Mr. Jack Pocket

mr jack pocket gameplay 1
Players:
2
Multiplayer:pass 'n' play only
AI:Yes, 3 levels
Universal App:Yes (there is a single app which works on both iPhone and iPad in HD)
Purchase for iPhone:Use link below to purchase universal app
Purchase for iPad:
Mr Jack Pocket
Price: $2.99
User rating:
GD Star Rating
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Mr. Jack Pocket, 8.3 out of 10 based on 6 ratings

What is it about the grizzly, macabre side of human nature that is so endlessly fascinating? Take Jack the Ripper, a famous serial murderer of 19th century London, subject of more than a dozen board games in the past 25 years alone. Mr. Jack Pocket, arguably one of the more accessible, has now been ported to iOS. Can you stop the killings?

Gameplay

MJP blends fantasy and reality, casting Sherlock Holmes and his faithful associates Dr. Watson and … a dog named Toby … as the guardians of Whitechapel. They have a maximum of 8 turns to ferret out Mr. Jack from amongst 9 possible suspects.

mr jack pocket gameplay 1

The Whitechapel district consists of a 3×3 grid of intersecting streets. On each turn, 4 actions from a possible selection of 8 will be available. On the odd numbered turns, Mr. Jack goes first; the detectives get the upper hand on the even number turns. In either case, the first player plays one action, the opponent plays 2, and the initiator plays the final action of the turn.

mr jack pocket gameplay 2

The detectives move clockwise around the edges of Whitechapel, and actions include moving the detectives, drawing a card to eliminate or further obfuscate the suspects (depending on which player draws the card) or rotating or repositioning the intersections – precisely how London streets can physically relocate is left as an exercise to the player. At the end of each turn, a check is made to determine whether Mr. Jack is visible to the detectives; the outcome of which eliminates the suspects in the other category.

mr jack pocket mr jack seen

Each turn that Mr. Jack is not visible, he earns an hourglass. If he can get 6 hourglasses before 8 turns elapse, or if he can survive 8 turns without being spotted, he wins the game. If the detectives can see Jack and no other suspects, they win.

Implementation

MJP is not a complicated game, and the app captures the artwork perfectly. Ominous music adds to the atmosphere until you get tired of it and turn it off. Where the app falls down, however, is in the various digital bits that have nothing to do with gameplay.

mr jack pocket tutorial

The tutorial mode isn’t so much a tutorial as it is a slide show followed by puzzles; the setup for each “lesson” even includes the word “challenge” in its description. While it is true that mastering the various puzzles will require you to utilize the skills necessary to exceed at the game, there is zero guidance – just puzzle solving – which makes the mode of questionable use as a tool for introducing the game to new players.

mr jack pocket start game

The good news is that the single-player mode offers 3 different levels of AI. The bad news is there are NO online play modes. The documentation hints at a “Blitz” mode that will offer leaderboard competition, but your options for a live opponent begin and end with the pass n’ play mode – which includes a fiddly, unnecessary mechanic in which the Jack player must physically tilt the device toward him to reveal his cards. To add insult to injury, there is no Undo option to be found.

Verdict

Mr. Jack Pocket is a limited game that serves as great filler but not much more. With an uninspired tutorial and a complete lack of online multiplay (or an Undo button), it’s hard to justify the asking price – especially when it’s more than half of what a physical version of the game would cost. Digital implementations are supposed to offer advantages to offset the inherent compromises in the translation, and no such extras are present here.

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  • gaxxcc

    will be great on price 0.99 or 1.99 not more!

  • richpizor

    gaxxcc Agreed. It’s not a bad game at all – there just isn’t $6 worth of content in terms of how iPad games are valued.