Gomoku In The Tree by Doltari is an implementation of the popular ‘match five stones in a row’ game with a quirky twist: you are playing on behalf of a little mouse, helping her to win the heart of the object of her desire, a werecat – who happens to be the ‘Gomoku Champion of the Universe’.
It’s an unusual premise for a game’s backstory, but at its core the title is a faithful iOS implementation of the simple yet challenging game. Played on a large grid, you take it in turns with the game’s AI to place black and white counters (or circles & crosses) on the board, trying to be the first to make a line of five counters (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) whilst trying to stop your opponent doing the same.
Like many games with a long historical tradition, it’s simple but challenging. You constantly have to be aware of where your opponent is laying their counters, looking for potential game-winning lines and trying to stop them completing theirs. It’s all too easy to not notice a sneaky diagonal line of four of your opponent’s pieces as you focus on making your own, and before you know it, it’s game over.
Lose a game and you get an insult from the werecat and some wise words of encouragement from the mouse. Win, and you move to the next level of difficulty, until you reach the seventh level, where you face the mighty wercat himself.
Gomoku In The Tree is a solid implementation of the game, with attractive game board backgrounds and soothing music. The tale of the mouse and wererat doesn’t really add anything to the gameplay, but it’s a diversion in any case – and younger gamers may well be keen to see how this story of animal romance plays out.
The game is for one player only, against one of the seven levels of difficulty. You have the option to choose who starts, and the colour / type of your counter, but that’s about it. But then, a game as simple as Gomoku doesn’t really require pages and pages of options to tweak, so the limited amount of configurability does the job fine.
A screen is also available to view showing the number of games played, lost & won, time spent etc – though these numbers will only appeal to the most hardcore of statisticians.
Gomoku In The Tree is a straightforward implementation of the classic board game. The tale of the little mouse and the mighty werecat adds a bit of whimsical storybook charm to things and the challenge provided by the game’s difficulty levels is strong and suitable for players of all ages and abilities.
It’s not going to set the app store on fire, but it does have that ‘just one more go’ quality to it that may well see it taking root in your game collection.
Score: 6/10Gomoku In The Tree,