Early in the Xbox 360’s life there were plenty of 400 Microsoft Point games regularly arriving on Xbox Live Arcade. As development budgets get bigger and downloadable games get more ambitious, we’re starting to see fewer and fewer. That’s not to say that Denki Software’s Quarrel isn’t ambitious, however. Simply trying to strike up a publishing deal for it provided a sizeable challenge.
It’s not a surprise that publishers were frosty at first. It’s quite a hard game to describe, being a sort of mixture of the board games Scrabble and Risk. Or Words With Friends meets Advance Wars, if you’re more familiar with those two. The idea is to claim every piece of land on an island by forming a higher scoring word than your rival.
During some game modes you only have twenty seconds or so to form a word from a set of eight random letters, while other modes have no time limit. If both players create a word that’s worth an equal amount of points then whoever was quickest gets to claim a piece of land.
Quarrel’s genius comes in different strokes. Firstly, the more soldiers – which range from ninjas to robots – you have on your piece of land, the longer the word you can create sildenafil generique. Secondly, between rounds you can move your squads about to reinforce positions, in order to spell out longer words if the enemy tries to take that land away from you. This gives the game a deep tactical vibe as you always need to bare in mind what your opponent’s next move might be. You can also call in reinforcements after you’ve cracked a few anagrams which can help turn the tide of a match in your favour.
The difficulty level is superb as your IQ is adjusted according to the size and score of the words that you’re forming. One of the only real downers is that there’s a block on certain words. It uses the Scrabble dictionary so country names are not allowed. Microsoft also has a list of words that aren’t allowed to be used in any game including obvious swear words and not quite so obvious words such as ‘shaft’. It may sound a little trivial here, but when you’re playing and words keep being rejected, it can give the opposition the advantage. We also came across a few little glitches – mostly with sound effects – but fortunately they don’t spoil the experience.
There are a few different modes to play through including a challenge mode and an island-hopping domination mode where you face multiple opponents at once. There’s also online multiplayer – something the iOS original was lacking.
There’s no arguing that for the few pounds that it costs, Quarrel is quite the bargain. It’s utterly charming too thanks to the twee sounds the South Park-style characters make and amusing snippets on the loading screens. “War, what is it good for? Eight points!”
Shall we spell it out for you? B-U-Y.