This is my first time reviewing a game on Steam, but I think this is the right game to review as I enjoy it so much. I was first exposed to this game through the iPad. I was looking around online for a competitive turn-based strategy game, one that would be fast-paced yet satisfying. Different names came up across the Web, but Frozen Synapse was consistently showing up throughout forums and blogs. I decided to give it a go.
At first, being that it was my first time ever being exposed to a simultaneous TBS, it took a little getting used to the concept. But that was accomplished after the first mission in the campaign. The trickier parts are predicting who wins a gun-fight in a given scenario and understanding all the orders you can give and when. These come with continuous exposure and practice.
The game definitely requires strategy and good planning, but it also allows for randomness to affect a match at times, such as when neither you nor your opponent know where the other is. The learning curve isn't anywhere near as steep as for other strategy or tactical games, which means you'll probably get the hang of it after the first couple of missions in campaign or matches online. Because each round online lasts a few seconds, you don't have to worry about wasting action points (there are none), rather, you get freedom to give as many orders to your units as you feel necessary to keep them safe and to ensure they are always in an advantageous position. And because there are only a few units in the game and you don't really need to worry about stats, everyone knows what to expect from the enemy in terms of units and capabilities.
The campaign mode seems legit. I played about 7 missions perhaps, give or take, and they vary from simple to challenging. The online mode, though, is where it's at. There are many game modes in online, from a simple team death match to hostage rescuing scenarios. It seems there's always someone to play against, and you and the other player can decide how fast-paced the game should be. I once played a match that lasted only a few minutes when we were both online and another time I matched with someone and we took almost a week to finish the match. You get notifications when it's your turn to make a move. And you can start a match on your iPad and finish it on your computer or vice versa. The only downside is that your progress on your PC or iPad for the campaign stays put - that doesn't transfer.
To summarize, the game is easy to get into, very addictive, requires strategy but leaves a little room for luck, has an excellent multiplayer system with diverse scenarios/modes, the gameplay can be rather fast, and it allows you to play between devices. Obviously I recommend this game to anyone who is even slightly inclined to tactical sorts of games.