iPad Game Review: Puerto Rico HD for iPad Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Puerto Rico HD is an iPad adaptation of the boardgame of the same name where you take the role of a Governor of Puerto Rico in the 1800s and try to develop your plantation. It is often described as a Eurogame, not only due to its European origins, but also because very little of this game is left to the whims of chance.
In Puerto Rico HD, you have the opportunity to grow a variety of goods, including: corn, indigo, sugar, tobacco, and coffee. Every round, each player will take on one of six roles (settler, mayor, builder, craftsman, trader, captain, and prospector) that will enable all players to take the action that is associated with that role (except prospector); although the player fulfilling each role will receive a privilege (advantage) in that particular role for that particular turn (mayor gives you an extra colonist, settler allows you to choose a quarry instead of a plantation, etc). If you do the math, this means that you won?t be able to do everything every turn, and in fact, anticipating what your opponents are going to do each turn, based on the game board, is part of the strategy. When a predetermined number of victory points or colonists is reached, or a player fills all available building spaces, a final round is triggered. At the end of this round, victory points are tallied, and a winner is declared.
Puerto Rico HD features a great interactive tutorial to get you started, as well as a complete rulebook accessible from within the game. To further assist you, tapping on the arrow at the top of the column on the right side of the screen will cause it to expand, giving you access to additional information. A very welcome feature is the inclusion of a strategic hint system, which is accessed by tapping on the question mark at the bottom of the screen. If you drag that question mark over any item on the game board, you will be provided with information about that particular game component. These guys REALLY want you to learn to play with a minimum of frustration; a very good thing.
The game includes a very good AI, allowing for solo play with up to 4 computer opponents. Any of these can be swapped for a human player. Puerto Rico HD even gives you the chance to tell it where each player is sitting to minimize the amount of time you spend rotating your iPad. Although I prefer to play games face-to-face, Puerto Rico HD features online multiplayer via Game Center, for those of you who hanker for that sort of thing.
The graphics in Puerto Rico HD are crisp, sharp, and vibrant. There is a lot of information on the game board, but it is all well-organized, and the razor sharp icons are fairly intuitive once you play through the tutorial. There is only a minimal amount of animation, but frankly I didn?t miss it. This is a board game, after all, and it wouldn?t take much to be distracting.
The sound effects are simple, subtle, and entirely appropriate for a game like this. The developers wisely went with the ?less is more? philosophy in this department as well, and it all has a very nice feel to it. The soundtrack consists of beautiful classical guitar music that complements the game nicely. I never felt the urge to turn it off, or even down.
Puerto Rico HD is a faithful and beautiful adaptation of the boardgame. If you?ve ever played the physical version, you?re going to love not having to keep track of game stats and pieces; in fact, you may never go back. For those who have never had the chance to play this game, you will never have a better opportunity. Not only are there no game pieces to lose and no score to keep (see above), but you will never find a more thorough and patient tutor than the one included in the iPad version. Highly recommended for Euro board game fans.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - High resolution and vibrant graphics make this game easy on the eyes. Sound: - 5 - A wonderfully themed classical guitar soundtrack that is punctuated by subtle and appropriate sound effects that enhance gameplay without being distracting. Controls: - 5 - The interface is accurate, and the help options are numerous and highly accessible. Gameplay: - 5 - A great adaptation of the classic boardgame. If this is your cup of tea, you won?t be disappointed.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Study the board before you take your turn. Nothing is hidden except for victory points and, with practice, it should be possible to anticipate your opponents? intentions. New players should play through the tutorial and make liberal use of the ?question mark? for strategic hints.