Kahuna is a tactical, one-on-one board game about controlling island territories. The physical boxed set, originally published in 1998 and still available today, doesn’t look like much – a modest deck of cards, a few plastic pieces, and a minimalistic game board. But what initially appears to be a simple game of token placement quickly reveals itself as a meditative test of strategy. USM’s universal iOS version of Kahuna not only capitalizes on this clever design, but also adds a distinctive thematic flavor to the experience.
Crossovers aren't all that uncommon in video games, but they're rarely as satisfying as we want them to be. Sure, it's fun to see Iron Man tussle with Street Fighter's Chun-Li, or watch Mario trade blows with Sonic the Hedgehog, but what would happen if characters from disparate realities just sat down and, y'know, talked? The Poker Night games might be the only ones to answer this question, and the second one has made a pretty slick transition to iOS.
While Gameloft's past Order & Chaos games had players fighting off monsters in massively multiplayer online battles (Order & Chaos Online) or defending their bases in multiplayer online battle arena matches (Heroes of Order & Chaos), the new Order & Chaos Duels turns combat into a strategic game of cards. Featuring all of the lore and fantasy the franchise is known for, Duels offers plenty of rich card-dueling action, but is marred by a freemium structure that makes for a frustrating deck-building experience.
Card battling warfare and real-time tower defense make for a surprisingly great mash-up, but it's the hilariously gruesome moment where Alexandria Bloodshow's stylized Egyptian and Greek warriors start disemboweling one another on-screen in sprays of gore and flying appendages that sticks in my mind. This addictive sequel to Samurai Bloodshow certainly doesn't skimp on the over-the-top gore, though it's the underlying strategy of collecting cards and playing them to deploy units onto the battlefield at just the right moment that held me glued to the screen.