iPhone & iPad App, Modern Conflict, Raises Mobile Strategy Gaming to New Standards

Modern ConflictIt has been a while since we’ve seen a mobile strategy game of high merit on the iPhone platforms. The wait, however, is over as this past weekend hosted the release of Modern Conflict for both the iPhone and iPad platforms. Developed by clickgamer (a division of Chillingo) and Russian developer Gaijin Entertainment , it first caught our attention as a lite version that had made its way to Apple’s top free app charts. Since then, we’ve had an unsated craving as this simple, yet deep, real-time strategy game now eats up a truly absurd amount of our free time.

Fluidly controlled using the devices’ touch screens, it’s a strategy game centered around conquest, with the objective being to destroy all opponents on any given map. With just tanks, helicopters, and the only control being tapping, one would think it boring. Modern Conflict is far from it, however, and with the incorporation of an internal social network called Crystal, it is a title with basically zero flaws.

The game has three modes associated to it: Campaign, Survival, and Spec Ops. As Campaign mode is likely where most users will start out, it seems as good a place as any to begin. In this mode, users can play as the United States, Russia, or China and proceed through a basic storyline. To be honest, the story is a bit simple, and hardly immersive (especially with some of the borderline-corny dialogue), but the play is so fluid, no one is really the wiser.

Attack and DefendFor each mission, players are presented with a birds-eye view of a war zone that is speckled with shapes, numbers, and lines. Each shape represents a base, with a hexagon being a tank base, and a circle being a helicopter base. On each map, there are typically three factions representing the player, the computer opponent, and neutral bases (with only the first two actually attacking – neutrals just defend). Now, within each base, there is a number which displays how many tanks or helicopters are at that locale.

Here’s where the fun begins: In order to take a base, a user must tap a base they control – one tap will select half the units at that base; two will select all of them – and then tap the location they wish to attack. Should the number of units attacking be greater than the number of units defending, the base will be taken over. The only catch is, for tanks, the various bases must be connected by paths, meaning that if there are bases A, B, and C, with B being in the middle, tanks from A or C must first stop at B.

Helicopters, on the other hand, are not bound by roads and can travel anywhere at any time. They also tend to be faster. This makes them ideal for counterattacks, but it is worth noting that helicopters suffer double losses when attacking a tank base (e.g. over 16 choppers are needed to take a basic tank base with 8 tanks in it), and visa versa.

Campaign ModeNow each base, depending on its visible size, can produce a maximum number of units (though an infinite amount can be sent to it from other bases), so the idea is to capture neutral bases as staging areas or choke points for both attack and defense. Moreover, there are usually a dozen or more bases on a map, so the entire game is in constant motion.

To add further depth to the strategy, some bases will also offer various defensive capabilities. Not only will tanks and helicopters that are traveling from location to location shoot at enemies (reducing their attacking numbers) who are also on the move, but anti-armor and anti-air turrets will also attempt to thin the ranks. In a more passive means, some bases are also fortified with a wall which causes x2 casualties to attackers, and others doubly fortified, causing x4 casualties to attackers.