Scotland Yard, a classic cat-and-mouse board game offering from Ravensburger Digital, is now available from the app store. Varied and convoluted pathways, team-based tactics, and a handful of exclusive moves for specific players combine to create a compelling and enjoyable strategic challenge.
Scotland Yard Pros:
- Clever gameplay mechanics and team-based tactics
- Soundtrack fits the game style extremely well
- Simple tap controls and plenty of info at your fingertips
- Multiplayer option via pass-and-play, local, and online
- GameCenter integration for more than a dozen achievements
Scotland Yard Cons:
- Cluttered game board that’s uncomfortable on the small screen
- Some control responsiveness issues
Mr. X is a well-known criminal, cornered in London by a team of Scotland Yard detectives who are closing in on his position. The detectives have a limited number of turns and a limited number of tickets to use for transportation purposes while tracking the mysterious Mr. X. They must land on his position or surround him to leave him with no means of escape in order to claim victory. Conversely, if Mr. X can avoid capture and leave the detectives without tickets to continue the chase, his crime spree can continue. The game can be played in single-player mode with AI assistance/opposition, or you can utilize multiplayer functionality via GameCenter. You can choose to take on the role of the wily Mr. X or don your detective’s trench coat and fight for justice.
The board layout comprises a couple hundred numbered locations, connected by colored pathways that represent different modes of transportation. These include taxis, buses, subways, and even a boat that is useable only by Mr. X. Taxis are generally used for shorter hops, while buses cover greater distances and subways can really put some real estate between you and your opposition. You must possess a ticket that corresponds to the desired transportation method in order to use it, and tickets are fixed and limited from the get-go. Mr. X has a couple of special ticket types available only to him, and he also receives any tickets played by the detectives. Mr. X’s getaway route is masked except on certain turns where the detectives are privy to his location, however, the ticket type played by Mr. X is visible to all. Detectives can communicate via voice or text chat, though their messages are visible or audible to Mr. X, too. Mr. X has 22 turns to avoid capture (24 if he has used his two double-move tickets), so games shouldn’t last an inordinate amount of time.
Graphically, the game board is quite cluttered yet colorful, as the red, yellow, and blue lines wend this way and that. Buildings and neighborhoods fill in most of the empty space, while markers that look like empty salt shakers indicate the location of each of the players. Bars along the screen bottom allow you to see which turn you are on, which tickets Mr. X’s has played, who you are playing against, and which tickets they possess. Your ticket info sits at the screen top, along with the chat bar and a move log which records every move made in the game. There is also an adjustable move timer, forcing you to move fairly quickly lest the game randomly select a move for you. Your viewpoint is fairly zoomed in, though panning and zooming are available through common methods to give you a better overview. The board simply feels too large to use comfortably on an iDevice and even a bit cramped on the larger iPad. Arrows at the screen sides alert you to the location of other detectives or relevant stops that may not be visible from your current viewpoint. The soundtrack is catchy, utilizing a great theme that complements the sneaky style of gameplay. Controls require tapping to select your next location, which brings up a ticket menu where you select the ticket type to relinquish for your trip. There are also bars and buttons to tap for additional information. We did experience some responsiveness issues, likely due to the very small size of the buttons.
Replay value is very good, as the multiplayer option really makes for some exciting gameplay. You can play via pass-and-play on the same device, via local wi-fi or Bluetooth, or via GameCenter with players from all over. There are also more than a dozen achievements to earn for those looking for a little something more. A universal app on launch sale for $4.99, Scotland Yard is a solid 4-Dimple play.
Scotland Yard Review,