Developer: Electronic Arts
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.2.8

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

IMG_0756Connect 4 is a classic board game with a very simple concept. Two players stack chips in a 7×6 grid until one of them can get four in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Just about everyone’s played this version of tic-tac-toe on steroids at some point, and now you can play it on the go thanks to Hasbro and EA. The problem is, Connect 4 isn’t much of a long-player. The core gameplay just isn’t very stimulating, and the handful of bells and whistles included does little to change that.

The graphics in Connect 4 are serviceable, in a very bright and cheerful way. Every round starts with a virtual unboxing of the game, which you’ll promptly skip after the first couple of times. You choose between yellow or red chips, and then flip a chip to get started. The classic mode of Connect 4 is available, where you just keep playing rounds of the basic game until you feel like stopping. The score is kept in terms of rounds won, and you can choose between Easy, Medium, or Expert difficulty.

IMG_0769Luckily, there are 4 Advanced Modes available to spice things up just a bit. Pop Out mode is the same as Classic, with the added ability to remove one of your chips from the bottom row on any given turn. Max Score and Power Chips modes mix things up some more by first introducing a timer that defaults at 3 minutes, as well as only giving you a short time to complete each move. Max Score awards you points for every chip you clear in a line, and the game continues by shifting the remaining chips down accordingly. Power Chips uses the same core principles, but also introduces 5 types of randomly-dispensed, special chips to your arsenal that do things such as double your score, blow up surrounding chips, move the row down by one chip, etc. Challenge mode is perhaps the most interesting addition, giving you 16 quick scenarios to play through including a pretty lame coin-toss style mini-game.

Multiplayer is available for all of the available game types except Challenge mode. This includes pass & play, WiFi, and bluetooth. You can also earn 25 achievements while playing, and the game keeps track of a variety of statistics. Missing is the ability to change the size of the board, as well as a nostalgic lever to swipe and empty out the chips. Some sort of story mode could have been nice a nice addition as well, with a variety of challengers and rule-sets along the way, not to mention the potential for some less generic artwork.

Although every aspect of Connect 4 is fairly solid, nothing really stands out. There’s nothing wrong with the game per se, but it doesn’t succeed in elevating the excitement and fun factor past the humble concept. In the world of politics, the phrase lipstick on a pig might be used for a situation like this. Connect 4 is presentable, but not very memorable or compelling, especially for the $2.99 asking price.

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