Me and my colleagues at The Koalition have played Words With Friends religiously over the course of 2011, it’s so been so competitive that we’ve had numerous cursing matches on Skype over it. Now I shouldn’t be talking about that game during a Quarrel review, but the point I am trying to make here in opening – is that Quarrel would be The Koalition’s number one mobile grudge game if it came with multiplayer.
Quarrel plays a lot like a board game; in fact I believe it was made to be a board game originally if I’m not mistaken. The mix of Risk style strategy and Scrabble like word assembly is mashed-up in a very unique but addictive manner. The objective of Quarrel is to command your choice of troops (mine were Ninja’s) and take over all enemy territories on the map by winning word based battles (known as Quarrel’s). You will be facing off with up to three A.I players at a time, and trust me when I say that some of them are very annoying, I yelled at A.I character Damien as if he were playing right next to me. Perhaps that’s why the absence of multiplayer isn’t too much of a concern for the moment because each of the A.I characters has their own personality and level of intelligence that makes matches feel authentic.
Matches in Quarrel are turn based, and each round allows you to either move your troops around to different blocks to beef up your defences, or attack enemy positions head on in an attempt to take over their blocks. Attacking or being attacked opens up the battle sequence, which players of Scrabble (or Words with Friends) should feel at home with. In each battle you and your opponent will be given an eight word anagram, but you win the battle by constructing the highest scoring word out of you and your opponent. Your scores will often be tied, which brings on my biggest annoyance with Quarrel. Should you and your opponent tie for score, the game will choose the winner of the battle by whoever constructed their word the quickest, which is all fine and dandy apart from the fact some characters are stupidly quick at constructing their words. If a Quarrel is won you will take over the enemies block, should you lose they will take over yours, if the attacker is the one that loses then the enemy will take a prisoner from the opposing team to fight for them.
As much as this game is about words, it’s also about numbers. Numbers matter in Quarrel in a number of ways (see what I did there?), the more troops you have on your blocks the better chance you stand at out-scoring your opponents in a Quarrel. Example: say a player attacks you and they have five players on their block and you only have two… yep you guessed it you’re screwed – unless you manage to make a two-letter word with an odd letter like a Z or a J in it – which could possibly outscore you’re opponents five word concoction. The number of troops you have is a huge factor when trying to dominate a map; and of course numbers are also important when putting words together. As with games like Scrabble, each letter is assigned a score – with nouns scoring less and odd letters (as described previously) scored higher. In a Quarrel you are usually timed (unless you are in quick match mode), so not only must you find a word to use based on the letters given to you, but you must also add up the letter scores to ensure you make the highest scoring word possible (based on how many troops you have).
You can also build up extra troops by capturing enemy treasure, and this can be done during A.I Vs. A.I Quarrels. You’re not expected to just sit there holding your iPhone like a lemon whilst the A.I are duking it out with each other, no.. during these times you can have your own attempt at the anagram and based on your score you can build up some treasure for yourself. After every round you are automatically given some new troops on you’re blocks, so strategic planning is required to get the edge.
Quarrel sounds like a simple game, but really you’ll find yourself having some pretty epic matches. There are a couple different modes to take part in too. There’s Quick Match, which does what it says on the tin. Domination is basically like story mode; Make Match allows you to create your own match with multiple options to choose from and Daily Challenge gives you a different challenge each day (duh!). In actuality, Quarrel gives you quite a bit of content for a mobile game, and when you consider that this was almost a PSN/XBL title you can imagine how much bang you get for your buck.
Like I said the absence of multiplayer is the only real blemish on my opinion of Quarrel as of now, but It’s my understanding that multiplayer is coming to the game via a patch sometime soon. With that being said I would highly recommend getting the game without hesitation, the A.I will give you more than enough practice for when the multiplayer finally launches. I also recommend ignoring the tutorial mode completely as it is long and boring; nothing will draw you into the game more than heading straight to quick match mode.
As for my final verdict, I have to say that I delete a ton of iPhone games/apps every week. Some may not necessarily be bad, but when It comes to iPhone games I have a very short attention span, to the point I feel like I have A.D.D – but I can honestly say that Quarrel is staying on my iPhone along with three other games that will be there forever. I would even say that I am thankful for being targeted to review this game, for if I wasn’t I would have easily overlooked this game. So in closing, Quarrel comes highly recommended by me.
This review was based on a purchased copy of the game for the iPhone.