Developer: Astraware Limited
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.01.002
Device Reviewed On: iPad3, iPhone5, iPod5

Graphics/Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★
Playtime Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

It’s a Saturday night. A family sits in a busy, crowded restaurant. The children are antsy. It’s time to turn over the napkin and play some tic-tac-toe. Sound familiar? Pull out an iPhone or iPad instead and challenge the little squirts to a game or two of Mijnlieff (pronounced mine leaf). It’s engaging entertainment for the whole family. Easy to learn and quick to play, it will force minds to think more strategically and less hungrily.

photo-1Based on a physical board game by Jeff Hopwood of Hopwood Games, Mijnlieff is at once simple, yet layered. The concept is to get more lines of three than one’s opponent. Placing tiles, however, is not as elementary as placing an X or an O in tic-tac-toe. Each tile placed controls where the opposing player can make the next move.

There are four types of tiles: Straight, Diagonal, Puller, and Pusher. If one player places a Straight tile, the opposing player can only play on the squares straight across from that tile (whether it’s straight up, down, right, or left). If a player places Puller, the opponent can only play in the squares directly surrounding that tile. The Diagonal tile will only allow the player to place a tile on a square on a diagonal from it. The Pusher tile will block any squares directly around it, forcing the opponent to play on the squares farthest away from that tile.

On each players’ turn, the squares allowed for tile placement are lit; making it easy to make the next move. Well, easy to know where to move, but what move to make is a little bit stickier. Hence the challenge. Players must anticipate their opponent’s next move and proactively try to block them.

photo 4Play any of the in-game Vikings, or go “live” and challenge a random opponent or a Facebook or Game Center friend. Games are quick, so players can re-match to their heart’s content. Or, if they’re sitting at that table waiting for a meal, click the local game option and play against the person sitting next to them.

For the first games the board set-up is square, but it’s possible to unlock other board shapes by inviting friends to play. For those familiar with the physical game, shapes included with the app version are Slant, ZigZag, Tee, Cross, and Knight. When tiles are placed, a realistic wooden click is the only sound heard. No distracting music or comments. It’s a satisfying variation from other apps. The only complaint I have is that “Find my friends” does not always work on the iPad or iPhone. It gives me a “sync failed” error message. I didn’t seem to have any issues with the iPod though.

No matter, Mijnlieff is free and fun; two of my favorite words. So I’m in.

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

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