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Publisher: UTV Ignition Entertainment Developer: Denki Genre: Puzzle Players: One - Three Price: 400MSP Launch Date: 25th January 2012 Quarrel is a new arcade title which has released at the cheap price of 400MSP. It's a word game where players must compete to have the highest scoring word to get one step closer to winning. But does Quarrel make a good first stand in the XBLA marketplace, or does the price tag forewarn of its quality? Find out by reading our review. Game-Play - 8 Quarrel is a twist on the classic game of Scrabble. In Quarrel, players have to make the highest scoring word they can, beating their opponent and claiming land. To win the round, the player must own the entire island, knocking out the opponents in the process. Starting with the basics, you can only make words based on the amount of small characters you have on a piece of land. If you have 5 then the longest word you can make will be 5 letters long. This is initially annoying, especially if you can see the 8 letter anagram. However after some time, this aspect of the game grows on you, as it adds an extra challenge to the mix. Each round starts with a set amount of characters per piece of land. When you challenge the A.I or another player, if you win, all but 1 character will move onto the next square. Fail however and they all die apart from 1. If you challenge someone and you have fewer characters than them, if you win you capture the difference as prisoners. For example if you had 4 and challenged someone with 6, you would gain 2 prisoners. These prisoners basically join your characters and give you more letters to play with. Despite this game having a simple premise, there are multiple modes to play in. There are quick matches for short quick fun, Domination, which puts you against the A.I in a Quarrel battle to control each island, Challenge, where you have to hit certain targets, such as gaining at least 5 pieces in one turn. In Domination, the player is tasked with going to different islands to play Quarrel and win control of the island. There are 12 different islands, each with increasing difficulty, which is measured in the A.I's IQ. The amount of A.I players is different per map, ranging from 1-3 opponents. Another mode in the game is Showdown. This is like a championship, where the player can challenge the top 10 A.I's in order to move up the ladder. These are head to head battles and can prove tough as the A.I ranking gets higher.


Praying comes in handy if you have a low I.Q
Quarrel also features online multiplayer, which plays out the same way as single player, just against other people. Sadly it can be hard to find people playing this title and that led to being unable to test out how well it works online. All in all, Quarrel features simple and effective game play, that simplistic feel to the game and its rules and challenges make this XBLA title work really well. It's very easy to just jump into a game and know what you need to do. It can be difficult at times, but it's all dependant upon each players I.Q compared to that of the A.I. Graphics - 8 Quarrel features simplistic cartoon graphics, and they work really well with how the game is set out. Each player is represented by different colours and characters. The ground will be the colours per player, whilst the characters are chosen randomly from a selection, such as pirates, Scotsmen, aliens etc. Each come with different colours to match their styles, such as green for the aliens, black for the ninjas. These little differences help add some difference in each players set so that they can be easily told apart from each other. Despite the graphics being cartoony, they work really well. For example the landscape that you see whilst you play is bright and vibrant, and also highly detailed for graphics of this sort. Some of the maps feature small things to liven up the background, such as torches and lava, or sparkling water. As mentioned before, it's the simplistic feel of Quarrel which makes it work that much better. Sound - 2 Coming up with sounds for a word game must be a hard task, and in this case, that task was failed. The main menu has a nice enough, although repetitive beat. However it's the sound of when the game is in play which is quite brutal. Firstly, you have a standard game show styled introduction. This is alright, but it's followed by the little characters appearing on screen. These come with loud and annoying sounds as if they were talking in some special language. The characters also make these sounds whilst moving, and showing off the words that have been selected. It gets so aggravating quickly that I found myself having to mute the television just in order to play the game. After making a word, the losing team is bombed by the tiles of the other team, which is also a repetitive annoying sound. It's a shame that the sound lets the game down so drastically, as the rest of the content is solid for a word puzzle game.


It's a war of words to control the island
Achievements - 7 Quarrel features a decent list which fits into the genre very well. Creating a word worth 20 points for example will net you 15G, while finishing a round with an IQ of 200 will reward you with 30G. Some of these achievements will come purely from doing certain parts of the game, such as Domination. As the IQ of 200 example showed earlier though, some require skill, and in this case, knowledge of the best part of a dictionary. Alongside needing skill, you also require some amount of luck. Some tasks that are expected of you include capturing Starfish Bay without losing a single Quarrel or claiming Calamari Cove from Dwayne, Caprice and Malik in a single turn. Ultimately, while the achievements may at first sound hard, you will be able to get the hang of how to achieve them, and with the right mixture of skill and luck, the 200G will be yours. Conclusion At the end of the day, Quarrel is a simple and effective twist on Scrabble, what the game does it does really well. Needing characters to be able to stand a chance in a match at first is odd to get used to, however once you are, it becomes a fun quirky game. The sound is the major let down, which is thankfully not needed. With a decent selection of achievements this is a decent XBLA title priced at 400MSP.


 

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