From bedroom coder Curt Stein, Five-O is an impressive math-based scrabble clone, yet playable by anyone who is neither a fan of scrabble nor of math. How does it achieve this?
First of, the rules are incredible simple and somewhat similar to “that famous word game which it resembles” – the only difference being that instead of making words, you lay down numbers that total up to a multiple of 5 and can contain no more than 5 tiles (hence the name, Five-O). Each tile is a number from 1 – 10. Obviously, 5 and 10 tiles are the easiest to play as you can simply add them on the end of 4 or less tiles, and re-score for that line (just as you might with an “s” in scrabble, for example). Certain parts of the board contain bonuses – like +5 points, or x3. Take a look at the screenshot below for a fairly progressed game where the computer is absolutely slaughtering me. To sum it up though – I didn’t need to read the rules at all to figure out how to play. Playing well is going to take a little time though.
I’ll admit I’m not usually a big fan of math games, but Five-O manages to keep the math simple enough for elementary kids – yet still hard enough that my wife can beat me every time. Actually, that’s a lie – I beat her last night – but only because I waited until she was half asleep before challenging her! This is certainly a game you can improve at as you play though, and I already feel smarter after just 10 games.
Everything works as you would expect it to – the menus are simple, but functional; the in-game graphics are rather nice and clean, and the rules explanation is refreshingly understandable. The game only allows you to play in landscape mode, but the screen spins around as it should when you do a 180 with the device. The developer has decided not to include any music, which is a welcome for anyone who hates in-game music, and the tiles give a satisfying click on you play. Pausing the game by pressing the home button or switching apps works exactly as it should, and the app loads so quickly that you can be back in your game within a second, resuming right where you left off.
I am amazed that a single developer can get everything done so well and polished, yet some of the biggest studios with teams and big budgets (*cough* Catan *cough*) can produce such rubbish.
My wife also mentioned that she would have liked the game to automatically spin around to face the other player when playing on a table-top (coffee table style, I’m calling it) – like Small World does. It seems like allowing the game to played in portrait orientation wouldn’t require too much interface adjustment either, so I hope to see that at some point. Curt has been touch to let me know he has updated the game, adding 3 different levels of difficulty for the AI, and online multiplayer options. Excellent!
The price is right, and the game is fun as well as educational. I’d very much recommend it, especially if you’re looking for something the whole family can enjoy or even just for the kids.Five-O,