iOS Roundup: Quarrel, Fractal will test your wits

August 29, 2011

This week, we’re looking at anticipated titles from Denki and Cipher Prime.

Quarrel Deluxe (Universal): We’ve been looking forward to playing Denki’s Quarrel since we tested the 360 version out at E3. This iOS version is the first to release, and it is what we thought it’d be. Players attack and seize territory by making words in a formula best-described as Risk-meets-Scrabble.You have up to eight armies on each territory, and that number determines how large a word you can make with the different-valued letter tiles. There’s still some randomness, but it takes the purely-random Risk and adds skill to the process.

It’s not all great, though. This initial release of Quarrel doesn’t include multiplayer of any sort, and it doesn’t seem to have much incentive to do well. The AI is fine (though in our experience, it’s way too fast and ranges from reasonable to ludicrous), but the point is to beat down some friends. (Silver lining: the devs say it’s coming. But why release it before that’s in place?) 4/5

Fractal: Make Blooms Not War (iPad): We’re big fans of Cipher Prime around here. Their previous titles, Auditorium and Pulse, have had this super-slick, polished audiovisual experience that make whatever gameplay seem profound. (Bonus: the gameplay was also pretty good.) Fractal is much the same, though the gameplay is a bit more mainstream. On hexagonal grids, you tap a tile or an outside border, and each direction gets filled with color, pushing any existing colored tiles outward. The idea is to create “blooms”, filled tiles surrounded completely by other filled tiles, for points.

As you can imagine, the best scores come from crazy chain reactions, and different-shaped boards make for mechanical variety throughout Fractal‘s campaign. So what’s holding it back from the rarefied air of its predecessors? Honestly, it’s just not ready for primetime. Once the team gets a few patches out to fix some of the crashing and freezing issues, it should be just fine. 4/5