Developer: Tiny Colossus
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

UFHO2 is a turn-based board game that depends on luck of the draw, but it can be fun to play with others.

The rules are that players move their character one hexagonal tile at a time per turn, with turns involving 6 moves. These moves would be more appropriately entitled ‘actions’, as it’s possible to spend them to rotate the small hexagonal tiles to form paths to move about on, and to rotate the larger hexagon, which has certain points that link between each hexagon. Oh, and any hexagon can be moved, not just one’s own, so it’s possible to fluster other players this way. There’s a gem on the board that players are trying to collect in order to get the points necessary to win the match.

UFHO2-space_walkRandomness plays an unassailable role in the proceedings: the next gem spawns in a random location, so players need to prepare for when the next one comes in. Sometimes the best move is to not go for a gem that an opponent is more likely to get, being in a better position for the next one, and possibly the one after that. As well, sometimes it’s not worth being the closest to a gem: being in a position where it’s possible to block off an opponent for their move is a key tactic.

The game is set up for local multiplayer, and cameos from a variety of games – such as Commander Video from the Bit.Trip franchise and one of the enemies from Super Crate Box – make appearances as playable characters. Sadly the online multiplayer is not ready yet, but it’s promised to be cross-platform when available. The two-dozen-plus singleplayer missions can prove challenging in the meantime, but this is the kind of game where there’s just more satisfaction from cutting off a friend’s path, or celebrating a lucky gem spawn.

UFHO2-spaceport_alt_layoutAnd that’s perhaps my issue with UFHO2: I’m not entirely convinced that it’s a completely skill-based game. Intelligence can tip the scales in one’s favor, but it still can feel like a good luck of the draw can help. That’s part of why this is a better multiplayer game: these elements are more forgivable when having fun with someone else versus playing a game with the computer.

As well, with version 1.2 the game does have an unfortunate issue where it doesn’t resume after switching between apps, which seems silly for a turn-based game – and not one that seems particularly resource-intensive. So, if an email comes in, it’ll have to wait. There’s no undo button, which would be helpful, and since turns are time-limited it seems silly to not have this as an option to correct any accidental moves.

UFHO2 didn’t set my world aflame, but for those looking for an entertaining local multiplayer game that’s not a twitch-action fest or really awkward, this is a solid choice.


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