It doesn't surprise me that Stinkbot's Sumo [App Store] game has been seemingly ignored in the iTunes Store.

The title of the game likely attracts those looking for an action packed Sumo-wrestling game when in actuality Sumo is a card-based strategy game.

Unlike the numerous puzzle game clones out there, this one is an original game concept that was birthed as a Shockwave game in 1997. The Shockwave game reportedly gained a bit of a following and was later ported to the Palm. Fortunately for us, the developers have ported the game to the iPhone and priced it at a fair $2.99.

I suspect that card players (Hearts, Bridge) will take to the game most quickly. In essence, Sumo is a card game with a specialized deck of tiles. Tiles are numbed 0 through 5 and there are 5 of each numbered tile in the deck. This gives you a total of 30 tiles.

Each player (you vs. the computer) gets dealt a 5 tile hand. You are each also represented by a Sumo wrestler on the screen. Each player alternates taking turns by selecting a tile and choosing to move forward or backward. Your Sumo wrestler will move forward the corresponding number of steps and you can't move past the other Sumo wrestler.

If you wish to "attack" the other Sumo wrestler, you simply play a tile that will move you to the exact same spot as the other Sumo wrestler. When "attacking" you can select multiple tiles of the same value to strengthen your attack. The defending Sumo wrestler can successfully hold his position only if he is holding the same tiles used, otherwise he will be thrown back.

In the end, this is a game of position. The game ends when a Sumo wrestler is pushed out of bounds or has the best (most advanced) position after the 30 tiles are dealt.

While the game sounds rather simple, once you start keeping track of which tiles have been played, it becomes clear how your strategy may change depending on the outstanding tiles.

I found myself playing this game again and again and highly recommend it. My only real disappointment with the game is the inability to play against other people. At present, this is an entertaining and addictive game of solitaire.

In the future, however, I could easily see this becoming a very popular online tournament game. While Stinkbot has revealed to us that a multiplayer version is in the plans, it will have to wait until Apple releases background/push notifications which is due in September. While a few other minor issues remain (awkward dialog boxes, for example), these are expected to be addressed in a future release and don't detract significantly from the gameplay.

This video shows a full match (first player to 80 points):

Game Details
Name: Sumo (v1.0.1) Price: 2.99 [Buy]
Developer: Stinkbot, LLC.
Size: 0.8MB
In Brief: Sumo is an original and addictive strategy game played against the computer. Card players, in particular, will likely take to this highly recommended game.

TouchArcade Rating

  • ken

    I like seeing this sort of write-up on toucharcade. This looks like a game that I would enjoy playing (especially at its reasonable price), and even though it looks like its been out for a while, I would never have known about it had I not seen it covered here. I also think the game-play videos that you provide, help to really show off the feel of the game. This (among other reasons) is why I have toucharcade bookmarked.

  • ken

    I like seeing this sort of write-up on toucharcade. This looks like a game that I would enjoy playing (especially at its reasonable price), and even though it looks like its been out for a while, I would never have known about it had I not seen it covered here. I also think the game-play videos that you provide, help to really show off the feel of the game. This (among other reasons) is why I have toucharcade bookmarked.

  • http://www.GalleyTech.com/ Galley

    It does look interesting, but the endless dialog boxes would really be annoying.

  • http://www.GalleyTech.com/ Galley

    It does look interesting, but the endless dialog boxes would really be annoying.

  • Terry

    I agree wholeheartedly with the other poster. I really like that these non-traditional games are reviewed. It allows people to get a feel for what other non-mainstream games are available. That's why I keep coming back to TourchArcade.

  • Terry

    I agree wholeheartedly with the other poster. I really like that these non-traditional games are reviewed. It allows people to get a feel for what other non-mainstream games are available. That's why I keep coming back to TourchArcade.

  • http://iphonesumo.com rob

    Thanks for the review!

    Galley: we're removing the dialog boxes. The transparency slows the animations and interrupts the flow of the game.

  • http://iphonesumo.com rob

    Thanks for the review!

    Galley: we're removing the dialog boxes. The transparency slows the animations and interrupts the flow of the game.

  • http://www.funkelectric.com funkelectric

    Hi Rob, thanks to ear it! :)

  • http://www.funkelectric.com funkelectric

    Hi Rob, thanks to ear it! :)

  • http://populationstatistic.com/ CT

    @rob: Hallelujah on nixing those dialogue boxes! Easily the worst aspect of the game.

    I discovered Sumo! just after the App Store launched, while searching through the then-modest amount of games. To date, it's the only App I've actually paid for, so that should tell you I was charmed enough by it (and by a "trial run" of the Shockwave original) to plunk down money for it.

    That said, there are still quite a few bug fixes to go. Current version 1.0.1 was in improvement over the original 1.0 in that it made Sumo! actually playable -- before, the computer would easily back you onto your end of the bridge, and if you didn't have the right-numbered card to move back or forward, you were stuck. That and other things were fixed, but what remains broken:

    - The above glitch still happens to the computer player, although it's rare because the computer tends not to retreat all the way to his end.

    - The computer gets an "extra turn" after he completes a successful attack.

    - You can use multiple same-numbered cards to move forward or back, instead of being limited to just one when not attacking (this can actually be employed as a strategy, i.e. dumping a bunch of cards in a move exhausts the deck and ends the round before the computer can make more moves... But I doubt that's the intent).

    - Scoring still seems way off. In particular, if you end a round with a successful attack, the final tally counts where the thrown player was before he was tossed back, not where he lands.

