XBLA Review: Quarrel

The classic iOS game hits XBLA with some good results…

Quarrel is a word-game mixed with a strategy game to make one hell of an addictive experience. Essentially the game begins with dividing a board up between 2-4 players and each square gets a number of troops to attack and defend the surrounding squares, so how do they do it? Well, each troop can hold up a letter of each random 8 word anagram and the player who gets the higher score either holds off the attack or takes the territory.

Don’t think you’ll be over matched if a rival has 8 troops and you have 5, you can still do better than them if you just get the better scoring word from your choice of letters, and in some rare occasions lower words will score higher than the full anagram. After a while you’ll be able to call an extra troop into battle to even the odds, but these all depend on how well you are doing up to that point. It’s a game of strategy as much as it is about spelling; you can also move troops from one area to the other to reinforce your area from an attack.

The game comes with a few modes like Challenges, Domination and Showdown. The challenges require you to be spot on as you try and salvage wins from near defeats, capturing prisoners by beating enemies over the odds and solving tons of anagrams. Domination and Showdown pit you against opponents either 1-1 or 1 vs. 2/3/4, the good thing against playing against more than one player is that when two other rivals compete, you can still try and solve the anagram yourself and gain an extra troop if you get it right, or get enough experience to get close.

Sometimes you’ll get a time limit to submit your word, and if the score is tied then the fastest entry will be declared the winner. Selecting the letters could have been a nightmare since the 360 doesn’t have a keyboard or touch-screen device, but luckily it’s simple and quick. There’s also Avatar support which shows not only your character, but also any prop you may have bought. The presentation of Quarrel is nice, it’s reminds me of Advance Wars in its art direction, while the troops are reminiscent of Worms in their behaviour. The load times are quick and there are no framerate issues, it’s a nice looking game overall and the soundtrack isn’t too shabby either.

The Verdict

Quarrel is one addictive game, and it’s damn cheap at 400 Microsoft Points. It can be a challenging experience against the AI at times, but it’s well worth enduring till you get the Quarrel Crown!