Review: Quarrel Deluxe (iOS)

Genki letters.

Word puzzles litter the App Store, and some – like Words With Friends – have reached considerable levels of saturation.  Their social interaction and addictive qualities are powerful assets, but they’ve previously been limited to one genre.  Dundee studio Genki’s Quarrel Deluxe, however, takes the idea a step further, marrying up a cool Scrabble-esque ruleset with a Risk-based board game.  It is – in a word – brilliant.

[drop2]We’ve been played Quarrel Deluxe for a little while now, but our enthusiasm hasn’t died down at all.  In fact, the more you play the more little nuances you find, and the carefully balanced mechanics draw you in further and further.

The idea is simple: your troops are dotted about on a grid, battling for the whole area, but the eponymous quarrels are played out with letter, the victor ultimately being the player best at forming words.

Naturally, there’s more to it than that.  The more soldiers you have on each tile the more letters you can make your words from, so rolling into a scrap with a full squad of eight naturally gives you the best chance to get the biggest score.

But you can still win with less, assuming that you can create a word with fewer letters that scores more.  Like Scrabble, each letter is assigned a point score, so those with a strong lexicon will be at an advantage.

Not overpoweringly, though, because strategy plays a crucial role.  You can move as many sets of battlers as you like, once, but doing so opens up spaces for capturing by others because you’ll only leave one man behind.  The skillful player, then, uses a mix of defend and offense to slowly move around the board, spreading out his warriors tactically, ensuring that his back is protected and that he’s got enough men to still wage war on the front line.

Other niceties abound: battles between AI armies let the player try to guess the eight letter word currently in play for points, there’s a built-in dictionary for each word, there’s Game Center leaderboards and there’s four game modes, including a daily challenge with global rankings.  There’s no multiplayer, which is the biggest let down in the whole thing (and why it doesn’t score higher) but there’s 9 opponents that offer distinctly different challenges.

The graphics are deliciously drawn, well animated and chunky, and the presentation’s fantastic throughout.  The game costs £2.99 but it’s a universal App so it’ll work on both iPhone and iPad, the latter platform ideally suited to the overhead viewpoint of the map and the isometric display of the battlefield.  Dragging and dropping letters is a breeze, so no problems there – the game is a joy to play.

Pros:

  • Brilliant idea, well executed
  • Fantastic graphics
  • Almost endless replayability

Cons:

  • No multiplayer, which spoils the party

Quarrel Deluxe is well worth the money, which sits at that ‘mid-range’ price point on the App Store where it’s difficult to just make a quick impulse purchase.  Rest assured that it’s a solid buy, however, this previously Xbox 360 title fitting perfectly onto iOS without a hitch or stumble.  Puzzle fans will really dig what the game is all about, especially if you’re a fan of both Risk and Scrabble, in which case you’ll be in letter heaven.

Buy it here.

Score: 8/10

4 Comments

  1. I’m a sucker for Scrabble so I might give this a try.

    • This is officially my most hated app ever. I just rage-quit after retrying the same level over and over again for 3 hours. The anagrams are the most stupid words. Lionized? Ropened? WTF? The animations get boring after a while and it is agonizing to watch them every single time. I’m really frustrated right now. It’s late. I should rest. Damn that Malik NPC…

  2. He looks like a quarre. And he does sound like a quarre…

  3. What happened to the app review site you guys had a while back?

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