Tsuro – The Game of the Path in Review – Electronic Board Gaming Done Right

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I’m not sure why, but for some reason I find it kind of amusing that as our society seems to drift more and more towards spending our entire day on electronic devices, some developers go out of their way to make that experience have the “old school” feel of classic physical entertainment.  Such is the case with Tsuro – The Game of the Path, an iOS game based off of a physical board game that does its best to imitate that board game on your pixel covered screen.  The thing is, that’s one of its strongest design elements.  That’s not to belittle the actual game play in any way, as it is an extremely fun game.  I just don’t think it would have been nearly as appealing if they would have just taken the “essence” of the game and tried to modernize it for the millennial generation.

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Tsuro is a game for 1 to 8 players, and by that I literally mean you can play it by yourself without any other human or computer opponents.  However, I would not recommend this – the AI is pretty decent, and it’s really not that fun playing on your own.  If you crave the ability to crush human opponents but don’t have anyone in your immediate vicinity, you can hook up with other players via Game Center or Facebook.  Game Center only allows you to play against one other player, while Facebook supports the whole cast of 8 adversaries.  Once you’ve established who all will be playing you need to pick a game type, which includes longest path, most loops and last stone standing (I added the standing, but it just sounds cooler in my opinion).

Once you’ve established the rules and participants it is time to get down to business.  The idea is that you have to place tiles on the board to advance your token around the playing field.  You want to make sure you keep your stone from moving off the edge of the board, and if you can swing it you want to set things up so that you force your opponents into that fate.  Of course you can win without resorting to making your opponents leave the board, but it’s much more satisfying when you accomplish that bonus.  Just keep in mind that based on the criteria for winning, you can run all your opponents off the board yet still lose if the rules are longest path or most loops.  So first and foremost you’ll want to concentrate on the requirements for being victorious.

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You will always have three tiles that you can place on the board.  Tap and hold one and it will show you how you will be affected when you place it on the board.  If you want to use a tile but don’t like its orientation then you can quickly tap it to rotate it 90 degrees.  If you have a non-incriminating tile you can place and you accidentally select one that would cause you to move off the board the game will be nice enough to warn you as well.  Jumping into a multiplayer game is as simple as choosing the Game Center or Play Online icons on the game setup screen and the following the prompts.  The game is well set up, easy to follow and a breeze to play.  Winning, on the other hand, will depend a lot on the skill of your opponents.  The game does offer two leaderboards via Game Center, one for the longest path and another for most number of loops.  There are also 55 achievements to earn.

I’ve not played the physical board game, but based on the screen shots from Amazon the visuals look like they are faithfully represented, and they look good.  Of course being an electronic game allows for a few effects to be thrown in, but they aren’t used in overabundance like you might see in an action game.  There are some nice special effects, especially when it comes to things like rotating the tiles and moving the pieces.  The background music has a lovely Eastern flare to it, which fits quite well with the overall theme of the visuals.  Not only is this a wonderful game from a game play perspective, but it has top notch aesthetics as well.

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I highly recommend Tsuro, especially if you are a fan of board games, whether they be physical or electronic.  The game is simple to learn yet provides a decent amount of strategy to keep you engaged.  Between the ability to have up to eight players and to play online you should never be lacking for challenging opponents.  The game does a good job of visually representing its IP while adding a bit of extra flair and the overall package is just extremely well done.  It’s a great way to keep your family engaged with each other while still spending time on an electronic device, and it will ensure that you don’t accidentally lose any of the tiles or stones.  I just hope that one of these days they decide to put the sequel on the App Store.

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App Summary
Title: Tsuro – The Game of the PathDeveloper: Thunderbox Entertainment
Reviewed Ver:1.3Min OS Req: iOS 7.0
Price:$4.99App Size:66.71MB
  • Simple to play, challenging to master
  • Can play up to 8 players local or online
  • Looks and sounds great
  • Runs on an iPad 2
  • 8 player online requires Facebook

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  • RustySabre

    So I need to make a slight addendum to my review. It appears that you can have up to 8 players on the Game Center side as well. As a side note, you can even have multiple Game Center games going at the same time. Unfortunately, you have to kill the local game you might be playing in order to play one or more of your Game Center games. Still, if you don’t have anyone local to play with, Game Center is a great alternative to playing against the AI.

    This of course doesn’t change much potentially, as I already gave the game a Kiss It rating, but I just thought you should know.

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