Rotex

rotex gameplay online
Players:
2
Multiplayer:Pass n play and online via Game Center
AI:Yes, 2 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:
Rotex
Price: $0.99
User rating:
GD Star Rating
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Rotex, 6.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

Rotex is the latest abstract strategy title from the creator of the numerical Scrabble-alike Five-O. With an ever-changing board and a brain-burning logic background, will it turn you on – or turn on you?

Gameplay

Rotex is a simple game that would be nearly impossible to implement well physically, but does wonders on an iPad screen. Two players face off on a superhex board that is made up of 7 overlapped megahexes. Each turn, each player claims one hex. The center of each megahex is a dead zone, but otherwise the superhex is 4 hexes to a side.

rotex gameplay 1

Once a hex is claimed, one of the megahexes is rotated one space clockwise. Because the megahexes necessarily interlock to form the superhex, turning one of them can very easily rearrange spaces controlled by both players.

rotex rotation

Two player abstracts tend toward either chess or checkers, and this one is more the latter. The winner is the first player to get five hexes in a row. It is, in our experience, rare for a game to last more than 6-8 turns. This description makes the gameplay sound simplistic, and it’s anything but; there just aren’t a lot of rules to it.

Implementation

Rotex is a bare-bones game, and while it’s presentation is minimalist to the point of being spartan, it’s clean and clear and gets the job done. The Rules button at the main menu does little more than invoke a single square with the rules text, but a fully-featured interactive tutorial will help guide players. It even discusses strategy, however briefly.

rotex rules

For local play, the game supports both pass n play and 2 levels of AI. As with many of the abstracts we’ve reviewed recently, the AI is pretty unforgiving even on Novice, so the distinction between that and Expert may be lost on some. Online is available via GameCenter, and seems to work about as well as GameCenter ever does.

The game is a free downloaded that is supported by huge ads that take over the entire screen between matches. A one-time 99 cent IAP disables them. Ad support is by no means new, but it seems very invasive in this implementation; we’d rather shrink the board a bit and just have a banner on the screen.

rotex computer wins

Verdict

Rotex is free to try and offers an elegant implementation of a gameplay model that would be almost impossible to reproduce physically – one of the best uses of an iPad for original boardgames. While the app design won’t win any awards and the supersized ads may be offputting, the gameplay is unique enough that any abstract strategy fan should at least give this one a look.

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There are 2 comments

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  1. Jkimmings

    I feel you guys have lost your way. You should be reporting on actual board games, not digital only games. And simply copying the audio from the video as your description…poor show I’m afraid.

  2. James Bruce

    @Jkimmings  As the one who approves reviews, I’ve always said that if it plays like a board game, it’s worth reviewing. Whether it’s digital only really doesn’t matter – if a game was projected digitally onto a table, would that suddenly make it acceptable to you? If a physical version was made after a digital version, then it becomes ok?

    I’m not sure I see your point about the video: the review is written first, then an audio commentary is made from that, for the video. What would you suggest? The intention was to give an alternative – you can read a review with screenshots, or watch it in video form where you get footage of the game too.


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