The tumbleweeds rolled across the trail as our horses marched forward in the heat of the noonday sun. Despite being hired guns, we still had a sense of honor - these were bad folks, and we wern't stoppin' until we caught 'em. Suddenly, a flash of light and a ping as a shot ricocheted off a rock to the left. Before I could say anything our rifleman had returned fire and a body fell off a distant cliff. A scout meant we were still on their trail so we saddled up for another skirmish.
Mika Mobile (of Battleheart and Zombieville fame) has dipped their toe into the turn based strategy genre and the App Store is for the better. This game is truly Advanced Wars in the Old West, so if you love that classic series you can stop reading, plunk your $2.99 down on the bar and start playing. If you want to know more, read on.
At the beginning of Lost Frontier players choose a "Living Legend" (General) to lead their mercenary group (army). Each of the legends has a specific strength that will change your strategy slightly. Legends "level up" as you play and I suspect this is why you can't "switch" Legends "mid-stream" as a level one legend wouldn't be too great in Chapter 20. The game includes 24 chapters of story and there are an additional 20 "challenge levels" to test your skill that unlock after.
Play is typical turn based strategy. Each round the player moves or performs an action (like attack) for each of their units and then waits while the computer opponent does the same. To finish the level you need to eliminate all their units and still have at least one on the field. As you progress you get access to different units (cannons, Gatling guns) and the ability to recruit (build) new units during battle. All typical turn based strategy stuff, but it is polished and well implemented while giving off that retro vibe. Lost Frontier provides the perfect level of complexity for your pocket and you can consume it in "bite-sized chunks".
This game, with its classic mechanics and simple sprite designs, feels like it jumped right out of my Gameboy Advanced and onto my iPhone and I am completely OK with that. It amazes me that premium "pay-to-play" games on the App Store have to price ridiculously cheap to stay competitive, but that is the world we live in. Think about it - Lost Frontier costs significantly less than a Gameboy cartridge did in 1998. So... if you love the genre buy Mika Mobile a cup of coffee and add this one to your mobile game library.
Lost Frontier is a premium app with no timers or currency hi-jinx. The only in-app purchases are boosts to level legends to maximum without playing, so totally voluntary. It is currently exclusive to the Apple App Store and available for the fore mentioned $2.99.