Review: Ingenious, by USM
Ingenious for iPhone (and for the iPad), by USM
$1.99 (2.99), ****
• Fun, simple to play strategy game
• Multiple difficulty levels and play modes
• Tutorial mode
• Strategy can be complex
• Limited multiplayer
I think Reiner Knizia is my new hero. I have already reviewed a couple of iPad/Iphone games that were imports of games he designed (so called German-style board games) and each one of them has been unique, challenging, and fun. Ingenious is no different.
Ingenious is available for both the iPad and iPhone as separate versions. The interface is basically the same, the game play identical, so I am writing one review for both of them. The only real benefit the iPad version has is based on the larger screen – more room for people with big fingers! Please note, the pictures below are from the iPad version of the game.
The Ingenious board initially looks like the same board that you might see with Chinese Checkers, but instead of colored marbles you have colors shapes in each corner. The concept is Ingenious is simple – use your tiles to create lines of identical shapes, getting increase points for the longer the lines are. The strategy, however, is complex. Winning the game is not simply based on the number of points, but rather a comparison of the points – who has the most overall, who has the most in any given shape, is your lower point total for each shape lower than your opponent, etc.
Sounds complex, which is why there is a built in tutorial mode. The tutorial mode allows you not only to learn how to play the game (placing pieces, strategy for where to put them) but also how to maximize your ability to win the overall game. It does take some practice, and the tutorial is almost a must. I tried playing within the tutorial as first, but had not real idea what I was doing!
The game is played against one opponent. This opponent can be the computer, with multiple difficulty settings available, and even the option to set a game length condition so the game ends after a certain number of minutes. You can also choose a solitaire mode, where you are just trying to get a certain number of points within a predefined limit. There is also a tournament mode, where you start off at the beginner level and have to move up to more advanced players.
But with the iPad version, you can also play against a real person. In the “friend” mode, you can play against a person sitting across the table or sitting next to you. Unfortunately, there is no wifi connect or Bluetooth connect option to play against another iPhone or Ipad, but maybe that will be built into a future update.
All in all, this is a simple game with the potential for challenging strategy – just the kind of game I like. Because of the randomness of the play, you can play the game multiple times and each time will be a different result. With many difficult and play mode settings, you have a lot of options to choose from. The iPad version is $2.99, while the iPhone version is $1.99, but you probably only need to get either of those. Four 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.