Admittedly, I seem to be behind the times when it comes to modern-day board games. So when Gameloft announced the release of Blokus [AppStore], it barely registered on my radar, despite its award winning table-top origins.

For anyone else in my position (though I'm sure the majority of you are better informed) a description of Blokus is warranted. A colorful, tetris-like affair, Blokus has you competing against other players to cover more of the board in your tiles than can. The trick is that you have at your disposal 21 differently shaped tiles, which can only connect at the corners-- no adjacent or touching tiles are allowed of your own color or the move is invalid. Each player takes it in turn to play one tile, until players are eventually eliminated by being unable to play a valid turn. Squares are then counted up, with the player owning the most tiles on the board claiming victory.

It's a simple process that evidently has an enormous amount of strategic value for those wishing to understand the nuts and bolts of the gameplay and really get good. Fortunately for the uninitiated, Gameloft have compiled a set of single-player tournaments to teach you the basic strategies and handling of the game. The controls are smartly designed and easy to learn-- tiles are twisted and flipped with intuitive swiping and rotational gestures, and are picked up by simply tapping the tiles in the bottom tray. After mastering the controls, the rest of the single player Tournament mode introduces a number of gameplay variations to keep things interesting, including the two player board game variant, Blokus Duo.

While the single player Tournament mode is challenging enough, offering 6 cups to unlock scaling up to the Legend difficulty, Multiplayer is where the game appears to shine. I say appears because at the time of this writing, I came across no games to join, nor were any that I created populated. This was really a shame, as it is clear that a game as rich in strategy as Blokus supporting up to 4 players simply needs to be played competitively. Gameloft have done a great job facilitating the multiplayer element of Blokus too, offering both an Online mode (WiFi and 3G supported) and a Network mode to connect to your friends.

If you're a fan of the board game, you won't need me to tell you that this is a game that really gets you thinking. You'll soon learn through lots of trial and error (and cursing, as your opponent deftly blocks your entire gameplan) just when and how a particular piece should be played, or how to shut down a particularly aggressive opposing player. It's a great looking, quick-paced game that is perfectly suited to the App Store, and shouldn't require much thought to pick up for those interested in strategic and competitive multiplayer puzzlers.

Here's hoping that more people get on board the online multiplayer system!

App Store Link: Blokus, $4.99.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • starmonkey101

    i got it and i love it. but it really needs pass and play mode and multiplayer on the same device.

    • starmonkey101

      oh wait. thats the same thing... lol hahah

  • starmonkey101

    i got it and i love it. but it really needs pass and play mode and multiplayer on the same device.

    • starmonkey101

      oh wait. thats the same thing... lol hahah

  • shumby

    love the boardgame. has saved numerous camping trips from inclimate weather. my only questions:

    how is the UI? (Peter says it's solid but I'd like some more opinions)

    Is pass n play multiplayer on one device possible?

    • shumby

      Starmonkey with the ninja post. Thanks for clarifying on my 2nd question!

    • http://www.twitter.com/thewindburn Peter L.

      I'll explain the UI in a bit more detail for you guys interested.

      You can see from screenshots that have your assortment of tiles at the bottom of the screen and the game board covers the rest of it. You drag tiles from your caddy on the bottom onto the game board. The only thing here that may not seem apparent at first is that you slide your finger on the bottom of the screen to access your 2nd set of tiles (they don't all fit on 1 screen).

      In order to place a tile just the way you want it, a large circle pops up around the tile with 2 handles protruding from it. Dragging each of the handles allows the tile to be flipped vertically or horizontally, respectively. Sliding your finger within the circle lets the tile be moved around the board, and sliding it outside the circle allows the tile to be rotated.

      It's quick and easy to do, and very simple to get the hang of, which it needs to be as there are timer settings in multiplayer.

      I think they've done a great job on the UI and controls overall, I never felt I was hampered by the small screen display of the iPhone. Having said that, it would be nice to see all your tiles at once, but I guess if you're a really good Blokus strategists you'll have a plan and be familiar with what tiles to use anyway.

      Hope that helps!

    • Andrew

      "inclement"

  • shumby

    love the boardgame. has saved numerous camping trips from inclimate weather. my only questions:

    how is the UI? (Peter says it's solid but I'd like some more opinions)

    Is pass n play multiplayer on one device possible?

    • shumby

      Starmonkey with the ninja post. Thanks for clarifying on my 2nd question!

    • http://www.twitter.com/thewindburn Peter L.

      I'll explain the UI in a bit more detail for you guys interested.

      You can see from screenshots that have your assortment of tiles at the bottom of the screen and the game board covers the rest of it. You drag tiles from your caddy on the bottom onto the game board. The only thing here that may not seem apparent at first is that you slide your finger on the bottom of the screen to access your 2nd set of tiles (they don't all fit on 1 screen).

      In order to place a tile just the way you want it, a large circle pops up around the tile with 2 handles protruding from it. Dragging each of the handles allows the tile to be flipped vertically or horizontally, respectively. Sliding your finger within the circle lets the tile be moved around the board, and sliding it outside the circle allows the tile to be rotated.

