The Average Gamer

Quarrel Review (XBLA)

If you own any kind of iOS device, you’re probably fully aware that Quarrel is the ideal word game. I hope so, at least, since if you don’t own Quarrel on your phone already you’ve ostensibly bought a paperweight. Quarrel’s so good that it completely justifies that massive monetary commitment. It’s a cheap word game that is good enough to explain your £500 phone purchase. If you want to show your mum that we’re now living in the future you can boot up a game of Quarrel as shorthand for a proper explanation. Quarrel is the Resident Evil 4 of Competitive Word Games.

Quarrel’s really bloody good.

For the unconverted, it’s a combination of Risk and Scrabble, but it retains all the fun of both and dispenses with the downsides. Risk is too slow and can ultimately fall apart due to chance. Quarrel rewards tactical skill and planning. Scrabble can limit you to whatever bad hand of letters you’ve grabbed from the bag. In Quarrel, you have access to the same letters as your opponent; you just might not be able to use all of them.

A Quarrel match takes place on a board divided into territories. Each of these is populated by varying numbers of units. When you want to take over another area you and your opponent battle using 8 letters that form an anagram. If you’ve got 8 units you can try to spell the entire word; any less and you have to make do with fewer letters and hope the other dude has a worse ability than you.

That’s the core conceit. It’s wrapped up in bright colours and interesting character designs for the units. If Denki had simply ported the game over from iOS to XBLA it would have remained wonderful but not seemed like a worthwhile investment since there’s an increased cost. Thankfully they’ve added an incredibly viable multiplayer mode which was offensively missing from the initial release.

There are some slight issues with controlling on a pad, like how the same button to confirm a move is the same button that will completely end your turn, so double clicking it can accidentally leave you ill prepared at the end of a round. That’s an absolutely tiny complaint when measured up to the countless successes that Quarrel makes.

Quarrel’s an excellent buy if you don’t already own the iOS version and still reasonable if you do.

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