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    Frozen Synapse Prime: PS Vita

    You know the moment in every war movie when you’re watching the general relay a watertight plan to his troops, pointing at things on a map and using long words, and then in the next scene those troops are being absolutely torn to shreds? Frozen Synapse Prime is the game of that moment. One half meticulous military strategy sim set in an unfeeling future ruled by evil AI, one half realising you’re an abysmal military strategist.

    On PlayStation, only XCOM delivers something vaguely similar to this turn-based, squad-centric strategy. But where the former seeps you in story and emphasises consequences to your actions in the long term, Double Eleven’s handheld conversion of the 2011 PC smash is leaner, and to the point. Never has a game been more about clearing rooms of threats as clinically and efficiently as possible.

    The action within its many top down levels is slow paced but perpetually tense take away the time spent planning each move and a single mission would play out in 30 seconds flat. In reality you spend five minutes on every round, trying to second-guess enemy movements and flank them, ordering your handful of faceless operatives to crouch and scan an area, blowing away walls with RPGs so your sniper can get take some vital shots.

    It’s not all guesswork. You do have the option of playing out a simulation of your turn to iron out any obvious blunders, but those sims are based on your enemy’s last-know position. Maybe they've retreated… Or maybe they’re flanking you.

    You can really start to overthink, particularly in asynchronous multiplayer encounters. And somehow the game manages to make you feel like Sun Tzu and General Haig simultaneously. All your kills are well-earned triumphs of tactics; every death is as troubling as the first.

    PS Vita’s touch controls and UI are designed smartly enough to disappear from your conscious thought after a few matches, letting you focus on the important stuff. Which means this might even be the definitive version of a mighty turn-based hero.

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