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April 1, 2014 / Jett

Blokus on iOS Review

If memory serves me well, I’m pretty sure Blokus was one of the first board games to make the jump to iOS. Despite all of the positive things I heard about it, I never bothered to give it a chance until I played and bought the physical game. At first, I downloaded the free version to try it out and was immediately put off by the ad implementation. I understand the need to include ads to subsidize a free version of the game, but the full-screen video ads that would interrupt my game every three moves or so are obnoxious. Instead, I put down the $1.99 to play uninterrupted.

Blokus is an abstract strategy game in which your goal is to put more of your pieces on the board than your opponents can. Starting from a corner, your pieces must connect at the corners for them to count as valid moves. The trick is, your opponents pieces can nuzzle along the sides of your pieces. This leads to a game where you’re constantly trying to protect your space while making inroads through your opponent’s gaps with your own blocks.

I think the board game version is a great game, but it requires four players for you to really get the full experience. On your iPhone or iPad, you can take on the computer, which has three different difficulty settings. I greatly enjoy playing this version against the computer, as it makes for a fast and fun game on the go. The interface to maneuver your pieces is easy to use and works well with only one hand.

As a multiplayer experience, things start to unravel. You can’t do local multiplayer, as that option isn’t available to you. You can play online through Game Center, though I find that matches never go anywhere against random opponents, as it only takes one person to not take their turn for the game to stall indefinitely. If you want to play a friends-only match, but don’t have four people, you’re not given the opportunity to fill any vacant slots with AI.

For my purposes of wanting a solitary version of Blokus I can play on the go, the iOS version is great and worth my $1.99. However, as an experience to share with friends, the infrastructure here doesn’t give you full control, which hurts the end product. I’d say that unless multiplayer options are a necessity, this one is probably worth it for you too.

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