t go wrong… even if they’re not necessarily the most obvious first choice.
1) Toy Soldiers (XBLA)
This is a perfect example of taking the basic tower defence genre, and reworking it into a interesting and very playable experience. The premise is cute, the online play is solid, and here is a game that recaptures everything that you fondly remember about playing with plastic soldiers as a kid. At 1200 Microsoft Points, it’s an utter steal.
2) Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PSP)
There’s a tonne of good strategy games on the PSP… between this, and the RPG genre, Sony’s little handheld console is something of a
In this instance you’re looking at a massive quest with a huge number of customisation options for your little heroes, a good plot, and charming visuals. You’ll lose weeks to this game.
3) Shogun 2 Total War (PC)
This was an obvious choice. Shogun 2 is an epic game in every sense of the word, with brilliantly realised strategy action. Perhaps compared to a game like Combat Command: The Matrix Edition, the actual level of strategy required to win is less, but this game is far more accessible for the mass audience, and in many ways is the modern “gateway drug” into deeper strategic experiences.
There’s not a whole lot of great strategy games on the PSN for PS3 owners, so instead we recommend picking up this gem from the PlayStation One Classics. Square Enix’ grid based Mech tactics game hasn’t got the most interesting plot, but the sheer depth of combat more than makes up for it.
5) Romance of the Three Kingdoms (iPhone/ iPad)
Tecmo Koei’s hardcore strategy game set in the same era as its Dynasty Warriors series is truly strategic. You’ll need to manage both the military and conquest of rival territories – but also the health and loyalty of your generals and people. And the game is not forgiving. One bad decision can and will sink you – just like in history, really.
6) Swords and Soldiers (WiiWare)
The Wii really struggles with strategy games. You can find two decent Ogre Battle games on the Virtual Console, but otherwise you’re best off sticking with Swords and Soldiers. It’s as light as strategy games get – it’s much closer to a button masher, but it’s charming, funny and highly entertaining.
7) Dragon Quest Wars (DSiWare)
Funnily enough, DSiWare has a better strategy game than anything on WiiWare. Dragon Quest Monsters is somewhat limited, and really rests on the value of its multiplayer mode (and it might be hard finding matches now), but this “Dragon Quest Chess” title is addictive, and requires a surprising amount of strategic thought.