Lost Frontier ($2.99) by Mika Mobile, Inc. is a turn-based strategy game that is in the likes of Advance Wars and Fire Emblem. If you’re a fan of strategy and enjoyed Mika Mobile’s other titles, which include the Battleheart and Zombieville series of games, then this is a top tier game for your collection.
Strategy games are fairly popular with gamers, and while I’m not the best at them (in fact, I’m rather terrible I think), I still enjoy them because at the end of the day, they provide some good storylines and the gameplay is fun. Two of the most popular franchises that I know of for top-down map strategy is Advance Wars and Fire Emblem. I never got into the Advance Wars games, but I have dabbled with several Fire Emblem titles, which I found to be great, despite my lack of skill (I can never survive Hard mode). Several years ago, I poured hours and hours into the original Battleheart, which was an RPG (more my forte) with some light strategy elements in it. Ever since then, I’ve been a big fan of Mika Mobile since then, so when I heard of Lost Frontier several months ago, I had to check it out anyway. Who can resist a new game from Mika Mobile? Certainly not me.
In terms of visuals, Lost Frontier reminds me a lot of the original Battleheart, and even the Zombieville games that I didn’t fully get into. It has a cute little cartoon art style that Mika Mobile is known for, and the details of the Wild West environments are rather detailed for their toon-like nature. The colors used in the game are rich and vibrant, and all text is easy-to-read so you aren’t struggling to know what’s going on, especially on larger screens. Animations in Lost Frontier are buttery smooth, and I experienced zero lag on my iPhone 6s Plus. To top off the Wild West theme, the game features a rather soothing guitar tune in the background, making you feel like you’re out in the American Old West with a splash of fantasy. So in terms of visuals and audio, Mika Mobile has once again nailed it.
There are three different modes available in Lost Frontier: Story, Challenge Maps, and Custom Game. However, everyone will need to start with Story Mode, since the other two are unlocked as you make progress in the game. You also start off with three different “Living Legends,” who are the leaders of your forces. Each one has their own unique play style and will bring out the best potential in the units you choose to play with.
While you start out with three, there are nine of them, so the last six you’ll have to unlock. There are also 20 different unit types that you can recruit on the battlefield, though like everything else, you have to discover them all and unlock them to use. Each unit has their own strengths and weaknesses, such as close-range Gunslingers, sniping Riflemen, Cannons, Zeppelins, and even Werewolves and Necromancers at some point.
As you start off with Story Mode, you’ll get to choose which Legend you want to play as, and they will level up as you complete missions. You can choose any Legend before diving in, though you probably should replay old maps to level up the Legends you haven’t used before. When Legends level up, they will gain more properties that boost your team, such as more health or increased damage. You can also earn up to three stars on each map as you complete objectives, which is a great and challenging addition for the perfectionists out there.
If you’ve played Advance Wars or Fire Emblem, then you should know how the gameplay works. Each level features a different grid map layout that has advantageous or disadvantageous terrain, saloons to capture for unit recruitment, and enemies to fight. Both you and the enemy AI take turns moving your units around, which is done by tapping-to-select the unit you want, then moving it to another square in the allowed range (blue), and then attacking a target (red square), healing (green square) or waiting. Each unit type will have its own limitations, which include movement and attack range, whether it can move and attack in the same turn, able to counter attack, and more. You’ll also be able to see the health bar of your units when they’re attacking or are attacked by enemy units.
One important thing to note about counter-attacking is that not every unit is capable of doing so. Gunslingers, since they are close combat, are able to counter attack, but ranged units like the Rifleman are not. Also, counter attacks don’t do the full amount of damage that the unit is capable of dishing out since wounded units deal less damage.
Once you have taken action on all of your units for your turn, you can manually end it by tapping on the menu button in the top right corner and then choosing “End Turn.” The reason for not auto-ending is due to the fact that you can recruit more units at any moment during your turn, so this gives you the opportunity to scout out the map and see if you need more backup. You have other options in this menu as well, such as “Save and Exit” if you don’t have any more time to complete a stage, or you can “Surrender” if you know that you’ve been defeated.
Another important key to success in Lost Frontier is the fact that you need to capture saloons and other buildings to recruit more units during battle. To capture a saloon, you have to have your units attack the building until it’s depleted of hit points. New recruits cost money, which you gain at the beginning of each turn (depending on how many units have survived so far and how many saloons you’ve captured). If you lose your Legendary unit, you’ll have to recruit him again, which can be rather expensive, so make sure to keep him alive — other units are cheaper, and you want to make sure to have that Legendary boost power.
It’s highly recommended that you go through Story Mode first before taking on Challenge Maps, though, since those feature enemies that are at max level and have all bonuses and perks unlocked, though you are able to recruit any unit type in the game. There’s no hand-holding in Challenge Mode, so it’s not for the feint of heart. Custom Game lets you play head-to-head with a friend on one device, which is great for some healthy competition. Unfortunately, there is no online multiplayer, though maybe the developers can consider that for the future.
I am not too far into Lost Frontier, but it’s definitely one of my top game picks for the week. The graphics are in line with the standard Mika Mobile style, which is awesome, and the music make you feel like you’re in with all of the action. The storyline is pretty interesting so far, and the gameplay itself is rather difficult and challenging, so I’m sure that it will appeal to all strategy game fans. The variety of maps, modes, Legends, and unit types creates something amazing, especially when you get to the fantasy elements later on. I just hope that Mika Mobile can consider implementing some kind of online multiplayer mode as well as the local version, because I think that would add another layer of excitement to it all.
All-in-all, I highly recommend Lost Frontier, especially if you enjoy the Wild West fantasy theme, strategy games, or just Mika Mobile in general. Lost Frontier is available on the App Store as a universal download for $2.99.