Avast me hearty, shiver me timbers. There be pirates in me iPhone!
Crossbones is a unique, challenging game that is fun to play. I haven't seen any sort of game like this previously, so I don't know if it is based on an existing game or something completely new for the iPhone.
The idea is crossbones is that you are competing against one to three other players to match cards and get points. Each player has four cards in their hand, and there are nine community cards. You attempt to match three cards (described later) from either your hand or the community cards. A correct match will remove those cards from play and give you three points. An incorrect match will deduct one point from your score.
Each card has four "attributes" - color (blue, red, or green), icon (knife, bottle, or cup), number (one, two, or three), and stripes (none, horizontal, vertical). A correct "match" will match three cards - either where each card is identical to the others in any given attribute, or each card is different from the others in any attribute. Now, the important thing to remember is that each attribute is separate from the others. So when matching a set, you can have three cards that are identical for color (red) and number (three), but different in icon (one with knife, one with cups, and one with bottles) and stripes (one with horizontal, one with vertical, one with none). In that example, two of the four attributes are the same for each card, and two of the four attributes are different for each card.
Let me just say that this game takes some practice. The difficulty arises from trying to look at all the cards, and look at all the attributes at the same time. You are examining stripes, find some potential matches...only to find out that two or the cards have cups and one has a bottle - meaning it isn't a match for icons because they all aren't the same and the all aren't different.
There are three game modes - single player (you against between one and three computer opponents), multiplayer (you over a local wifi connection or over the internet), and memory challenge (where some of the community cards are show to your quickly, and then covered). When playing single player, you can choose easy, normal, or hard mode (hard mode is basically the memory challenge mode, easy mode doesn ot use the stripes attribute). Fortunately the game comes with a tutorial, so you can practice a bit before you jump in to challenge someone. You can also choose single player with no opponents just to practice as well.
The multiplayer mode is nice, since they have "rooms" set up already to join over the internet. You can coordinate with a friend to play in a specific room, but you may have other people playing against you as well. The graphics are nice, and suit the game well. They aren't especially complicated or involved, but for this kind of card game they don't need to be.
Pros: Complicated, challenging game, multiplayer mode
Cons: Can be difficult to learn and grasp
All in all, this is a challenging concept game, and it is fun because of that. You can play against others, so it doesn't look like it will lose interest in the long haul. At $1.99, the price is very reasonable, even cheap. I give this five out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.