Tag Archive: Quarrel

THE BUZZ: The popular iOS game Quarrel that was ported to XBLA last week has revealed a curious feature in the Xbox Live Arcade that no one was privy to before.

EGM’S TAKE: The feature in question is a word filter for all Xbox Live games that really comes into play with Quarrel as the entire game revolves around using words to conquer territories a la Risk.

I personally had taken note of this phenomenon in my review of the game, which you can see here, when I was wondering why the word “SATURN” had been denied me, especially since I had the family filter off and was able to use some more crude words later on in the game dealing with human anatomy (if the family filter is on, those words are removed as well). I had chalked it up possibly to human error somehow or that maybe just being a proper noun was enough to get it tossed, but I really didn’t see a problem with the sixth planet from the sun being used.

But it seems that I wasn’t alone as gamers have been complaining on the game’s forums since its release that words like “dice”, “start”, “help”, and “train” are among the many other common, harmless words strangely omitted from the game’s vocabulary. In an official statement, Gary Penn who works for Quarrel developer Denki mentioned “Microsoft has an additional filter in place for all Xbox Live games, which we have to support.”

This statement alludes to many reports we’ve heard over recent months of some of the ridiculous hoops developers sometimes have to jump through to get their game onto the Xbox Live Arcade, but a word filter like this for a word game seems particularly ludicrous. Maybe someone at Microsoft can “help” me understand this better, but they have yet to make a statement regarding the matter so until then fellow Quarrel fans, just take note when attempting “word domination”.

Become a Vocabulary Assassin

Remember all those vocabulary tests and SAT Prep courses in high school that attempted to expand your language skills? Me neither. But if I did, they sure would probably come in handy with Quarrel. Originally for iOS, the XBLA port of Quarrel maintains the original’s Words with Friends wordplay addictiveness and its Risk style strategy. Now, though, the game has four single-player modes, including 12 different boards, a variety of difficult board-based challenges and match stipulations, and nine distinct AI opponents, to go along with its 2-4 player online versus mode. Not to mention the inclusion of your Xbox Avatar into your game icon.

The purpose of Quarrel is to eliminate your opponents and conquer the entire game board. At the start of the game, depending on the number of players, the board is divided up evenly, with each space being occupied by 4-6 of your troops. In order to conquer a territory, you must attack a neighboring space to one of your already occupied spots. In order to conquer this space though, you must form a word in a limited time worth a higher score than the word your opponent forms when revealed eight semi-random letters. Depending on how many troops you are attacking/defending with, determines how many letters you can use, with no more than eight and no fewer than two ever being available at a time. There are so many more nuances to the game though that strategy truly does reign supreme as you get further into the game. You can take prisoners, call in reinforcements just before a battle, or even earn more points towards reinforcements when other players are battling and you are on the sidelines.

There are a couple of minor drawbacks to the game though. Some words are not recognized by the game, including some interesting proper nouns. Like I tried to use the word “SATURN” and found out the hard way that the sixth planet from the sun would not be accepted. A minor inconvenience to be sure, but now that the game is using the joystick or d-pad to select and de-select letters, it can be a bit more time consuming when trying to fix a misspelled or unacceptable word in the time limit, compared to when you could use the iOS touch screen before.

The game also starts to lose its luster a bit when playing against the computer constantly, especially in the earlier matches of each mode so if you can’t get a couple of your friends hooked on this game it might be something that slowly drifts to the backburner of your gaming priorities.

Despite this though, the game for the most part is very fun. The cute little critters who serve as your troops and bash your opponents into oblivion with their letter cards when you win are very enjoyable and I love the fact that with each word you and your opponents makes, you see the definition come across the bottom of the screen telling you what it means. I had no idea that a “KO” was a New Zealand gardening tool similar to a hoe until I played Quarrel. If only I had this game around back when I was studying for those SATs, I might have actually retained some knowledge. On top of this, it also gives you the 8-letter anagram each random assortment of letters can make, really doing its best to trick you into expanding your vocabulary while you play the game.

The best and most surprising part about Quarrel though may be its price. Coming in at only 400 MSP (about five dollars), if you are a fan of word games, strategy games, or board games, Quarrel is a fantastic bargain if you’re looking for that next great product in any of those genres. I was really pleasantly surprised at the tremendous amount of content I was able to get for such a small price and even more pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had with it. If you’re looking for something to workout your mental muscles and don’t want the commitment of a plot driven game, then I can’t more highly recommend Quarrel.

SUMMARY: Quarrel is an addictive and fun strategy game that might actually trick you into learning a few things as you attempt to go for “Word Domination”.

  • THE GOOD: The addictiveness of Words with Friends with the strategy of Risk
  • THE BAD: Can lose its luster if you don’t have friends who play the game as well
  • THE UGLY: The look on your face after realizing the computer is smarter than you

SCORE: 9.0

Quarrel is available on Xbox 360 (XBLA) and iOS at the time of this review. Primary version reviewed was on Xbox 360.