I've been waiting for an Android game that gets touchscreen real-time strategy right for a long time. And I think I may have found it in Desert Stormfront, just posted to the Google Play Store by "Age of Conquest" developer Noble Master Games. It's an old-school, sprite-based strategy game in the vein of Command & Conquer or Age of Empires.

But instead of dumbing down the complexity for mobile users, the developers have adapted the mouse-and-keyboard controls for gaming on a touchscreen - though I have to admit it works much, much better on a tablet than on a smartphone. For example, the common unit groups used in PC RTS games (Control-1, et cetera) are adapted into on-screen buttons, and the screen-filling menus are now dynamic, appearing only when you need them.

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The bones of the RTS genre are all here: multiple, complementing units and buildings, resource gathering (from oilfields, appropriately enough), and map exploration with a "fog of war" element. Graphics are on par with the PC games that brought the genre to life in the 90s, though there's little to distinguish between the contemporary militaries of the US, UK, France, Italy, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Afghanistan. On the other hand, the music is surprisingly great for a mobile game - epic cinema-style background tracks will get you in the fightin' mood. The only thing I could find about the game that I didn't like in some initial testing was the very slow movement speed of the units. There's no game speed option - I checked.

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Still, for those who haven't been excited by recent strategy games like Total War Battles, Desert Stormfront looks like a promising return to strategy roots with an intuitive solution to the issue of touch control. The game itself is $4.99 (no ads or in-app purchases - yes!) but you can try out a free demo with the lite version, which includes the tutorial and a few campaign missions.

Oh, and by the way, this unfortunately-titled game has no connection with that other Stormfront. If you don't know what I'm getting at, treasure your ignorance.

Desert Stormfront - RTS
Desert Stormfront - RTS