      It's quick and easy to do, and very simple to get the hang of, which it needs to be as there are timer settings in multiplayer.

      I think they've done a great job on the UI and controls overall, I never felt I was hampered by the small screen display of the iPhone. Having said that, it would be nice to see all your tiles at once, but I guess if you're a really good Blokus strategists you'll have a plan and be familiar with what tiles to use anyway.

      Hope that helps!

    • Andrew

      "inclement"

  • Martin

    Interesting. I think I'll give this one a shot. Nice write up :)

  • Martin

    Interesting. I think I'll give this one a shot. Nice write up :)

  • http://twitter.com/peterc Peter Cooper

    Looks like a lot of fun but on the iPhone screen it seems very cramped. This would be awesome on the iPad, but they don't seem to have thought about that yet :-(

    • swarmster

      Wow, it's a good thing you said something. Looking at the screenshots and knowing it's a board game, I guess I just assumed it was made for the iPad. Saved me a search through the store.

      Put it on the iPad, allow same-device multiplayer (with smaller playfield and fill-in CPU bots options), and allow me to see all my available pieces on one page, and you have a sale.

      • psyc

        You sure have high-standards for someone who was willing to buy an iPad.

  • http://twitter.com/peterc Peter Cooper

    Looks like a lot of fun but on the iPhone screen it seems very cramped. This would be awesome on the iPad, but they don't seem to have thought about that yet :-(

    • swarmster

      Wow, it's a good thing you said something. Looking at the screenshots and knowing it's a board game, I guess I just assumed it was made for the iPad. Saved me a search through the store.

      Put it on the iPad, allow same-device multiplayer (with smaller playfield and fill-in CPU bots options), and allow me to see all my available pieces on one page, and you have a sale.

      • psyc

        You sure have high-standards for someone who was willing to buy an iPad.

  • John

    I don't get it. Why most gameloft games seems to use way to much space?
    This game would take less than 50mb with the same sprite resolution, is a custom engine or something? If Gameloft games were smaller(I have a 8GB ipod with 2GB for apps) I would certainly buy Blokus+Uno.

  • John

    I don't get it. Why most gameloft games seems to use way to much space?
    This game would take less than 50mb with the same sprite resolution, is a custom engine or something? If Gameloft games were smaller(I have a 8GB ipod with 2GB for apps) I would certainly buy Blokus+Uno.

  • JCat

    I don't understand why they didn't do a Uni-app or even an iPad version. I mean, it's a board game, a no brainer for iPad.

  • JCat

    I don't understand why they didn't do a Uni-app or even an iPad version. I mean, it's a board game, a no brainer for iPad.

  • BazookaTime

    I really want to pick this up but since there is no pass and play, I may hold off. Seems like a perfect fit for the ipad, maybe another version will come out.

  • BazookaTime

    I really want to pick this up but since there is no pass and play, I may hold off. Seems like a perfect fit for the ipad, maybe another version will come out.

  • Adams Immersive

    Great game (the original) but I too would rather jump on a universal version, with pass-and-play. If not, then I’ll hold out for the iPad version.

  • Adams Immersive

    Great game (the original) but I too would rather jump on a universal version, with pass-and-play. If not, then I’ll hold out for the iPad version.

  • Anonymous

    Blokus is an awesome board game. As an app, it works if you are travelling, want to play online with others, or want to hone your skills before a Blokus tourney. However, I'd rather call a few friends over and play on a real board rather than play on an iPad. Same goes for Monopoly. Great if you are travelling or want to hone your skills (no online multiplayer available), but I'd rather play on a real board with real friends. BTW, I do have the Monopoly app. It's great as it helps hone your trade skills for the big tourney!

  • Anonymous

    Blokus is an awesome board game. As an app, it works if you are travelling, want to play online with others, or want to hone your skills before a Blokus tourney. However, I'd rather call a few friends over and play on a real board rather than play on an iPad. Same goes for Monopoly. Great if you are travelling or want to hone your skills (no online multiplayer available), but I'd rather play on a real board with real friends. BTW, I do have the Monopoly app. It's great as it helps hone your trade skills for the big tourney!

  • http://www.underground-collective.com badmanj

    Looks great but for the online multiplayer to succeed they need a large number of players - and to achieve that they need to revise their pricing on this; at $4.99 the idly curious will not give this a go - I would imagine only existing fans of the game are likely to buy it and that's not likely to be enough to make this work for multiplayer.

    Jamie.

    • http://thisgameislame.com Hemm

      If it is award-winning there are probably a lot of fans.

  • http://www.underground-collective.com badmanj

    Looks great but for the online multiplayer to succeed they need a large number of players - and to achieve that they need to revise their pricing on this; at $4.99 the idly curious will not give this a go - I would imagine only existing fans of the game are likely to buy it and that's not likely to be enough to make this work for multiplayer.

    Jamie.

    • http://thisgameislame.com Hemm

      If it is award-winning there are probably a lot of fans.