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Cramming A Giant PC Genre Onto a Tiny iPhone Can Work, You Know

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There are few more "PC" genres than 4X. So named because they generally involve asking players to "explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate", they're normally set in space, and have so many buttons and menus that you can only really play them on the PC.

So when I sat down to play Sidius Nova this morning, I was expecting the worst. Because it's a 4X game for the iPhone.


Yet an hour later, late for work and having skipped breakfast, I realised they might actually be onto something. Instead of trying to replicate the complexity of the kind of 4X game you find on a PC, Sidius Nova takes the barest bones of the premise, gives them a moody soundtrack and great Homeworld-esque art style, and... that's about it. You tap a screen to move a mothership around space exploring systems, you tap another button to build fighters, you get credits at the end of every turn with which to buy more fighters, then you do battle on a 2D screen where you send those fighters to their deaths in lanes, ala Plants vs Zombies. There's also some research to unlock more/better gear and craft.

That's it. If, say, Masters of Orion is a roast chicken dinner, this is a drumstick. But it's still chicken!


It's simple, then, but it had the same "one more turn oh god one more turn" hook that its grander siblings on the PC have. Plus, I really like the art, something I don't think I've ever said about a 4X game before. Best part is the game's free. Completely free. While there may be some pay-to-upgrade-faster stuff brought in down the line, every aspect at the moment is free, so even if you're only half on the fence about the idea of something so stripped down, it's worth a look.

Sidius Nova [App Store]