Developer: Hidden Variable Studios
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.5
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Tic-Tac-Toe is a very simple game, since there are only so many strategies for it and one player can always force a draw. What Tic Tactics does is to encapsulate this into a meta-game of outwitting one’s opponent that makes a simple game infinitely more strategic.

TicTacticsScreen1136x640_1TicTacticsScreen1136x640_3See, in Tic Tactics the game is composed of a 3×3 megagrid of 3×3 tic-tac-toe grids. By getting a tic-tac-toe in one grid, that counts as an X or O in the megagrid. Getting tic-tac-toe in the megagrid is the way to win. Now, here’s where the twist comes in: when a letter is placed down in a square in a grid, the other player then places their letter in the grid that corresponds to where that letter was place in the megagrid. So, if the X player places an X in the center, the O player places an O in the center grid. If they place it in the upper-right corner, then X places an X up there, and so on.

Now, here’s where the fun comes in: a crowded grid only has so many squares to place letters in, which can force a player to make a move that’s advantageous to the other player. Thus, winning a match of Tic Tactics becomes about controlling the megagrid and starting to think multiple moves ahead, about what the ramifications of this one move would be down the road. One back-and-forth game got pretty intense as I just sat there, thinking about strategies and what I needed to do to win!

That one match wound up in a situation where we both needed just one square in the megagrid, and I had forced my opponent into playing the top grid that she had already captured with three squares unplayed, two of which would ensure my victory. So when I saw she didn’t play the one square she needed to, I said to myself: “Ya done [messed] up. You know that, don’t you?” I then carried out my moves that would ensure my victory. It was chess-like – I had figured out something my opponent had not, and exploited it to win after a long struggle. I then danced to the salsa-flavored victory music.

TicTacticsScreen5TicTacticsScreen6Now, because of the rules of Tic Tactics, sometimes non-optimal tic-tac-toe strategies will be carried out in the name of optimal Tic Tactics tactics, so just beware. The best tic-tac-toe move isn’t always the best move. Still, Tic Tactics manages to encapsulate complex strategy through simple rules in a brilliant way.

Tic Tactics uses a coin system to start games – 1000 coins starts a game, and players start with 10000. Moves earn additional coins as do wins – it’s possible to buy more but I’d really prefer a system where I could just buy additional game slots rather than having to worry about the currency whenever I want to play a new game against Facebook or Game Center friends.

Despite my dislike of the monetization, give Tic Tactics a whirl. It’s the most intense and strategic that tic-tac-toe will ever be.


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