Ambroid

Ambroid

Strategic text-based warfare in your browser. Form alliances for support. Select opponents to attack based on a point system to get more land (and therefore the ability to build more). If your Attack Points are greater than their Defence Points, you’ve got yourself a nice match. Build buildings and units to increase your overall Power Points on your way to reach the supreme rank of General.

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Free to play indefinitely.

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Astro Lords

Astro Lords

Astro Lords is an MMORPG/Strategy set in a sci-fi universe. Players control an asteroid, construct and upgrade buildings and fight with others to gain control over the Oort cloud. The game can be played on iOS, Android and desktop devices.

Players might be positively appalled by the lack of character customization, but that is more than compensated by the fact that eventually you can move your base, perhaps towards the members of your alliance, or the enemy if you feel you can gain an edge. The combat has players duke it out in turn-based combat with spaceships in the vast void. It takes quite some skill and provides ample entertainment, because the fights involve dodging slow-moving projectiles (there are lasers too!) and hiding behind asteroids. You’ll either hate it or love it, but it must be said it’s highly original.

Astro Lords is definitely a promising title, but the strategy elements could very well be executed better. The skill tree, huge as it is, confuses the player, because it inevitably makes you wonder if you’re looking at a spreadsheet. Even though Astro Lords doesn’t push players into buying anything, progress is quicker with pockets full of premium currency.

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Free, with option to pay for additional features.

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Imperia Online

Imperia Online

Fancy yourself a great emperor of a thriving civilization? Or maybe a pillaging warlord, leading your legions to glorious battles? Then Imperia Online is right up your alley.

Imperia Online is a browser-based, strategic empire builder MMO set in the Medieval period. You are the ruler of a small province, tasked to develop its economic and military might. Practically, like in most empire building games, that means improving your province's infrastructure over time, all for the sake of building up your military. To fully participate in global warfare and politics, the game encourages you to join player-run alliances.

The gameplay doesn't stray much from the usual formula of online empire builder games, so if you're a veteran of that genre, Imperia Online won't be too much of an unfamiliar territory to cover. For the newbie, the lengthy tutorial does a thorough job of introducing the core gameplay systems. Graphically, there's not much to look at, but the visuals definitely have a medieval atmosphere to them. The interface can get overwhelming for a new player, though.

Casual players will find little use for the game's cash shop offerings, but hardcore gamers will definitely need to invest some money if they want to play at a competitive level. That has always been the case for games like this.

As far as modern MMOs are concerned, Imperia Online isn't a ground-breaking or stand-out game. It's a decently polished empire builder, though, and it's still going strong 10 years after it launched.

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Free, with option to pay for additional features.

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Kingdoms At War

Kingdoms At War

Browser based strategy war game set in a fantasy setting. There is also an app for your iPhone or iPad. What sets this strategy game apart is the player-versus-environment quests so you aren’t required to continually battle other players for extra gold that you need to build your production buildings (which aren’t cheap to set up). You resources are primarily gold, trained combatants and spies. Use your spies to Scout your enemies defenses, Steal gold, or Assassinate enemy troops while they are sleeping. Real-time attacks and espionage take place in the form of a live news feed, allowing you to respond quickly to actions taken against you. Choose your allies wisely and join a clan for safety. The game offers a well designed interface and strong community interaction. The name of the game is expansion. Grow your kingdom into the most powerful in the land.

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Free, with option to pay for additional features.

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Virtual Families

Virtual Families

Virtual Families (VF) is a real-life sim quite akin to The Sims. Adopt a character and move him into your home, then reach out to the second half by using a dating website. Once they have kids you’re bound to be hooked.

Players have to keep an eye on their adoptees’ needs and help them fulfill these needs and wants by dragging them around—to the kitchen when they’re hungry, the outdoors when they’re longing for nature, and on top of one another when they’re ‘in the mood’. The game plays out in real-time, meaning that it still continues when you log off unless it’s paused. Just like in The Sims, players can buy furniture and decorations, but players also can unlock achievements and awards as well as find secrets. Success is measured mostly in pecuniary terms in this game.

Altogether, VF is a decent title, especially since it’s a mobile game (also available as a PC download). It has vibrant graphics, a familiar feel, and of course the characters are lovable, especially the children. VF does, however, have a derivative feel to it, plus there are bugs in the AI that makes the families less clever than they ought to be.

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Free, with option to pay for additional features.

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