|Multiplayer:||Yes, online & Facebook|
|AI:||Yes, three levels|
|Purchase for iPhone:||None available. Buy an iPad now!|
|Purchase for iPad:||None available, but you can still play iPhone version in 2x mode|
GD Star RatingAlice of Hearts,
Although Alice of Hearts by Skyview is all wrapped up in some pretty appealing presentation, once you’ve taken that wrapping off, you’re left with something which feels a little on the empty side. All style and not much in the way of substance, this card-battling RPG hybrid promises much but doesn’t fully deliver — it’s a rabbit hole that unfortunately doesn’t go very deep at all.
At its core (don’t worry, I make an obvious ‘heart’ pun at the end of the review…), Alice is a simple card laying game, using poker hands to build points which are used to defeat your opponent.
Played on a checkered grid, you are dealt a hand of five cards which you take it in turns to place on the board. Your aim is to make horizontal or vertical lines of at least five cards which form two-of-a-kinds, flushes and full houses.
The points for each scoring line (through clever card placement you can make more than one each turn) is added up and the total points are then deducted from your opponent’s hit points. As you’d expect, the first player who loses all their hit points is defeated.
Fortunately, there are a few more layers of complexity added to this fairly basic premise. Your player – or Ego – is able to be levelled up, giving them more powerful statistics, access to attack-boosting weapons and other bonuses which swing the balance of power. Special cards can also be won (or bought via an in-game store) which can be played during games to heal yourself or put your opponent at a disadvantage.
However, all of these associated bits and pieces don’t have a massive impact on the game itself: which comes down again and again to laying down playing cards in a kind of solitaire / mahjong / Match 3 mashup stylee which gets repetitive quite quickly.
What it lacks on the gameplay front, Alice more than makes up for in presentation. The graphics and visual style are appealing, giving a Tim Burton-esque gothic tint to Wonderland and its inhabitants, with suitably sinister music to accompany the atmosphere.
Although the game is for iPhone only, the artwork is clear and colourful and you’ll not need to squint too much to see what’s going on. It doesn’t scale for iPad, leaving you with the choice of playing it in native window mode, or zooming it up to full screen. At that point, things become a bit pixellated, but not that offensively.
It’s possible to play the game without pumping real cash down the rabbit hole, which is a bonus; and the special cards, weapons and varied characters from Alice’s adventures you meet along the way are all well designed and satisfyingly off-kilter.
A multiplayer mode is available, matching you up with random players online or with your friends on Facebook. Special bonuses, achievements and awards are available in multiplayer, all of which can be brought back into the solo campaign mode.
Skyview should be applauded for trying something a bit different. They’ve put loads of effort into the game’s presentation, which is rich with options, customisation and variety. Sadly, they’ve overlooked the actual guts of the game a bit: Alice’s heart is a little too repetitive to encourage you to take advantage of all the features which the developers have so lovingly surrounded it with.