Strategy and word games
The best strategy or word game for Android is... MINI METRO (₹370)
Underground maps are beautiful things, and so it’s no surprise a game based on them looks wonderful. What is surprising is a strategy title focussed solely on passenger movement and carriage management is this compelling.
On selecting a location, stations periodically appear, and it’s your job to connect them. The snag: you've got a limited number of lines and carriages, and if a single station becomes too overcrowded, the entire network closes.
Particularly on a tablet, Mini Metro’s mix of gorgeous ambience and increasingly demanding line juggling proves compelling. And even when it becomes frustrating, you’ll never get angry at it – unlike the real thing.
REIGNS: HER MAJESTY (₹190)
The original Reigns was a clever spin on kingdom management strategy, distilling the entire interaction to Tinder-like left/right swipes. Follow-up Reigns: Her Majesty initially looks like more of the same. And, indeed, you’re still immersed in responding to the demands of your subjects by swiping left or right to choose an outcome.
You must balance the demands of the church, military, public, and treasury, not allowing any to become too angry or dominant. But this sequel is smarter and deeper than its predecessor, with better writing, an inventory, and themes that weave their way through the ages as you reincarnate. Also, you’re a woman this time around – and women had it particularly tough in medieval times.
If you’ve ever stared aghast at a hideous road junction and assumed you could do better, Freeways is ready to prove otherwise. It dumps you before dozens of screens, each empty bar the odd sign and building. Prod any of those and arrows detail where the traffic wants to go. Then it’s just a question of laying the roads.
The snag is concrete pours from your finger as you drag across the screen, with all the finesse of a toddler with a crayon. And although you can build bridges, you’ll sooner or later jam up your tiny network and have to start again. It sounds dull. It really isn’t. In fact, Freeways is one of the most weirdly compelling strategy games around.
CARD THIEF (FREE + ₹140 IAP)
If you thought Hitman GO shook up stealth for mobile, Card Thief takes things a sneaky step further. Your arena of sorts is a deck of cards, dealt on to a three-by-three grid. During each turn, you tiptoe about, using stealth points to forge paths that involve grabbing loot, and aiming to avoid guards keen to hurl you into a cell.
The game initially lobs a load of tutorials your way, and perplexes with its many nuances. But if you stick around, you’ll learn new techniques and tactics with every game as the rules begin to click. Before long, you’ll be living your own life in the shadows – mostly so you can get away with playing more Card Thief on the sly.
INFINITE WEST (FREE + ₹ IAP)
Much like Hitman GO made us go BWUH? with a turn-based strategy take on a 3D console shooter, we questioned the logic in combining a classic Western and chess – until we played Infinite West. And that’s because this mash-up of brain-smashing stealthing and shooty larks is great.
You play as a gunslinger hero avenging his murdered family. Every screen on the journey is a chess-like puzzle; you figure out out how to defeat gang members (each with unique weapon ranges) and then make for the exit. It’s simple at first, but deep into the mission things become akin to a black comedy, puzzles starting off with dozens of guns immediately pointed at your head.