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Hoplite review (iOS / Universal)

February 6, 2014

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10 word description: Turn-based strategy focussing on tactical movements around small maps. [From app store description]

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10 word review: Challenging, mini-epic rogue-like with absolutely killer gameplay. Recommended.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Turn-based combat. Hex tiles. The idea of Chess reimagined as a single player RPG. Games where every single move makes a difference. Puzzle games.

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The good news: The gameplay, above all else, is just ridiculously good. Restraint, whether it be in the graphics, sounds, music or overall design of the game, proves beyond doubt that less is undeniably more. Achievements are a mixture of straightforward, interesting and very tough; using them as the mechanism for unlocking powerful abilities adds immensely to the replayability and hook of the game.

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The bad news: Taps occasionally don’t seem to register, more often on the iPod Touch in my experience. It’s not a massive issue due to the turn-based nature of the game, but it is something that needs to be fixed. The lack of Game Center in a game that is all about achievements and high scores is a notable omission. Progress (unlocked achievements) is not synchronised between devices.

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Arcadelife verdict: Hoplite is such a solid, well designed, enjoyable game! Unlike many rogue-likes that end up as attribute-stacking lootfests pitting you against ever increasing hordes of impossible enemies, Hoplite plays more like a tactical puzzle game or a sequence of end-games from a grand masters’ chess match in a parallel universe. The action is turn-based but the pace of the game never lets up. A single wrong move can be disastrous and a string of good moves is one of the best feelings I’ve experienced in recent iOS games.

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The theme is epic, the style sublime and the restraint admirable. Progress does not rely on learning new skills but on how imaginative and lethal you can become with the ones that you have. It’s a great game and I’m glad to be one of its players.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 8/10
Visuals – 8/10
Controls – 7/10
Content – 8.5/10
Fun – 9.5/10
Final rating – 9/10

EPIC

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 2.2.2
iTunes link

Magma Fortress website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.0.4)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.0.4)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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