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April 8, 2014 / Jett

Qwirkle on iOS Review

Qwirkle is the more popular and award winning precursor to Iota, a game I reviewed not too long ago. They share a similar premise and more or less the same strengths and faults. However, I can’t play Iota on my iPhone or iPad. Meanwhile, Qwirkle is readily available on iTunes. Wanting more of this style of gameplay on the go, I gave Qwirkle on iOS a shot.

The game is comprised of tiles of varying shapes and colours. Your goal is create Scrabble style lines with the tiles in hand that will net you the most points. Lines can be created by arranging a series of tiles that are either the same shape or the same colour with no duplicates. There’s also a special bonus called a Qwirkle, which is achieved by creating a line with six tiles. Because Qwirkle values are really high, it’s in your best interest to place your tiles in a way that doesn’t leave Qwirkle opportunities open for your opponents.

The learning curve on this game is very short, though there’s depth in trying to find the perfect placements for maximum points. This factor can lead to analysis paralysis among players as they determine which move is best, but on the iOS, you’re probably playing against the computer anyway. Not having to wait for your friends will make games much snappier, though the option to play with friends online or through local pass-and-play is available.

On the iPad, the game handles great. However, I take offense to the lacksidaisical port job that was done to make it work on the iPhone. While it is a universal app in name, the iPad game was simply dumped onto the phone with no regard to how the interface should be modified to accommodate for the smaller screen size. As such, buttons are much harder to hit, particularly those in the options screen. It is still playable, though an opportunity was missed to make this a tighter product overall.

For only $2.99, you’re getting a quality board game to play on the go. Qwirkle works best on the iPad, but if you’ve only got an iPhone, I think the game is still enjoyable enough to overcome it’s user interface problems. Glad I picked this one up, as it’ll likely stay in my regular rotation of iPhone games for a while.

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