iPad Game Review: Michael Schacht's Web of Power: The Duel (Universal) Review
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Web of Power is a solo Euro style card game with elements of the solitaire version of Mah Jong. The goal is to collect more cards of every category than your opponent. It's not as easy as it sounds...
Web of Power: The Duel is an iOS implementation of the boardgame, Richelieu where the goal is to claim as many tiles as possible from every country and symbol. While the goal is simple to understand, the art of this game is in not collecting too much of one at the expense of others. This take careful planning and sound strategy. This is NOT a game of luck. The mechanic used is similar to the solitaire version of Mah Jong (I know, there is no solitaire version of real Mah Jong, but there's simply no other name for it) in which you can only take tiles that are free on one the left or the right. This is further complicated by the fact that tiles can be taken in pairs if you plan well (and your opponent doesn't). To add yet another layer, each player is given a small number of markers that can be used to claim tiles that haven't yet been picked-up. Proper strategy will end up in strategically blocking your computerized opponent from key tiles that you know it needs, which will force it to waste time taking tiles that it doesn't. Of course, the AI will be quite successful at doing this to you as well, and is a formidable opponent. Although a graphically-rich rulebook is accessible from the menu, Web of Power is badly in need of a tutorial or at least a short video of gameplay. Web of Power is a single-player game only, and does not support Game Center Achievements or Leaderboards.
Web of Power is a very simple, straightforward adaptation of a well-established board game. The graphics are crisp and well-drawn, yet are nothing to write home about. The tiles do, however, animate nicely as they are selected and removed from the board, giving Web of Power a polished look, despite its Spartan graphics.
There is no music in Web of Power, and the game sounds are limited to a few clicks that function solely as a player aid, adding nothing to the style or atmosphere of the game.
In-App Purchases (IAPs)
No IAPs of any kind.
Web of Power is a straightforward, no nonsense adaptation of a well-established boardgame. As such, it is likely to greatly appeal to those familiar with it. Unfortunately, it is equally likely to appear inaccessible and arcane to those who are not. After spending some time with it, I can attest to the clever game design. However, my first hour was bewildering and a bit frustrating so this game is not for the easily distracted.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 3 - Minimal, but true to the physical boardgame on which it is based. Sound: - 1 - There is no in-game sound to speak of, except for some minor clicks to indicate actions. Controls: - 4 - While the strategy may take time to comprehend, the interface will not. Solid controls that don't get in the way of the game. Gameplay: - 3.5 - A complicated game, yet rewarding to those who persevere. Needs multiplayer, although that may not be true to the game's roots (I can't say for sure; I've never played it).
Playing Hints and Tips:
Play 10-20 turns before trying to read the rules; they will make more sense if you do. Watch what the computer does. Even on the easiest level, it's clever and sneaky.