If we had to pick the all-time best game series regardless of platform, Sid Meier’s Civilization would definitely make the list. However, this is a tribute to the best iOS game series, and there’s only been one Civ game released on iOS so far: Civilization Revolution. 2K Games definitely deserves credit for their contributions to the turn-based strategy genre, so we’re including a few more of their greatest hits as well.
This masterful world-domination sim is unmatched in its sheer scope. You start off with an unsophisticated populace, learning how to make pottery and the wheel. Eventually, you’ll build armies of spearmen and archers, boats to sail across the seas, and roads to connect your new cities. Before you know it, you’ll have invented tanks and nukes. Civ Rev offers multiple scenarios, asynchronous multiplayer, and a high degree of challenge depending on your ability. This strategy game is one of the best purchases you can make on the App Store– especially if you buy it for the iPad.
Key Quote: “Few games let you grow from the Stone Age to the Atomic Age, and it’s a real pleasure to rewrite history as you see fit. Civilization Revolution is a great launch title for the iPad, and it’s worth owning even if you already have the iPhone version.”
Although it’s not nearly as epic as Civilization Revolution, Firaxis’ Haunted Hollow has its own charming appeal. Two players take turns adding to their haunted mansion, and then send their monsters into town. By scaring the townsfolk, you can slowly take control, but eventually they’ll get fed up and become a deadly mob (complete with torches and pitchforks). Haunted Hollow is a free-to-play game, but you can pay extra to unlock more monsters and special items, giving you a slight gameplay advantage.
Key Quote: “In addition to the well-balanced strategy and spooky setting, we especially enjoyed Haunted Hollow’s visual style. The Nightmare Before Christmas seems to be a big inspiration for blending scary creatures with cartoony, family-appropriate graphics.”
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
When aliens invade Earth, the world’s nations unite to create the ultimate defense system. As the commander of XCOM, you’re responsible for shooting down UFOs and sending squads to the scene of alien invasions. You can also devote resources to building new weapons or unlocking alien technology. Much of the gameplay consists of turn-based tactical encounters, where you can position your team and then fire on aliens when they’re in your line of sight. Even though it’s a full console game, XCOM is a perfect fit on iOS, with well-designed touch controls and gorgeous graphics.
Key Quote: “There’s a lot of game here for your money, even at the $19.99 price tag. The PC version is still selling around $40 and is worth it even at that price.”
Tomorrow, our 50 Best continues with Diner Dash, the series starring the world’s busiest waitress, Flo.
This article is part of a series about the best games on iOS, 2008-2013. You can read the rest here.