Frozen Synapse by Mode 7 icon

Frozen Synapse ($6.99) by Mode 7 is a turn-based strategy game for the iPad where player’s actions are triggered simultaneously. Use your tactical training to bring down enemy forces and save the world. Be prepared for a lot of battle scars because in this game, no one comes out alive.

Frozen Synapse by Mode 7 screenshot

Players control a team of soldiers with machine guns, shotguns, and sniper rifles. Plan your moves in 5 second intervals and try to kill the enemy before he has a chance to kill you.

To move your soldiers, tap one and then set a waypoint. The game will automatically plot the best way to get to the designated spot. Along the way, your soldier will shoot at any enemy within range.

In addition to moving to waypoints, you can give your soldier a specific order. If you want him to move fast, pick the spot where you want him to start running and tap “Stand.” If you think he might end up in the line of fire, tap “Duck” to have him get down. You can also stack orders. For example, you can command a soldier to run, and then duck for cover.

There are additional orders that will help you make the most out of your soldiers’ abilities. There is a long list of tutorial videos to watch, but you can definitely make it through the first few levels with just the basics.

When you first open the app, you’ll be asked to create an account. This is so you can connect with other players in online multiplayer mode. You can be teamed up against a random player in an action-packed battle of tactical skills.

Although this game is turn-based, your actions take place simultaneously. So, if you think you were lining up the perfect shot against an enemy, you may have lost the prime positioning when your opponent moved the soldier to anther room. Plus, if you don’t watch out, you may get shot from behind.

You can also play skirmishes, which are mini battles that take place in one room. There are no follow up missions. It is a way for players to practice their strategy skills with randomly generated enemy attack patterns.

This game is very difficult to understand at first. I highly recommend watching the tutorial videos and then starting a campaign. There is no tutorial level, just a series of videos that explain how to do things. I actually had to watch most of them twice before some advanced orders made sense. Once I understood the goal of each level and the basic movements, I was able to play through some of the campaigns successfully.

Currently, multiplayer mode is in bad shape. I was constantly kicked off of the server and had to log back in. Eventually, I wasn’t even able to log back in, so I switched back to offline campaign mode. Presumably, the development company is just having a difficult time keeping the servers up with the demand for the game. Since Frozen Synapse was given Apple’s Editor’s Choice award, the game’s popularity has skyrocketed.

Frozen Synapse by Mode 7 screenshot

Even though the game is really difficult to figure out at first, it becomes easier after watching the tutorial videos and playing Campaign mode. If you like strategy games, you will be able to figure this out with some patience. There is an issue that prevents players from being able to enjoy multiplayer mode, but that will probably be fixed soon since it is likely just an overabundance of online players right now. The game weighs in at a hefty $6.99. It is too expensive for my blood. However, fans of challenging strategy based tactical military games will find the price to be worth it for the entertainment you get in return.