Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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Board games are a pretty good usage of all of the strenghts of mobile devices; a nice, portable, light weight device with a touch screen in which anyone can do almost anything. That anything, of course, includes gaming. Board games are especially great for mobile devices because they are something that one can play at their own pace, doesn't require one's immediate attention, and is overall a casual and fun experience.
Mindware, a company who produces educational toys and games aimed at children, is probably best known for their board game Qwirkle, which is now available on iOS. Qwirkle is an amalgamation of Scrabble, Uno, and Dominoes. The point of this game is to match like shapes and/or colors onto a playing surface. The more of a like shape or color players have in a given row, the more points they score. A row of 6 is scored as a Qwirkle, and no more blocks can be placed in that row. It's very easy to pick up, and while aimed at kids, it's really fun for all ages.
The iOS version of Qwirkle is exactly like the real world thing. Two or more players, whether they be human or the AI, face off in a field of onions to be the supreme shape/color matcher. Like many games in this genre there is the option for local multiplayer as well as online play. Qwirkle also allows for full customization of one's game; including rule changes and letting players change the colors that are playable.
Qwirkle also contains some little things that make it easy to learn while seeming more life like. Unlike games such as Monopoly or Mr. Ludo on iOS, Qwirkle doesn't contain any animations outside of the Qwirkle display when players score a line of 6 like tiles. This title also allows players to change the camera angle, zoom in and out, and really get different looks of the playing area, though it isn't terribly complex to the point where many users will use that feature. Still, it's nice to know the developers threw that in there instead of presenting a super-vanilla experience to users.
An award winning game that was originally aimed at children, Qwirkle is a game anyone, ages from 3 to 300, can enjoy. Players won't need a Scrabble cheat to beat their friends, and nor will this game move so fast that they have to give it 100% of their attention. Qwirkle is am amazing casual experience, though it's so much fun it will be hard to put it down. Anyone who is a fan of such games like Scrabble, Uno, Dominos, or any other tile-placing games will certainly get a kick out of this simple but ridiculously fun title with a silly name.