conqAR

conqAR – Game Review (iOS)

ConqAR is an AR take on the classic Tic-Tac-Toe game. I used to play it with paper and pencil when I was a kid. I stopped showing my interest in this game because if you know which move to make, you either end the game in a draw or win if the other player has no idea what he or she is doing.

About the Gameplay

There is no need to talk about the rules I guess, but I’ll do it anyway. conqAR can be played against an AI or against another player on the same Wi-Fi or hotspot.

Each side has its own soldiers with a different color, either blue or red. The game has a 3×3 grid. Each player needs to place one soldier at a time on the hover-pads to create a line of 3 to win the match. The game can also end with a draw if all the hover-pads are occupied and no line of 3 soldiers of the same color was created.

Can you lose in Tic-Tac-Toe?

Visuals & Augmented Reality Experience

First of all, let’s talk visuals. The game presentation is quite nice, I mean for a tic-tac-toe game. It’s interesting seeing those hovering pads floating in mid-air using boosters

The soldiers look bad though. Animated and more expressive units could make the game feel more cheerful and fun to watch.

I also liked the nice flame burst effect when the game ends, it looks nice.

The AR initialization is different than other augmented reality games that I’ve played before. The game asks you to aim the camera 10cm above surface. This felt definitely like the most awkward surface scan process I have ever encountered, and I am saying that not in a positive way. The idea is for the hover-pads to float around 10cm above the surface where you want to play the game, I guess.

I tried spawning it on the carpet or on the floor which has good texture, inside a well-lit room, but the game wasn’t able to lock on it. to have better detection, the game asks you to use a photo, something with more defined lines.

I first tried it with the air-conditioning remote controller, but because the detection area was small compared to the game’s size, it was jittery as hell. I then used a flyer from the place I am staying in Japan and it locked on it perfectly. The game is about 30x30cm in size, pretty small. You don’t need an image that big, I used an A4 paper with a black image covering most of the page and it works just fine.

Playing versus an AI Opponent

The AI was probably one of the more stupid AI opponents that I got to play in a game. It’s like the AI put his soldier in a random place each time. There was one funny moment where the enemy could have won, and I’ve decided to put my soldier in another place that can end the game in the next turn.

What the AI did was to block my line instead of creating its own 3-soldier line and win the game. The game ended in a draw at the end and it was a funny moment to behold.

This tic-tac-toe game wasn’t an amazing strategy game to start with, but I was expecting the AR to play a little bit better than it how it did 🙂

Conclusion

The nice game presentation of conqAR doesn’t really help this game. Even with a super-smart AI, against a player who knows what he is doing, there isn’t a lot of strategy in it.

The game is still boring and could be more fun with a larger matrix that could have created a more interesting game, maybe with a 4-line winning condition.

You can safely pass this game, although it’s free.

Download conqAR free for iOS from the App Store here.

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