Maybe it’s because I’m getting older or maybe it’s just that I find myself with less time or patience to devote to them, but I find I’m playing less ‘Campaign’ games than I used to.
A quick browse of my gaming history on the Xbox 360 this year (cos God knows I don’t use my PS3 anymore) shows that throughout 2012, the only two single player campaign games I’ve played through to the end have been Saints Row 3 – which was excellent – and Modern Warfare 3.
My gaming habits seem to have moved more towards pick-up-and-play games. Online shooters, sports games, puzzle games or ones like Pinball FX, Geometry Wars and Worms that you can have a quick go on without feeling like you have to ‘get into it’.
I also find I like games that exercise my mind; stuff like Sudoku or Words With Friends.
And one of my favourite games from that genre is Quarrel, a game I just found out today is made a mere matter of miles from my house.
What Is It?
Think Scrabble Meets Risk.
You must try to take control of a map like in Risk, but rather than rolling dice, you have to come up with a higher scoring word than your opponent from the letters given to you. The idea is that if you have 4 men in your territory and you attack an opponent with
5 in his territory, you must come up with a higher scoring word with one less letter; 4 instead of 5.
The maximum size of word is 8 letters, and the 8 word tiles will always make an anagram.
In each turn there is a time-limit and you are given three chances to get a correct word. In the event of a tied score, the fastest answerer wins.
It’s a clever concept and it works well.
As you play through the game – which has a few different modes that are a variation on the same basic theme detailed above – you come up against opponents of increasing difficulty, so even the most talented word-smiths will be given a challenge.
The game is presented well in bright, colourful cartoon settings and its very quick to learn.
The beauty of Quarrel is that it’s available on both iOS and Xbox Live platforms too, which means you can play it at home on your big screen or on the move on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.
It’s priced very competitively, costing only a couple of pounds for whatever platform you want to play it on, and for a game as engaging and fun as this, that’s a bargain and a half.
But there is a problem with it unfortunately.
You’ll know from my last review – the great Hidden in Plain Sight – that I’m a big fan of multiplayer gaming. I like to be able to play games against my friends.
And you’d think that a game based on a premise like this would have that, but sadly it doesn’t. At least it doesn’t on the iOS platform.
So if I want to play a game against a stranger on Xbox Live, I can, but if I want to play a game against someone in the same house as me, it’s just not possible.
Now obviously, local multiplayer wouldn’t be possible on the Xbox version because you’d see each other’s words, but the potential fun of playing against your friends on iOS is massive, and sadly unavailable. I’d love to play against my brother, but I just can’t.
And I know; I understand the costs involved in making a game like this playable online, and I know that for a small publishing house in Dundee it might not be viable, but it’s still disappointing and ultimately means this game is simply not as good as it could be.
The other issue – small as it is – is that after a while, watching the introductions to new games and being unable to skip them can be a little bit frustrating.
But those are forgivable considering the utility I’ve got from this game in comparison to how much it cost.
It’s a great game that exercises your mind and looks very eye-catching.
The lack of online multiplayer over iOS is an issue that I’m sure many people would love to be resolved, but that notwithstanding, Quarrel is a excellent value for money, and worth picking up if you have any of the platforms it’s available for.