Developer: Real Fun Art
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.41
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

While physical board games are bordering on a thing of the past, Jamzu proves that there’s still plenty of life left when you put the board game concept on the iPhone. The game is a breath of fresh air and will likely be greatly enjoyed by those looking for a deep, competitive title.

The game is played with two players (either two humans or a human vs the CPU) on a chess-style board. Each player is given six “runners” which must be moved in a straight line from one side of the board to another. Also positioned on the board are twelve “jammers,” which move diagonally and primarily serve to block runners from making it to their goal. Players take turns rolling a die and then moving either a runner or jammer the prescribed number of spaces. First one to clear all their runners off the board wins.

The concept is simple, but the strategy behind the game is anything but. Players must carefully weigh their options on every move and decide whether to move an open runner for the goal, clear a jammer out of their way or place a jammer in the path of their opponent. The game requires a lot of lateral thinking and some serious strategy, and the fact that players are rolling dice each turn adds a substantial degree of chance and luck.

It’s likely newcomers will find Jamzu overwhelming, a fact which is only exacerbated by the long, dry and completely non-interactive tutorial. While the concepts of the game are simple enough, figuring out how to most effectively move pieces and where on the board to focus can prove exceptionally challenging. Thankfully, the game employs a hint mode which allows players to roll and then see the most effective move every turn while they learn. Even so, Jamzu may ultimately prove too complex for many, but strategic board gamers who are tired of playing Chess will have a blast.

They say there are no new ideas anymore, but Jamzu blows that notion completely out of the water. With elements of Chess, Checkers and Backgammon all coming together to create something entirely unique, Jamzu is a treat for anyone who can reach the “aha” moment and learn to play effectively.

Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , ,