Highborn on the iPhone

Today sees the launch of a rather polished turn based strategy game on the iPhone, namely Jet Set Games’ Highborn.

I’ve only given it a quick blast, and what shines through is the stylish presentation and high production values. The game is a series of encounters on a grid map/board with various locations to capture, and natural choke points to promote combat. The game is realised with 2d cartoon styled miniatures, and then during combat throws the action into the third dimension to see the battle play out in a more visually stimulating manner.

Whilst many thought the game would be a pocket version of Heroes of Might and Magic, its a simpler set up than that. It’s got more in common with the likes of Advance Wars, differing units supporting each other using combined arms and skills, but battling in turn, one on one. I suppose the slight nod towards HOMM is that you capture towers and rune-stones to be rewarded with spells that can be used to sway the outcome of battles quite dramatically.

The comedy flavour to the game adds to the lightweight enjoyment of the skirmishes and the gameplay just flows really naturally. One of the big selling points of the game, seems to be its ability to hook into Facebook, and allow you to run games with your friends in a Play By Email (PBEM) style – mulling over and then submitting turns and waiting for your friend to respond. I’ve not hooked mine up to Facebook to try any of this out, but I’m often very guarded when it comes to throwing lots of status/awards and invites up onto Facebook, mainly because most games promote such like as features when really they’re more nuisance than anything else. Anyway, there is scope for the this “Social Strategy Game” (as the term has been coined) to bring more turn based strategy to the masses, which can only be a good thing.

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Ian Bowes / spelk