Developer: SIS SOFTWARE
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad

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

If you’re of a certain age (an age which will remain unstated, for my own mental health if no one else’s) you fondly remember Pop-a-Matic boardgames, where the dice were enclosed in a little plastic bubble in the center of the board and you only had to press the bubble down to achieve a dice roll. The games, like Trouble for instance, were simple and easily learned, and keeping the dice enclosed in their little bubble insured at least some of the parts wouldn’t be lost when taking the game along for a trip.

Jump to 2010 and there is a surprising return of the Pop-a-Matic games of yore, this time on the iPad. Playing Ludo, a new game app on the iPad app store, I was immediately reminded of the many childhood hours I spent playing games like this. Unfortunately, what was fun as a child seems terribly boring today.

The basic mechanics of Ludo should be familiar to almost anyone who grew up playing boardgames. Like Trouble or Sorry, the object of the game is to get all of your colored pieces around the entire circuit of the board and into “home/safe positions” before the other three players. Landing on another player’s piece sends them back to the starting line. That’s pretty much it. Oh, I forgot to mention that you have to roll a six before you can even begin moving a piece around the board. The first time I played Ludo, I spent a good five minutes or more waiting for one of the players to roll a six. What fun, huh?

Graphically, the game is straightforward and simple. Don’t look for any flashy animations, though the piece movements look and feel like an analogue boardgame. Likewise, the sound is pedantic and utilitarian at best. There’s little to no real style apparent in the game. It’s a very basic translation of a very basic game, and as such it’s difficult to recommend.

Ludo can be played by four human opponents on one iPad, so I suppose this could be played with younger children on a trip, but it probably won’t occupy them for long. There is the option to play against computer opponents, but with a game as basic as this there is little appeal in playing against AI.

Even at the low price point of $1.99, I think users should demand more from an app. I understand that the game mechanics are what they are – there’s little changing that – but it’s the little touches that could make a real difference here. As it stands, Ludo is a game that just doesn’t pop like it ought to.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, Reviews

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