    - Remaining number of cards in the deck is off when it gets down to the final 2-3 cards.

    - Not sure about the "get to 80" rule for winning a match. It seems to vary.

    - Overall stability: Especially when music is playing, it can take a couple of tries to get the game to successfully load.

    Looking forward to all this being corrected in v1.0.2!

  • http://populationstatistic.com/ CT

    @rob: Hallelujah on nixing those dialogue boxes! Easily the worst aspect of the game.

    I discovered Sumo! just after the App Store launched, while searching through the then-modest amount of games. To date, it's the only App I've actually paid for, so that should tell you I was charmed enough by it (and by a "trial run" of the Shockwave original) to plunk down money for it.

    That said, there are still quite a few bug fixes to go. Current version 1.0.1 was in improvement over the original 1.0 in that it made Sumo! actually playable -- before, the computer would easily back you onto your end of the bridge, and if you didn't have the right-numbered card to move back or forward, you were stuck. That and other things were fixed, but what remains broken:

    - The above glitch still happens to the computer player, although it's rare because the computer tends not to retreat all the way to his end.

    - The computer gets an "extra turn" after he completes a successful attack.

    - You can use multiple same-numbered cards to move forward or back, instead of being limited to just one when not attacking (this can actually be employed as a strategy, i.e. dumping a bunch of cards in a move exhausts the deck and ends the round before the computer can make more moves... But I doubt that's the intent).

    - Scoring still seems way off. In particular, if you end a round with a successful attack, the final tally counts where the thrown player was before he was tossed back, not where he lands.

    - Remaining number of cards in the deck is off when it gets down to the final 2-3 cards.

    - Not sure about the "get to 80" rule for winning a match. It seems to vary.

    - Overall stability: Especially when music is playing, it can take a couple of tries to get the game to successfully load.

    Looking forward to all this being corrected in v1.0.2!

  • http://iphonesumo.com rob

    By the way, everyone, we're using http://stinkbot.zendesk.com for technical support right now. Feel free to use that system to report bugs. We like killing bugs.

    CT: The new "extra turn" bug was fixed a few days ago. There's a 1.0.2 update in the queue at Apple. Thanks for the bug report -- seems like we have more work to do! Today I will try to duplicate all of the other bugs you've listed and get another release into the queue ASAP. Weird, though, I've never had trouble playing music with Sumo on -- could you please create a ticket on our support site and let me know which model of phone you have?

    Regarding the multiple tile bug: it wasn't that way in 1.0, so we somehow broke that recently. It's definitely not intentional.

    The goal of the current work is to remove the slow dialog boxes (replacing them with quicker alternatives), clean up the scoring display, and make it generally clearer what's happening/what just happened at the end of the bout/match.

    Thanks for all the feedback!

  • http://iphonesumo.com rob

    By the way, everyone, we're using http://stinkbot.zendesk.com for technical support right now. Feel free to use that system to report bugs. We like killing bugs.

    CT: The new "extra turn" bug was fixed a few days ago. There's a 1.0.2 update in the queue at Apple. Thanks for the bug report -- seems like we have more work to do! Today I will try to duplicate all of the other bugs you've listed and get another release into the queue ASAP. Weird, though, I've never had trouble playing music with Sumo on -- could you please create a ticket on our support site and let me know which model of phone you have?

    Regarding the multiple tile bug: it wasn't that way in 1.0, so we somehow broke that recently. It's definitely not intentional.

    The goal of the current work is to remove the slow dialog boxes (replacing them with quicker alternatives), clean up the scoring display, and make it generally clearer what's happening/what just happened at the end of the bout/match.

    Thanks for all the feedback!

  • Chris Bennett

    Why is this being noted as "original" when you even note in the review that it came out over 10 years ago. I played it then and had a lot of fun with it. But it's certainly not original. It's just a port.

  • Chris Bennett

    Why is this being noted as "original" when you even note in the review that it came out over 10 years ago. I played it then and had a lot of fun with it. But it's certainly not original. It's just a port.

  • arn

    I guess I meant that this is a game concept that originated from these developers. It's not just another sudoku or match-three variant. "Sumo" as a game is original.

    Unless you've specifically played "Sumo", you've never played this game before.

  • arn

    I guess I meant that this is a game concept that originated from these developers. It's not just another sudoku or match-three variant. "Sumo" as a game is original.

    Unless you've specifically played "Sumo", you've never played this game before.

  • http://populationstatistic.com/ CT

    @rob: I've just submitted the ticket on that music playback problem. For the record, I'm running Sumo! on an iPod Touch. Feel free to tap me for more feedback.

    One additional possible bug: the computer player still seems to be starting some rounds closer to center-bridge. This might not be the case -- those darn dialogue popups often obscure when the computer is making his first move...

  • http://populationstatistic.com/ CT

    @rob: I've just submitted the ticket on that music playback problem. For the record, I'm running Sumo! on an iPod Touch. Feel free to tap me for more feedback.

    One additional possible bug: the computer player still seems to be starting some rounds closer to center-bridge. This might not be the case -- those darn dialogue popups often obscure when the computer is making his first move...

  • arn

    @CT yeah, the computer player does often get their first move out before the dialogs are gone.

    arn

  • arn

    @CT yeah, the computer player does often get their first move out before the dialogs are gone.

    arn

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  • Kevin B

    I like the game, but it appears to be an uncredited remake of a card game that came out in 1993, En Garde.

  • Kevin B

    I like the game, but it appears to be an uncredited remake of a card game that came out in 1993, En Garde.