PenTacToe Review

X’s and O’s: The Next Generation

Ah, this brings me back. I spent many an enjoyable couple of hours huddled at the back of a maths class with a friend attempting to outmanoeuvre his X’s with my O’s whilst our teacher droned on and on about dividends and divisors. Resultantly I’m not much cop at long division, but am a noughts and crosses ninja. Or at least I thought I was until sampling this pimped out, tricked up version of ye olde pencil-and-paper classic.

Adding an extra level (or four) of difficulty to the traditional three-in-a row mechanic, PenTacToe presents the player, or players, with five overlapping tic-tac-toe grids. This essentially means you’ve got to play multiple games at the same time; something which might not sound mindblowingly fun on paper, but I assure you is actually thoroughly enjoyable, not to mention über-challenging.

Turn-based battles of tactics are played out on that unusual looking board you see in the pics, its unique design (patent pending, btw) allowing for millions of possible outcomes to each game, as opposed to the 255,168 the original version offered (and no, don’t worry, I didn’t work that out myself).

Before … and after

Okay so it’s bigger, but is it better? Yup, the bizaare new board allows for some interesting changes to be made to the classic set-up. A game now comprises of a total of 41 moves, meaning a point system comes into play, while a little something called super tic-tac-toe can be achieved by stretching a diagonal row from the center of the grid to the two farthest corners. You earn a point for matching 3, and a super-diagonal is worth two.

Racing against the computer (that’s obviously been practising) to score the most tic-tac-toes is great fun and a good workout for the old grey matter. I did have some thrilling battles of wits against my iPod, but eventually found the extreme difficulty level – even on easy – a bit off-putting. Thankfully though in addition to the 1 player mode 2 flesh and blood people can pass ‘n’ play or go toe to (tic tac) toe over WiFi.

Overall PenTacToe is a wonderful update of one of the best loved time-wasters ever and a game that’ll remain on your device for a long while to come. Now time to organise a rematch with that old school friend of mine…

Your puny human brain is no match for my CPU!
iFanzine Verdict: PenTacToe brings the beloved pen-and-paper game into the 21st Century, proving that, yes, you can improve on a classic. Who’d a thunk it? This is one of the most challenging and fun games I’ve had the pleasure of playing all month.
Score: 7.5 out of 10

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