Strategy games, with their built in turn-based nature, have always seemed like a natural fit for the iOS platform. Play a turn, save, come back later when you’re ready to go again. Now One Man Left studios has stripped the genre bare, taken it to the back to just the essentials, and made the asynchronous gem known as Outwitters. It’s fun, simple and can be addicting to the point where you’ll start to think the company should change their name to One More Turn.
Outwitters is simple and your goal is uncomplicated and straight to the point: destroy your opponents’ shockingly weak homebase. Since the game is online only (with a ‘tabletop’ option where you can pass your device to someone else when it’s their turn) you have to find someone to play against via Gamecenter in either one-on-one or two-on-two battles. When you do, it’s off war.
If you’re just playing the free version, you only get one team to play, the Scallywags. If you pay the measly $3 for the full version, you get access to all of the 3 teams (the other 2 being the Feedbacks, a group of robots, and the Adorables, cute little Pokemon like characters) and some different boards. The teams are basically the same, with the only real difference being the elite units are dramatically different and can drastically affect gameplay. However, that’s assuming a match even goes long enough for you to build these things. These games tend to be lightning fast. But even if you don’t build the super-soldiers, it’s still worth it to buy the full thing. The other units are really fun and unique looking, and the different boards are well designed and cool to look at and play on.
Once you’ve found a game, each player takes a turn, and during these turns you have action-points (in this game they’re referred to as Wits) to spend which you can use to move units, attack or build more units and you do all of this with the goal of getting across the screen to destroy the other players base. Something we thought was really cool was that if you don’t spend all of your Wits, the remaining points will carry over to your next turn. So if you end your turn with 2 wits left, those will be added to your total for the next turn. There are also certain tiles on the board that can give you more Wits to use. Managing your Wits creates a lot of interesting strategies for you to try and use. Do you create a big army of weak but fast units, or do you save up your points to build the big guns? The choice is up to you. Once you’ve done everything you want to do, you end your turn and wait for you opponent to take his/her turn. Since the boards are small, units relatively weak and your base only being able to take a small amount of damage, most games don’t last for very long.
Ever heard of a seafood buffet that can take a bite out of you?
Any problems we had with the game are mostly problems that any asynchronous game will have. Managing multiple games can get a little confusing and sometimes it can take quite a while for opponents to take their turn. We’ve also read reports of players simply not taking their turns when they know they’re going to lose and other players starting games and never taking another turn, most probably hoping that their opponents will just get fed up and forfeit their game. The game has a ranking/league system and even opponents forfeiting will give you a win. It’s super cheesy, and luckily the company has taken steps to mitigate this. Also, there’s no single-player mode. A small complaint, but still a valid one. Sometimes we just don’t want to wait for other people to be able to play.
One Man Left has done a rather masterful job with Outwitters. Once you find people to play with (the well of players was a little dry the first week or so, but now you shouldn’t have any problem finding willing victims) you’re going to have a ton of fun. It’s simple to play, the rules are easy to learn, and games are fast and well suited for the platform. Throw in some great graphics and cute animations and Outwitters is a real winner.