Review for The Game of Life - Classic Edition (iPhone, iPod Touch)
Ah, The Game of Life, one of the all time classic board games which many will no doubt have forgotten. Most households probably had a copy of Scrabble, Monopoly and Cluedo, but if they hard another back in the 70s and the 80s, then it would have been this MB Games classic. Now Electronic Arts brings us a version for the iPhone and iPod Touch, complete with a funky 3D board and the joyous clicky spinney wheel.
For those unfamiliar with this ancient board game, it apparently originates from 1860, though the first version in the form we know today appeared in 1960. Basically you all start at the beginning of a road divided into spaces, and by spinning the wheel you move through life stopping at various spaces, some compulsory, some not, working your way through the various stages of life. It's all there, from school to spouse, from work to retirement, with the winner being the richest by the time the last player crosses the line.
Yeah, there's a lot of luck in this game.
There are only two ways to play Game of Life, on your own vs one to three AI players, or a pass-and-play option for multi-player action. I of course use action in the loosest sense of the word, this is a board game after all. Either way you've chosen how many are playing, everyone spins the wheel to decide the playing order.
Each player chooses whether to embark on a career or go to college, as the first of many forks in the road that offer the limited choices that are available in the game. You then spin the wheel to move and off you go moving across spaces until you arrive at the next enforced decision.
The board is very nicely portrayed in 3D, with the option to explore it zooming and and out with the usual pinching mechanism. The further out you get the more 2D it appears, and you can see the whole thing as a simple 2D road map. When your little car moves, the view zooms into a sort of chase cam that follows it across the various squares.
Some squares are only triggered if you land on them, others count even as you pass over them, such as salary type squares. When events are enacted on the screen via dialog boxes that pop up and give you options or inform you of decisions you can make, things are kept very fast moving and can even be sped up if you wish to completely skip the AI goes.
Of course at any time you can pause to change the settings, read about the various tiles in the help section, or quit. You might want to drop in there and turn off the jolly music if you find it annoyingly inoffensive. Like most games you can choose to play music from your own library, if you have something more fitting to Life.
However as nice as everything is presented, the best thing about this game is the implementation of the spinner. The authors, UK Studio, have done a tremendous job simulating the wheel. Okay perhaps it's a little smoother than the one I used to own, but the general annoyance of it never landing where you hoped it would, and sometimes leaving itself hanging desperately on to a 1 when you wanted a 10, is all very much there.
Game of Life is a fantastic implementation of a classic board game, which is always good fun to play once every few years with friends and family alike. Alas that is where the problem with this sets in, it really lacks the replay value of a title like Monopoly, because so much of it is based on luck. Sure decisions you make can have a real effect on the outcome, however knowing what sort of effect they'd have would require you to know exactly how lucky or not you were going to be down the road.
I'd buy this for a bit of nostalgia at 59p, but above this and suddenly you wonder if it really will stay on your phone long enough to justify the price. Definitely one to get in a sale, or if you love the game to death.
- Pretty 3D board view
- Realistic spinning wheel
- Supports Retina display
- Supports instant switching (multi-tasking)
- Multi-player pass and play
- Not much long term appeal