You might be surprised in the play of this game, I certainly was. I opened up the game expecting to see another example of ‘lather, wash, rinse, repeat’ for an implementation. I’ll caveat by saying that I was mostly right, but found a semi-compulsive need to play the game to the umpteenth time.
The premise of the game is a race between two cowboys. You have a hand of about seven cards that are either distance cards, benefit cards, or detrimental to your opponent. To give you an idea, there are two categories of distance cards, green ones represent a slow pace of travel and blue represent fast pace. There is a specific 20 miles (curse you imperial units) card that is an incredibly long distance but you suffer a points penalty for using it.
When not throwing cards to progress your journey, you are trying to impede your opponent by having their whip break, lose their food or water, make them endure a rainy day, or summon bandits. With such godlike powers you could theoretically find better use of your time, but here we are! Of course your opponent can do similar damage to you, and hopefully you’ll have the appropriate card to resolve the calamity. There is also a specific golden card that can respond permanently to these failures, which will be randomly drawn throughout the course of the game. They are complete game changers when they are played and I’ve found the game can become a bit arbitrary once two of them have come out.
Strategically, the horseshoe is the best. Not only does it resolve two of those major problems, but it means you no longer need to have a whip to get your cart going after you have been stopped by one of the other complications. Moreover this last bit is made more important as unless you have a go sign, you end up stuck in place with no ability to progress until cards run out. It is quite possible, and even frequent at the higher levels, to finish the game with no winner.
This last bit is what kept making me play. The game was short enough that it basically took no mind to play (very minor strategy involve), and deceptively simple enough to beat that I kept wanting to play one more game to play it out and beat it.
As a game made for the iPhone it can’t score much in the way of a high rating. The graphics are rudimentary, but at least the user interface is intuitive. The sounds are quite predictable but create the right ambiance. What else can be said in its favour beyond that it has a variety of different play styles, however no option for multiplayer either in pass’n'play or online.
4/10: A short burst of fun in a small package, but not much replay value.Wild West Races,