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Battle of Puppets brings the fight to the marionette stage


Battle of Puppets fell through the cracks here when it was first released, and that was unfortunate -- it's a 2D real-time strategy game for the iPhone with a distinctive art style and a plethora of cool features that definitely deserves a look. The team has been updating the app often, and the latest update not only adds in achievements and leaderboards via the OpenFeint platform, but also has dropped the price to just 99 cents for a limited time.

The game has a surprising amount of strategic depth -- more than you'd expect for an iPhone title. There are five different armies (each one representing an "opera" theme), each with its own strengths and weaknesses, and the little unit battles play out over 22 different theaters, where various environmental changes can actually affect the strategy of the game. And in addition to commanding your puppet troops, you can "cast spells" on the screen with gesture input, which will also affect the flow of battle. It's almost too much to handle on the iPhone's small screen, but the developers have added in a tutorial that should help you figure it out.

At 99 cents, Battle of Puppets is a steal. More casual game players might get a little dragged down by the complexity, but those looking for strategy will find it underneath the cutout art designs. And if they continue to update the app at the rate they have so far, there'll be even more coming in the future.

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