Game of the Month, September 2013: Call of Duty: Strike Team

September saw a number of big game releases, particularly new installments of existing franchises. But one game in particular took some risks and exceeded our expectations, and that’s why we’re giving it Game of the Month. The game is Call of Duty: Strike Team.

We’ve seen Call of Duty games on iOS before, but they were spin-offs from the zombie modes in their console counterparts. Call of Duty: Strike Team is a new game made from the ground up for touchscreen devices. It tells a fairly standard war story, but what it lacks in narrative appeal it makes up for in structural creativity.

At any point in Strike Team, you can tap a button to switch between a first-person shooter view and an overhead strategy view. In first-person mode, you sprint through levels, hide behind cover, and take out enemies with devastating headshots. Flip to the overhead view, however, and you can control your whole team by tapping them and telling them where to go and which enemies to attack. This unique structure marries the intense action of on-the-ground warfare with thoughtful strategic planning. It’s an all-around winner, and that’s why we named Call of Duty: Strike Team our Game of the Month for September.

Our runner-up for Game of the Month is Shadowrun Returns. This is a revival of a series from the ’90s, set in a unique world that mixes a cyberpunk aesthetic with fantasy tropes like goblins and fireballs. The genre blending works great, and the game tells such an intricate story that at times it feels like a playable novel. But that’s not a bad thing, because both the story and the strategy gameplay are terrific. Pick this one up on your iPad if you want to dive deep into a complex, rewarding game.

Congratulation to Activision and Harebrained Schemes for making our two favorite titles in another month of great games. Also be sure to check out our other Must Have title for September, Asphalt 8 Airborne, plus the other big games that released but didn’t quite reach Must Have status: Infinity Blade III and Angry Birds Star Wars II. And if you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan and are willing to overlook some severe issues, check out Star Wars Force Collection.

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