Animal Kingdom in Review – doesn’t matter if you’re black or white

Animal Kingdom 1Animal Kingdom is kind of like Chess mixed with rock/paper/scissors. From the introduction screen, you’re shown in what order a piece can take another – each one has a ranking and it can only take a piece under it in value – just like rock/paper/scissors. But like Chess, Animal Kingdom is deceptively deep, with lots of strategy involved if you want to emerge victorious.

Animal Kingdom 2

App Description

Animal Kingdom is an easy-to-learn, easy-to-play board game with beautiful graphics and animations. It’s based on a traditional Chinese board game, Dou Shou Qi (斗兽棋). We didn’t change the rules, but completely re-designed the look of the game! It is joyful by simply watching how pieces move around on the board.

You’re asked to choose which side you want to play as from the opening screen – and it doesn’t really matter which side you choose. At this point, you can also choose to play it single player (meaning against the computer) or against a friend (but one who’s sitting next to you, not over an internet connection). There are also five levels of computer difficulty to play against; Beginner, Easy, Normal, Hard, and Professional. I don’t think I ever lost playing Beginner, but it was a great way to get used to the game.  Normal was where I first started to feel challenged – though soon enough I felt like I was beating that one each time. So I moved on to Hard – and I haven’t won a match yet. I can’t even imagine the difficulty in Professional.

Animal Kingdom 3

So, there’s no doubt this isn’t a game you’ll feel like you’ve beaten in half a day – so long as you understand that this is a board game of sorts. The pieces are wonderfully animated and move around the board so fluidly, I can even enjoy watching my guys get pummeled by my computer opponent. There are also some special moves, where certain pieces can jump over the open tiles in the middle of the board, or others can hide there and wait for the right time to pop out and strike. You ultimate goal is to get to the ‘base’ of the opposite side – the square with the symbol upon it surrounded by three spaces with circles. Those circles are your last minute ‘save’ – any piece that has landed on a circle space can be attacked by any other piece; thought it’s important to remember that’s just as true if your piece lands on that space in your home turf as well.

Animal Kingdom 4Some of the things that I want to see in Animal Kingdom are coming soon according to the developer. Sound was added in a recent update, and in the next release is supposed to be Bluetooth play mode (though I’d really like to see it done via wifi) and new game boards – both of which I think will really round out this gaming experience. That said, it’s an easy game to recommend grabbing – and with a Lite version you can even try it out for free.

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App Summary
Title:Animal Kingdom (v1.2)Developer:Sleeping Heroes
Price:$0.99App Size:5.0 MB
  • Great blend of Chess and Rock/Paper/Scissors
  • Nicely animated game pieces
  • Currently no plans for playing against live opponents over the internet

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