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Lost Cities Review

By , on August 23, 2012


Lost Cities
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • Easy to learn, and a nightmare to master; the perfect board game combination.
  • Four scaling AI opponents.
  • Beautiful, clean presentation; simple touch and drag interface.

CONS

  • While strategic planning can help, you're ultimately at the whim of random draws.

VERDICT

While other board games remain content to try to boil down or otherwise crowbar their game on to the iOS platform, Lost Cities feels completely at home thanks to its casual simplicity.


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Reiner Knizia is no small fish in the world of board games. Titles such as the Lord of the Rings and Ingenious are enjoyed world wide, while Lost Cities, a 2-player 60-card game has even proven to be popular enough to warrant an XBLA remake. Having previously converted Carcassonne to the iOS platform, The Coding Monkeys have taken it upon themselves to restore Lost Cities to its original design, bolstering it with individually scaling AI opponents and multiple asynchronous online games.

You and your opponent play the role of adventurers seeking to plunder the riches of up to five different temples. However, in attempting to explore these dungeons you'll incur an initial penalty - an investment if you will. It's your job to play numbered cards in increasing value to overcome this penalty, hopefully earning a profit at the end or at least having a higher score than your opponent by the time the final card is drawn.

It's an ingeniously simple and fast paced game where players must make bold moves to outplay their opponent. Things are made even riskier thanks to investment cards that double, triple or even quadruple the value of the cards played (and thus the profit earned), but you must waste turns playing them before making a journey and by that time your opponent may have all the cards they need.

Of course a game is only as good as your opponent and Lost Cities provides four offline AIs to play with, each scaling depending on your successes and failures against them. As you get better and topple harder opponents, your rating will increase, affecting the relative challenge of the AI you face. However the real fun is in challenging other players via Game Center, having multiple games up at a time as you wait for opponents to make their move.

Lost Cities is an elegant title with clean, sharp visuals and a calming soundtrack that's perfect for soothing the nerves after a few bad card draws. Whether you spend your time knocking over the game's many achievements or play a round or three or ten with your friends, it's a definite must have for fans of board games.

Screenshots

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