Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
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Word games are almost universally enjoyed by the iOS community and there are countless word games in the app store that challenge player's wits and language skills by having them arrange or rearrange random letters into the longest most complicated word possible. The touch controls on iOS devices also make them a popular platform for digitized versions of popular board games. Quarrel takes what makes both of these genres so popular and combines them to create an extremely compelling game that engages players on multiple levels and keep them coming back for more.
At it's heart, Quarrel is a word game where players take sets of eight random letters with point values and try to arrange them to make the word with the highest score possible. This wordplay is then wrapped up in the trappings of the classic board game, Risk, where players vie for control of predefined territories on a game map by strategically moving and reenforcing armies. Quarrel presents the player with a game map that is split up into territories. The player must strategically move their units to gain control of all the territories on the map. To take a territory from an opponent, the player can attack that territory from an adjacent territory that contains the player's units. In the board game Risk, the number of units in each territory determine how many dice each player will roll and the highest numbers rolled win the battle. In Quarrel, the number of units on each territory determine how many letters the player can use to form a word from a group of eight letters. For example: If the player has four units on their territory and the opponent they are attacking has seven units in its territory, then the player can only use four of the eight random letters to form a word while the opponent can use up to seven of the eight letters to form a longer word (likely worth more points). Both the player and the opponent use the same letters in each battle and whichever one creates the word with the highest score wins the battle and gains or retains control of the attacked territory. Ties go to whomever was fastest at forming a word.
Players must move their units and attack their opponents strategically, and each of the game's 12 different maps present a different strategic challenge. An eye for strategy and a mind like a dictionary will both aide players in this game. The game is won by taking control of all of the map's territories and removing all of the opponent's (there can be up to 3 opponents in each game, not including the player) units from the map.
This game is absolutely fabulous and super fun to play. There are some issues with the touch detection which can make it hard to touch and select letters quickly. This can be very frustrating because being the fastest to create a word is a huge advantage in this game. The most disappointing aspect of Quarrel, however, is the unfortunate lack of any kind of multiplayer component. There are several different game types, daily challenges, and even nine different AI opponents to battle but this game would be at it's best when playing with other live players. Hopefully this feature will be included in a future release.
Even without a multiplayer mode, Quarrel is a phenomenal game. Frustrations aside, it is so enjoyable and very hard to put down. Strategy and word game fans will both find things to love about this game and players that enjoy both genres will be in heaven.