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First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?

KMGR of "Military Madness 2"

Moon on a Mobile PhoneImage by Dave Pearson via FlickrMilitary Madness was one of the first true strategy games available on consoles... all the way back on TurboGrafx 16, if you remember that far back. It made a come back on various consoles, even on mobile phones. And fans demanded a sequel. So, will it be worth it to go back to the moon? If you are into this genre, absolutely.

At the end of the first Military Madness, you, as the Allied Powers forces, have defeated the Axis Empire's forces on the moon and disabled the Supreme Atomic Missile, with which the Axis hopes to control both worlds. It's been a few years, and somehow the Axis Empire have somehow survived, and now Allied Intelligence have received Intel that the Axis have been developing something... On the Moon. So as part of Allied Special Forces, it's time to return to the Moon, and find out/destroy whatever the Axis Empire is making...

The game itself has the missions on a "moon valley map". Each mission unfolds on a different map. You on one side, the enemy on the other. You can win two ways: destroy all enemy units, or capture the enemy base with your "infantry" unit, which can also capture factories, if there are any. You start with only so many units, and there are no more reinforcements. You have to win the battle, which then opens the next battle, and so on.

Battle occurs on moonscape, which has valleys, "roads", mountains, and rough terrain. Different terrain have different "roughness", which affects movement and defense. Each unit is rated for movement, defense and attack, range (most are range 1), and so on. Infantry move slow unless you put them in personnel carriers (which are vulnerable). Armor moves fast, but can't capture things. So it's a bit of paper-rock-scissors, when air units are introduced later. Most "unit" you see on the battlefield has 8 actual units in it, though later you may see "overpowered" units which has more. As units make kills they gain experience which enhances their attack and defense. Other ways to improve odds is to surround the enemy with your units, which is called "support attack". Each unit can only attack once per turn (some exceptions) and move once per turn (again, some exceptions). When two units meet (like one attack the other), they pop into a "battle screen" like Archon and exchange shots, and kills are tabulated based on attack/defense values, after all the modifiers (terrain, support, experience, etc.) are applied.

The game has only one difficulty level, and it's never easy. This game is tougher in that you are either outnumbered or have worse hardware, so you have to be tactically superior to overcome those bad odds. And as you can imagine, your odds can only grow worse. You have to apply every advantage you have and exploit every enemy weakness to secure victory and defeat the new Axis threat, which may include bio weapons...

So is the game as addictive as ever? Yes, but the initial difficulty may turn off some players. I played through the first mission four times before securing a victory. It's not a matter of rushing the units in. You have to calculate carefully the range of each unit, coordinate the movement so you can surround the enemy without leaving your own unit(s) vulnerable. You also need to save the infantry unit(s) for capture, as they can go through almost any terrain unlike armor (which requires flat surfaces).

If you want a game that actually challenges your brain, definitely pick up Military Madness 2, and be assured that you're NOT picking up just another variation of Bejeweled (tm) or another 2D shooter, but something that is both classic and fun. Graphics are minimal as it's mostly icons, and the music is repetitive, but the classic gameplay is still there, and still as fun as ever.

Overall rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: easy to pick up, strategy games rare on mobile phones
Cons: same lousy graphics, repetitive music, high school excuse of a sequel plot

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