iPad Game Review: Reiner Knizia's Yoku-Gami HD Reviewed by Steven Scarpitti
Reiner Knizia is a world famous game designer, probably known more for his board games and card games than his puzzle games. This game proves he is not just the master of board games and card games but also puzzle games.
Yoku-Gami has a simple premise that is well executed and is fun to play plus it features three different game modes. The premise of the game is to connect a group of number tiles together that the sum of the smaller numbers equals the largest number in the group. An example would be connecting the numbers 5, 1, 6, and 12, they could be in any order so long as the smaller numbers equal the largest number. The larger the quantity of number tiles connected and the higher the number of the largest number tile, the more points you score. You can also group just two tiles together but they have to be the same number to equal out but you don't get many points for two tile groupings. This sounds like a simple task but it is surprisingly complex and addictive.
Yoku-Gamis three different modes of play are endless mode, arcade mode, and level mode. Endless mode offers an endless supply of ever increasing number tiles, it starts with the low number tiles and pretty quickly increases into the teens and twenties and keeps on going until you can't make any more groups. So there is a strategy to planning which numbers to use together as the number on the tiles keeps increasing. Arcade mode is similar to endless mode except that new number tiles only drop when an complete row or column is cleared instead of each time any number tiles are cleared like in endless mode. Arcade mode takes even more planning and strategy than endless mode.
Level mode is the most difficult of the three games modes and takes lots of planning. In level mode no new number tiles appear as you clear out tiles, so the objective is to clear out tiles while leaving as few tiles remaining as possible. You start with 25 lives and one life is subtracted for each tile that remains after you have made all your possible groups. After you've cleared out all your groups then the remaining tile count is subtracted from your remaining lives and you move onto the next level, this continues until you have no lives left. Each of the three game modes is scored, so you are constantly trying to do better.
The graphics are nice and colorful with a cute sidekick that can give you hints if you tap on it. The controls are very well done and can be switched between tap and drag controls in the options. The design of this game is very well done as Reiner Knizia had touch gaming in mind when he designed this game.
The background music is calm and relaxing, the music really works well with this game. You can also play your own custom music in game. The sound effects are very minimal as they should be with this type game but what sound effects are there fit the game.
Overall this is a fun new puzzle game made by one of the greatest traditional game makers of our age. This game should appeal to most puzzle fans, number game fans, and Knizia fans and is well worth the asking price. It has good replay value especially if you like relaxing puzzle games where it isn't a race against the clock.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: -4- Bright and colorful, the graphics look nice but could use a little more detail to help keep it interesting. Sound: -4- The BGM is well done and fits the game well, there are very few sound FX and it works good this way. Controls: -5- The controls are intuitive and fit the game perfectly. Gameplay: -5- The gameplay is easy to understand but complex to master, just what you want from a puzzle game.