|Multiplayer:||Pass N' Play|
|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:||
Forgotten Game of Ur (Free)
GD Star RatingForgotten Game of Ur,
Within the ancient city of Ur, archaeologists discovered a game from pre-history, a game with no written rules and no record of its creation. The discoverers called it the Forgotten Game of Ur. It plays surprisingly like backgammon.
A quick disclaimer before I dive headlong into this review, I rather like backgammon. It’s a simple game where, true, luck plays a disproportionately factor in who wins, but that’s the beauty of backgammon, as well as in may games that rely on RNG for their entertainment value. It’s simple, fast, fun, and you don’t need to worry about much beyond praying for a good series of rolls. It’s a great game to play with friends on a lazy day with a margarita in your hands and the sound of the surf gently lapping against the shore. Does the Forgotten Game of Ur conjure up the same feelings? Read on to find out.
Forgotten Game of Ur, admirably, was made with the intent of complicating the essence of backgammon. It’s a noble endeavor, really, and it’s easy to see where the developers were going with this idea. Unfortunately, a few issues mar the overall experience and prevent it from becoming a straight upgrade to the venerable original.
Each player starts off with a handful of pieces with the goal of completing a circuit of the board. Dice rolls dictate how far each piece can move, and landing a piece on an enemy piece destroys it, sending it back to your opponents’ pool to begin the circuit over again.
The game wastes no time in throwing you right into gameplay. There is no start screen, no title, there’s simply the game board and your pieces. The board is a collection of tiles with special effects ranging from immunity from being removed, to stacking pieces for additional power when landing on spaces. Your pieces are simple white and black circles, similar to what you might find in a normal game of backgammon, so don’t expect too much there. It’s barebone, but it does the job decently enough.
This, unfortunately, is the big problem with trying to make such a dice-focused game like backgammon into a more strategic affair, it’s a difficult balancing act. The added complexity of tiles with special effects serves only to make the game state more chaotic, which actually makes things more frustrating in the long term than perhaps a game like this should warrant. Especially when the purpose of specific tiles is opaque, you end up simply playing your pieces in what you assume is the most efficient order, trying to get them all out, but the total level of thought isn’t really there. You can’t plan out your moves too far ahead because the dice roll element is too uncontrollable. The end result is a game that adds little to the core game it’s based on, while making it more difficult to actually understand and enjoy.
Forgotten Game of Ur is a pretty fascinating game with the potential to be a better game. It’s not the worst game you could possibly buy, there are no micro-transactions, it’s a fairly quick game, and there is a two-player option, which is nice. A few technical issues do affect the game, including a lack of sounds despite options in the menu for music and effects, and a lack of text to describe what the actual menu buttons do make actually playing the game at times somewhat frustrating.
The graphics, as I’ve already mentioned, are pretty sparse, with a focus on conserving screen real estate as much as possible. I will hand it to the development team, they did their best to make due with what they had. There is a menu, but it’s four symbols with no text to tell you what they link to. One in particular has a function that I’ve been unable to figure out and seems to have no actual effect on gameplay.
Dice rolls are automatic, which, again, is a fascinating choice for a digital board game. How much satisfaction do players gain from seeing a simulation of their dice rolls rather than simply being given a value by that game and having that dice roll be invisible? Many games have obviously dice-based outcomes. Compared to a game like the adaptation of Space Hulk, or even something on PC like X-COM and you can see that there’s no real need to have your dice portrayed on screen at all.
Forgotten Game of Ur could have been a much better game than it is. It’s not the worst game you could buy, but the best word to describe it would be ‘adequate’. You can play a game to completion without any technical issues cropping up, there is a two-player format, play is pretty fast. Compared to the ocean of games that are literally broken technically, Forgotten Game of Ur is pretty well-developed. How much enjoyment you get out of the game will depend on how much you enjoy games that rely heavily on RNG and the bare minimum of player input.
Check out other great games:
- Quick playtime
- No glaring technical issues
- Barebones features
- Some effects not implemented