There’s always home on my iPhone for a great asynchronous multiplayer game – they’re perfect for commutes and short breaks from work, giving the brain a little workout while the body takes a few minutes off. Outwitters (universal), the latest game from One Man Left – developers of Tilt to Live – is set to become my next big turn-based multiplayer addiction with its infectious blend of different board game elements, creating a whole new gaming experience.
In simple terms, Outwitters takes the strategic planning of a game like chess, where certain types of units have restrictions on movement and ability, and puts them on a grid akin to most tower defense games, with bases to protect and spawning areas to bring in more troops. The goal is to make your way to the opponent’s base and drain its 5HP before the same happens to you.
What makes the game so complex – and by association, super addictive – are the different units, whose strengths and weaknesses are balanced out really well, allowing for many unique formations and strategies to take part across the board. There are three different teams to choose from – two unlockable through IAP – and a number of different boards to play 1v1 and 2v2 matches, which is all online, and handled through Game Center.
Needless to say, a game like Outwitters will succeed or fail based on consumer response, and if enough people keep playing the game after the first influx of gamers when it releases. So far, I’ve started five ‘league’ placement games – used to test skill and place players in tiers to keep the competition fair – and have had solid progression in the games so far.
The games don’t appear to be super-drawn out (most will end in around 15-20 moves), but unfortunately, there isn’t a force quit option for players who abandon a game, so the notorious problem of unfinished games cluttering up the interface could become a problem in the future without adding a time limit to performing moves.
All in all, learning Outwitters (universal) really only takes a couple minutes – but like any good strategic game, learning and mastering are two completely different things, something Outwitters has a fantastic grasp on with its accessible mix of hardcore and casual gameplay elements. A fantastic multiplayer game for iOS devices, the latest in a string of asynchronous smash hits for the platform.