Developer: Playdek, Inc
Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Fluxx is one of those card games that someone can bring out at a party/gathering and no one would contest playing. It’s always a good time and easily accessible for just about anybody. When I saw that an iOS version had been released I was understandably excited, of course. Unfortunately, while this mobile version doesn’t quite measure up to the original it does a good job of bringing all the chaos to a new audience.

Even for the unfamiliar, Fluxx is an incredibly easy game to play: draw a card, play a card. At least at first. It’s in the playing of said cards that things begin to get a little more complex. Different kinds of cards do different things to the game; Keepers sit around looking pretty, Actions mix things up a bit with hand stealing and the like, Rule cards change the rules and are stackable – it’s entirely possible to go from “Draw 1, Play 1” to “Draw 2, Play 3, Draw 3 if you have an empty hand, Keeper Limit 3” within a few minutes – and Goals decide what conditions are needed for victory. It’s quite literally impossible to estimate how long a game will take as they can range from 30 seconds to 30 minutes or more.

The general nature of Fluxx means that this iOS rendition is all kinds of chaotic awesome. Online and offline modes are available and allow players to compete against others from around the world or AI opponents respectively. Due to the random nature of the rules neither choice feels necessarily superior to the other, thankfully. I also have to say it’s nice to have some of the perks that typically come with digital versions of analog games; namely all the little details are tracked by the software so there are no arguments over rules and the like.

One major problem any non-physical game of Fluxx is bound to have is the lack of all the fun and humor that accompanies playing with a group of friends while sitting around a table. It’s an understandable and unavoidable issue. A less understandable and totally avoidable issue is the almost excruciating pace of it all. Whether it’s the AI in a solo game or a recap of another player’s turn, having to sit there and watch the cards eeeeeeeveeeeeerrrrrrr soooooooooo slooooooooooowlyyyyyyyyyy make their way to the play fields and discard pile is downright boring. I can only hope there might be a way to speed things up after an update or two.

I’m finding Fluxx to be somewhat of a tricky recommendation. Not because it’s bad, but because it doesn’t really capture the manic nature of the original game. Sure the rules are always changing but without all the “I WAS SO CLOSE!!!” and “HA!” moments it feels kind of flat. Having to agonize over every other player’s turn doesn’t help, either.

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