Astraware have started to port a lot of their back catalogue to HP/Palm’s webOS platform.
A compilation of eight virtual versions of classic boardgames, this collection is definitely worth your time and money, with a nice polish to the title and a feeling of reassuring quality about the whole package, but it is let down in a couple of keys areas.
The full list of included games is as follows: Chess, Backgammon, Checkers, Ludo, Nine Men’s Morris, Reversi, Tic Tac Toe and Snakes and Ladders. Chess and Checkers work really well, and are the quiet stars of the package, with the AI having meaningful differences at the three difficulty settings, really smooth and high resolution graphics and a sensible drag and drop control system.Nine Men’s Morris, Backgammon and Reversi work equally well, and it’s nice to see Ludo, Tic Tac Toe and Snakes and Ladders in the package to play against the kids.
Pass and play multiplayer is included, which is great if you only have one device, but not having Wi Fi play, either locally or online has to go down as a missed opportunity, and this is probably the biggest mistake the game makesHaving online multiplayer would really have made this something special, especially with Chess and Checkers. You could of had a mode where you could, with an online opponent, keep a persistent game of Chess going for weeks, with moves sent back and forth.
There are two other, smaller issues that you should be aware of. First of all, on the Ludo game, the game sometimes fails to register touchscreen movement. To be fair, this is probably because the board spaces and game pieces are so small, but the problem is there all the same. Secondly, the game has frozen on me a couple of times, both on the Checkers game.Both of these are small issues, and easily fixed.
Aside from that, there are no real problems with control or stability. The graphics throughout are excellent, there is a wide variety of games to play, and shaking your phone to shake dice can never get boringAI moves are skippable, and there are loads of options for each game. There are a few sound effects included, that can also be switched off, and presentation is great.
The best thing about the package is the fact that it saves your current progress in each game automatically.
So, whether you are switching between game modes, or simply booting the game up for the first time in a while, the last game you was involved in will be there waiting for you. The game actually saves all eight games, and this really is brilliant, and will be the main reason you keep coming back for more.
Overall then, a worthy package that is high on quality and content, although the lack of wireless play hurts.
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