dice² by Emma Assin is a simple yet addictive little title with a degree of visual polish which makes it stand out from the rest of the dice-rolling titles on the app store.
A game for one player, dice² gives you 20 rolls of four dice from which to make poker-like runs and straights of horizontal and vertical lines of four or five dice on a 5×5 grid. Scoring lines are removed from the grid and scored, freeing up space on the board to lay down other dice and aim for a high score.
Dice can be placed anywhere on the board, letting you put them in places you strategically hope will result in high-scoring runs or straights later. Similarly, not all dice in a roll need to be placed each turn, with unused ones being ‘held’ for the next roll: useful if you’re looking to build up a five-dice run or straight and are waiting for a particular number to turn up before placing your line.
Bonus points are awarded for achieving special conditions like clearing the board, or completing a horizontal and vertical scoring line with one dice. Then, after the twentieth roll, the final points are tallied up, with the value of any non-scoring dice still on the board subtracted from your total. Your score – assuming it is good enough – is recorded on a high score table, and any of the game’s 36 achievement badges you managed to unlock are also available to view.
dice² has a lovely visual appeal, with both board and dice having a real tactile look and feel to them, very like a real-world pocket travel game in style.
Controls are simple and easy, with an easy-to-hit ‘roll’ button, then a simple hold-and-drag mechanism to place your dice on the required slot on the board. That said, if you do place your dice in the wrong position, there is no ‘undo’ feature, so some care has to be taken to make sure you’re putting them exactly where you want them to.
Available on both iPhone and iPad, the game only runs in portrait orientation. Not a big deal, really – but it does make the title feel like a game more suited for Apple’s smaller device than the big screen experience of the iPad. Sound is also quite simple, with only a dice-rolling sample and a ‘click’ sound when you put a dice on the board.
dice² is an enjoyable and visually appealing title that is great for a quick slice of solo casual gaming. But although it never lays claim to being one of the most complex games on the market, it is perhaps a little too simple to hold attention for too long.
Score: 6 / 10dice²,