Developer: iPhone Clan
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Ah, Reversi. I’ve long been addicted to this game in both its physical board game (Othello) and digital iterations for years. I even have it installed on my TI-89. (Yes, I know, I’m a dork. Moving on.) Reversi is an easygoing strategy game, but it’s most fun when played against a real person—not a computer AI—and fans of the game will be thrilled to see iPhone Clan’s online version. Oh, and if you read through to the end of this review, we’ve got a nice little surprise for one of you.

If you’ve never played before, there are a few free apps you can try out, and Reversi is an easy game to learn. Be warned, though: there is more strategy here than you’d think! Reversi is a two-player duel for control of an 8×8 grid. One player is black, and the other is white; the goal is to turn as many chips as possible to your color. To do this, you have to form lines with your chips by flanking a line of your opponent’s pieces. For example, if you’re black, tacking on a chip to the string B-W-W-W would flip those three whites to black. You can play a row, column, or a diagonal, and try not to give up the corners, because they’re the most valuable of all.

Reversi Online Tournament (Reversi OT from here on out) is a highly polished port of the classic game, and it makes online play simple and fun. And there are a ton of features: a ranking system, chat, multiple rooms, timed games, and the opportunity to observe others, to name a few. While the player pool is currently small, I can usually find an opponent within a few seconds, even if they’re the only one loitering in a room; the longest I’ve had to wait was two minutes or so. Creating an account is quick and simple, and the app remembers you for next time. You can even juggle multiple identities.

iPhone Clan’s Reversi OT is probably the most polished Reversi game that I’ve ever played. The presentation is better than any I’ve ever seen, real-life or digital. Great graphics, a few nice sound effects, good animations, and a solid backbone make this a near-flawless execution of an already-awesome classic. The online play is well thought out and includes most things you could ask for. The Elo ranking system lets you pick players of your own skill level, and you can demand revenge against your opponent at the end of a game. Statistics are available for each player, as well as a list of the current top ten. Most of the players are polite, and the unpredictability of playing a human versus playing a pre-programmed computer is why Reversi is fun in the first place.

There’s not much wrong with Reversi OT. One odd quirk is the inability to switch between rooms without restarting the app, but the devs say that that’s an intentional feature, to keep people from leaving games and sneaking off into a different room and to reduce server stress. Other than that, I really can’t find anything to complain about. Having a built-in AI for single-player would be nice, but Reversi OT is firmly an online-only app, and honestly, I get bored with AIs.

If you’re a fan of Reversi, this is an amazing offering, so what are you waiting for? I grabbed it on a twenty-four-hour “sale” (it was free!) but it’s still a steal at a buck. And if you’ve never played Reversi before, well, maybe you should start. It’s a deep, consistently challenging game, but easy to learn, and iPhone Clan’s version slaughters all of its opposition in terms of beauty, functionality, and execution.

Oh, and by the way, we’ve got a special surprise for you all. Leave a comment here with a valid email, and we’ll send a free promo code to a random entrant one day after this post goes live. So, who’s up for a game?

UPDATE. As it turns out, Reversi OT is FREE for March 16th. Grab it while you can. We’ll be giving out the code on the 17th or 18th to someone who hasn’t snagged a free copy.

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