Mobile Battles: Reign of Swords is a fun mash up of two game series you may have played on your Game Boy Advances (all the time): Nintendo's Advance Wars and Fire Emblem.

Set in medieval times, Reign of Swords has all the paladins, archers, swordsmen, and medieval settings required for a fun Fire Emblem game, but the gameplay is less reliant on role-playing elements than the strategy RPG series. Instead, the gameplay in Reign more closely follows Nintendo's Wars series, which pits entire armies of units against one another. On the other hand, the linear story and overworld map again evoke memories Emblem; however, the "bid for power" level style is a nod to Wars. Reign of Swords is a friendly nod to both of these series.

However, it doesn't just retread the past; Reign takes a strong step forward in customization. As you progress through the campaign, you earn new upgrades for your paladins, cavalry, spearmen, knights, and other units, which come in handy at the beginning of each round, where you get lots of cash and must use it to purchase and place your army from scratch. And I am serious: from scratch. You do have to stay in your "zone" of the field (it wouldn't be a fun fight if you got to place your paladins right near some poor archers), but other than that, how you spend your money, how many units you place, and where you place them is entirely up to you.

I tend to play conservatively. My team can be found all huddled together, like a group of cub scouts when they see a pretty girl. Though I would recommend a more 'balls-out' approach, with your catapult and infantry out front: it's a better strategy. For you lazies out there, there is an option to auto-place your army, but I'd be disappointed if you did.

However, Reign's online multiplayer is where it really shines on its own. Though it already has a 50-mission single-player campaign and pass & play multiplayer, developer Punch Ent. added a robust online mode to the mix. Unfortunately, you do have to create an online account to save your stats. It doesn't take long, but it's still a hassle to re-enter the name and password each time. You can face off with friends in 30+ different battle types—from standard brawls to fortress sieges—and use your winnings to purchase faster and stronger units to help fight your next opponent.

Online battles operate like a simplified version of the single-player campaign. You do all the prep work, set up your field for battle, and then hit 'send.' Magic computers in outer space use "AI" to calculate whether your placement will get the better of your opponent, and wins and losses are doled out. The lack of actual in-battle strategic control is alarming at first, but it is eventually replaced by the added depth that unit placement brings forth. At the end of a match, you also get a glimpse into where your strategy faltered—a helpful feature.

So where can you find this game, exactly? Well, not on any console. Reign of Swords is built from the ground up for mobile phones. If you use Verizon Wireless or AT&T, you can download it right now by browsing the "get new games" category right on your device. There is also a semi-free PC version of the game. Check it out at

Though it's for mobile, a medium where one-button play is king, Reign retains all its genre's fundamentals. When you first see that big red arrow showing you where you can move your units, you'll feel right at home.