Connect 4 is a game I remember from my pre-school days as a device to put checkers in, and then you empty them out all over the floor. Of course that is not the proper way to handle this plastic piece of blue equipment with red and yellow checkers from Hasbro. Now some 25 years later I know how to properly play the game but then it is kind of too late. Or is it? Well I have seen a lot of versions of the connect four game in the App Store but now Connect 4 has been published by Electronic Arts to bring the real deal. At $2.99 we can now play a simulation of the classic game on our iPhones and iPod Touches.
There is a classic mode that is a recreation of the basic game with nothing extra or frivolous. With three different difficulty levels you can get a real challenge just playing the AI in this mode. Touch where you want the checker to drop, and it does. Simple and easy controls for a simple to learn and hard to master game. You have to place four checkers in a row in any direction, and stop the opponent from doing the same. Just like in chess it takes some planning, and ability to change game plan depending on the opponents moves.
There are also an advanced mode with Powerchips, Max Score and PopOut. With powers added to the checkers the game demands a completely new way to strategise. Powers include bomb checkers, heavy smash checkers and double point checkers. The mode I play the most though is the Challenge mode where you have to complete 16 different challenges with their own unique objectives. I found it really neat to find new ways to beat the opponent while at the same time completing the current objective.
Multiplayer is a big part of the package with pass n play, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi multiplayer. The pass ‘n play is really fun as it lets you play the game with a friend without having to drag the actual board game out. I have yet to find anyone to play against using Wi-Fi as there doesn’t seem to be any open games to connect to. I don’t really understand how the match up system works. Are people sitting around waiting for anyone to join their game? I can’t see any real lobby. For now I guess Wi-Fi isn’t really a major selling point. And if there isn’t any way to play your friends you might just as well play against the AI.
The graphics are quite good with some cool visual effects when you create a match. Overall I really enjoy the bright feel of the game, and having the checkers with eyes and mouths make them really cheerful as mascots for the game. Some slowdowns can be seen even on my 3GS when I enter some menus, especially the Challenge mode menu.
The music is boring soft elevator muzak electronica, well you know what I mean. The kind of music that you rather turn off, and thankfully the game lets you play your own music. The sound effects are really good with the sounds of checkers falling against a table as the menu selection sound as my personal highlight.
Gamelife is good for any board game, and Connect 4 also comes with 25 achievements to unlock. The challenge mode demands that you complete a challenge to unlock new ones.
Connect 4 is a really polished recreation of a classic game, and the added Challenge mode stand out as a selling point for me. A big warning goes out to all 3G and other devices prior to the 3GS as loads of reports tell of crashes making the game unplayable. I have yet to confirm it myself, but I rather be safe than sorry with my recommendations. My score is only for the 3GS, and I urge users of any other device to wait for an update to Connect 4. I will also update the review once an update renders the game playable on all devices. That is a shame as large companies like EA should have better resources to test quality on all devices. I can fully recommend Connect 4 as a good time waster, and great pass ‘n play game for those in the mood for some classic childhood gaming. Playing by yourself will get repetive after a while, and basically all new game modes are inferior to the classic mode in the long run.
Connect 4 $2.99
Seller: Electronic Arts