Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: Hard8 (iPhone)

Hard8 is not going to be remembered as a ‘killer app’ on the iPhone; it’s an indie puzzle game on a format that has far too many puzzle games. Which is unfortunate, because for those five minute down times, Hard8 is much more fun than it has any right to be.

This game is a hidden Jackpot on the App Store

The basic game plays a bit like the children’s classic board game Connect 4. There is a grid of squares, and across the bottom of the table are blocks, fruit, poker chips of varying value, and dice faces. The goal is to drop additional dice into the playing field to link with other dice to add to a value of eight. Do that, the dice disappear.

Link two ‘fours’ together, and you’ll cause a small explosion, which has the effect of clearing away everything (including the blocks, which are otherwise indestructible), and leaving behind some poker chips for more points.

Some puzzles can get really challenging. Which is what you want from a puzzle game

The game is over if the dice reach the top of the playing field. The basic gameplay is spread across three gameplay modes – though all three essentially amount to variations on a score attack, so the real differences between them are minor.

What makes the game perfect for the iPhone is that it is not action based. On any given level you’re given a number of “dice” to make the most out of. You choose where to drop these dice at your on leisure, which means the likelihood of making errors because of imprecise controls is negligible.

There is nothing more addictive than tweeting an awesome score

Combined with an easy, casual casino visual overlay, music that is best described as ‘lounge,’ and the ability to upload your best scores to Facebook for the world (or, at least your friends) to see mark the game out as distinctly casual, but comfortable in offering what it offers.

Hard8 doesn’t try and break into a brave new frontier of gameplay. It doesn’t try to offer 100 levels for a dollar. It doesn’t try to sell you extra in-game stuff. It focuses on getting a basic idea hugely polished and extremely accessible. And it succeeds at that. If you are the kind of person that plays iPhone games to make public transport a little more bearable, then I can easily recommend this.


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