Totems puts a simpler spin on the classic Risk (or Galcon Fusion) style of strategy game. Handing you a fistful of animal totems and placing you on a map, it's your job to outwit your opponent as you take turns dropping pieces on the board, claiming territories and fighting for control over the largest chunk of land.
A map fills most of the screen, with various animal totems lining up in a row at the bottom. Drag and drop pieces onto the map to claim chunks of land. Occupied territory displays the color of the player that captured it along with the type of animal used in the process. When a new totem is placed, like animals will capture like, meaning you can score whole swaths of lion land, for example, if you put a lion token next to sections previously captured by a lion.
The strategy in Totems comes out of careful placement of your totem types, making sure not to use your allotment of a certain animal lest you find yourself in a bind. Whoever has the most land at the end of the round wins. You can set up multiplayer games locally, with friends, or online with random players, and each time you begin a game you get to pick your opponents and the map you play. It's all very straightforward and easy to get into.
The gameplay in Totems is less numbers-heavy than Risk, focusing on animal types and turn priority instead of raw manpower. This makes the experience a little more luck-oriented than tactical, but it also lightens things up for a nice casual feel. Good computer AI, gorgeous artwork and sound effects, and lots of multiplayer options make this a great choice for a solid mobile strategy game!
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad 3. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.