Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad
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I'm not sure how familiar most people are with the game carrom, but it was frequently played in my home when I was a kid. My family would sit around the kitchen table for hours, our index fingers throbbing with pain (we knew nothing of repetitive stress injuries back then), trying to flick disks into one of the four corner pockets on the board. It was my earliest attempt at playing a true dexterity-based game, and I was hooked.
Now, over 30 years later, carrom has returned to my life in the form of Carrom 3D for the iPad. It's a nicely designed little game, and it definitely shows promise, but the developers have a way to go to capture the true feel of a game that relies on manual dexterity so prominently.
For those who are unfamiliar with the game carrom, it's an easy game to explain. Using a large, square wooden board with pockets at each corner, players take turn flicking disks at a group of disks in the center, in the hope of "pocketing" some of those disks for points. That's about it. But like pool, carrom is a game that requires an intuitive sense of geometry, not to mention durable fingers. After reading that description, it should be obvious why carrom would make a great iPad game: a classic dexterity game plus a touch sensitive screen equals gaming nirvana, right? This is a no-brainer, so much so that I wonder why more traditional dexterity games have not made the transition to the iPad.
Unfortunately, many of my hopes for this game were dashed when I started playing it. First and foremost among the disappointments is the fact that you cannot actually flick your pieces across the board. Instead, you must use (for lack of a better term) a "power meter" to control the strength of your move and to execute it. This takes the fun out of carrom, so it's my hope that the developers quickly remedy what can only be called a serious flaw.
If played against human opponents, options are also limited. There's no online play support (maybe in a forthcoming update?) and playing against local players requires passing the iPad back and forth. There's also no AI for a single player to play against, only puzzle-like Challenges and a Time Trial mode.
There's a potentially great game at the core of Carrom 3D. The graphics are quite nice and the board is well rendered and manipulated. But until the basic flicking mechanic is addressed, it's best to pass on this one.