Quarqa in Review – Math CAN be fun

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I’m a sucker for science fiction settings – it’s the type of novel I read the most, the kinds of movies I enjoy the most, and one of the types of games I’m most often drawn to. Quarqa has a great sci-fi comic book look – which is basically just window dressing for the game itself, but it really helps the overall effect of the game and raises it up from something that might just be ok, to something approaching great.

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From the title screen you can basically do two things – learn how to play the game and choose an opponent. I’ll get into playing the game in a moment, but to select your adversary in the game of Quarqa, you just tap on a character on the title screen. That character will then zoom in, where you’re given some background information about them, along with an estimation of their skill level at the game. You can play against any adversary at any time, as many times as you’d like.

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Once you’ve chosen an adversary, you move on to the game screen. Here you will see a grid of 7×7 squares – each box with a randomly generated number inside. The green numbers are positive, the red ones are negative. The game will also randomly decide who will go first (you or your opponent) as well as who has rows and who has columns. On your turn, it is your task to choose within that row (or column) the number that will maximize your score, while also setting up your opponent to receive the worst score on his next move (the row or column that your opponent must choose from is determined by the number you just chose). The number you selected disappears, so the choices are slowly whittled away until the person with the highest score when there are no moves left is declared the winner.

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There are double points awarded (or subtracted if they are negative) for any number chosen in your row (or column) that has a matching number in that same row (or column). We’re not talking about higher math here – but it does make math fun, when you’re trying to figure out the next few moves you and your opponent might make, and when you’re willing to accept a decrease in your own score to ensure an even greater loss for your opponent. Only if you are victorious are you shown the complete picture beneath the gameboard – usually giving you just a little more behind the scenes look at the scifi setting and the characters who occupy it.

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There are a few problems with Quarqa. First, I didn’t find the opponents to really be that challenging. Only the last one was able to beat me, and even then I’ve had a better than 50% record against him. Secondly, there is only one way to play the game – no options to change around the ‘rules’ of the game – and I can think of a few different alternate types of play just off the top of my head (must end with an even number, must end with an odd number, only negatives, only a certain number of moves, bonus move for getting doubles – allowing the player to move from the columns to the rows). More game modes – as well as the ability to play against other live players both in person and online, would be a great help to the life of Quarqa. At the same time, it’s a fun game that I enjoyed playing, and is certainly worthy of a Grab It rating.

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App Summary
Title:Quarqa (v1.0)Developer:Piraya
Price:$0.99App Size:7.6 MB
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Nice scifi trappings
  • Difficulty level is too easy
  • Not enough gameplay options

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