Battle of the Bulge (shenandoah-studio .com) is an operational simulation of the December 1944 German Ardennes offensive. It is also arguably the best strategy game yet created for the iPad.
The design of this game is beautiful yet simple. For instance, a swipe here, a tap there, and players are transported to the suburbs of Bastogne. Furthermore, the game’s focus is impeccable. Rather than requiring players to call in every airstrike and artillery strike, such factors are included in the game engine, movement rates and attack factors.
Players, however, will find that sweeping through Belgium or defending against the enemy is neither simple nor easy, because the game’s artificial intelligence is amazing. Enemy soldiers are cunning and clever on the attack and steadfast and determined on the defense.
Battle of the Bulge offers two World War II scenarios in which gamers play as either the Germans or the Americans. While there is not an abundance of content, what is there is so well done that it will give wargamers hours of enjoyment.
Tank Battle: North Africa (tank-battle .com) is the sequel to Hunted Cow Studio’s mildly successful Tank Battle: 1944 for the iPad, iPod and iPhone. It comes with two campaigns, British and American, and three additional ones can be purchased through the App Store.
This nuts-and-bolts tactical game takes place in the desert of North Africa, where gamers command British, American and German forces during World War II. Players control groups of tanks, anti-tank guns and infantry as they strive to meet the objectives of the game’s 21 missions and six pass-and-play multiplayer scenarios.
Tank Battle: North Africa offers new features such as flanking fire and “move and shoot,” and it boasts more than three dozen unit types, including Stuart and Grant tanks, 2-pounder anti-tank guns, American bazooka teams, and several types of German tanks.
With the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II (callofduty.com), the ever-popular Call of Duty franchise continues to pump out the best first-person shooters in the gaming industry.
Set in the year 2025, Black Ops II features breathtaking infantry combat interspersed with brief moments in a turret or cockpit for a change of pace. The single-player campaign jumps between the “present” and the heart of the Cold War, tracking the rise of the arch villain and players’ attempts to thwart his evil plan for the world.
The missions are varied and are punctuated with some truly challenging moral dilemmas. The game also introduces the new strike missions, which are a clever combination of real-time strategy and Call of Duty-brand first-person shooter. Multiplayer mode, meanwhile, is as great as ever, frantically exciting and laced with innovations.
With Black Ops II, Call of Duty gives gamers the chance to save the world while once again taking its place at the head of the first-person shooter line.
Mark H. Walker is a retired U.S. Navy commander and veteran electronic entertainment/IT journalist who designed the critically acclaimed board wargames “Lock ’n Load” and “World at War.” He has authored or contributed to over 40 books, including his novel “Everyone Dies in the End.”
Originally published in the July 2013 issue of Armchair General.