Political mobile games roundup

Election season is upon us, and while they might not be appreciated by everyone, there’s certainly no shortage of mobile apps to help celebrate the occasion.

The political apps available on iOS and Android run the gamut from serious news hubs to satirical games. It’s the latter we’ll be focusing on in this feature, as interactive games are often aimed at getting people interested in the political process. While the actual political content of these titles is highly variable, at their core all the title have the same two goals — to remind users that an election campaign is happening and to encourage their players to get up and vote.

Vote!!! The Game (Chair, iOS)

Vote is an Unreal Engine-powered fighting game from the makers of Infinity Blade. It’s a free download that casts players in the role of either Obama or Romney, and is, at its core, the same basic game as Infinity Blade. Players progress through a series of “debates” between the two candidates, represented by them slugging it out using items ranging from a microphone to a copy of the Constitution. Players earn coins through combat (or acquire them via in-app purchase), and these can be spent on better items and equipment.

The game includes an online facility where the performance of Obama and Romney players are compared to provide a measure of “support” on the game’s title screen — winning a bout counts as one “vote” for a particular candidate.

Vote is great fun, particularly for fans of Infinity Blade, and is a highly polished title with impressive graphics and sound. Judging by the number of “votes” on the title screen at the time of writing, it’s a popular one, too — thanks at least in part to the fact that it is free to download.

Race for the White House 2012 (Lunagames, iOS/Android)

Race for the White House 2012 (known as Election Game 2012 in its App Store listing) is available in both free and paid versions. It’s a strategy game in which players take on the role of either Obama or Romney in an attempt to secure as much support in states across the U.S. as possible. This is achieved by travelling to states, spending money on campaigns, appearing on talk shows and holding speeches. The game incorporates a trivia element when the player’s candidate appears on talk shows, with the host grilling them about American history and sports, with correct answers netting them additional support in the region.

Players also have the opportunity to make use of a covert operative and a detective to perform special actions such as digging up dirt on their opponent or sabotaging their campaign. This costs money, however, so players must ensure they have plenty of volunteers working for them to help provide the income for their campaign.

Race for the White House is a complex game that does not give a great deal of help to the player. While this will please fans of light strategy games looking for a satirical political game to play on their phones, it will likely put curious newcomers off somewhat. Still, with a free version available, players can try it out with no risk.

Comedy Central’s Indecision Game (2K Play, iOS/Android)

Indecision Game combines a “quiz show” theme with some Risk-style strategy. Players must answer political-themed questions against the clock to earn voters, and must then place these on their “campaign trail” in an attempt to take various states. The game is designed for asynchronous multiplayer, so it’s possible for players to engage in several political battles at the same time.