Battle Fleet 2

If you're looking for a strategy-based game, there are a plethora of AAA titles from which you could choose: Command & Conquer, Total WarCompany of Heroes, Starcraft... I could go on but I think I've made my point. So the question is, when there are so many other strategy games out there, both real-time and turn-based, why would you choose Battle Fleet 2? What does this game offer that others don't? Well, the answer is a two-parter. First, while other World War II strategy games certainly exist, this is the only one I know of that places a strict focus on naval combat. Secondly, it has a unique approach to combat. But I'll go into more detail on that a little later.

When you play the Campaign mode, you are thrust into the Pacific Theater of the Second World War, where you are placed in charge of either the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet or the Imperial Japanese Navy. At this point, it's a fairly standard affair: a regional/world map with territories, control of which grants you "command points", which can be used to build and refit your fleet. Through this (somewhat clunky) map you can view your fleet, shipyards, and defenses (airfields and coastal artillery) in each territory. You can also  move your ships to different territories and you can order reconnaissance to see what ships and defenses exist in enemy territory before you attempt to take over.

And while you're trying to take over said territories, you can admire the game's pretty graphics. Okay, maybe they're a little jagged around the edges but for a strategy game (one in which you'll spend a lot of time fully zoomed-out, trying to estimate the range of your enemy's fleet) they're good enough. Which brings me to the game's combat mechanics.

Every turn, your ship can move or fire. The ship's speed determines the maximum distance it can move in one turn. This varies by class, e.g. frigates and cruisers can move further in one turn than destroyers, which all move faster than aircraft carriers and battleships. When you move, you also choose a bearing (given on a compass) and a speed (the distance your ship will move). Unlike some games I've played where vehicles can turn on a dime, these big old metal ships have massive turning arcs. What that means for you is, if you get into a situation where an enemy ship's guns are all pointing at your frigate's poorly-armed backside, don't expect to swing around enough in one turn to broadside the enemy ship.

When you choose to engage the enemy, you'll have to direct your fire very precisely in a specific direction and range. At first, this is a very daunting task, especially as the game provides no tutorial to help you get used to judging distance but it will become easier as you play. In general, expect your first shot to be a miss. Make adjustments as necessary and use your follow-up shot to score a hit on the target. The number of shots you can take per turn varies by weapon -- some deck guns can be fired twice, while torpedoes can be fired once. So in other words, use your smaller and less powerful guns to test your range, then bombard the enemy with the heavier-hitting weapons.

And don't worry, after a while you'll be able to guess the range fairly accurately. Within a few hours, I was able to to score a hit on my first shot maybe eight out of ten times. As far as strategy games go, Battle Fleet 2 is competent in every regard. And it certainly stands out amongst other iOS games for its uniqueness. In short, it's a more interesting, more fully-fleshed out extension of Battleship.

I don't think I ever won a single fight in Soulcalibur II. Thankfully, I'm marginally better at reviewing than I am at fighting games.