Everyone knows how to play tic tac toe, right? How hard can it be – draw a 9 square grid, trade off drawing x’s and o’s until someone has three in a row. Four-year-olds play it. So, I didn’t hold out much hope that Tic Tac Knoe from Rob Rightmyer would be much different. I was wrong. It kicked my ass!
It starts out seemingly innocent. A tic tac toe board, and the user goes first. But there’s a twist. Each of the game’s levels has a distinct pattern that the application will place it’s x’s in, in response to where you put your o’s. If you figure out the pattern, you beat the level. If you tie the application, you are penalized by going back one level, where you have to remember the pattern to get past it again. If the app beats you, it bitch-slaps you upside the head by taking you back two levels to repeat. According to the developer there are 100 levels. I wouldn’t know – I can’t get past level 22 without getting bitch-slapped myself. And what REALLY twists your noodle is when you walk away from the game for a while, come back, get slapped down a few levels, and can’t remember how to get back to where you were. On top of the pressure of remembering the patterns, the game is also timed cumulatively, so you can see how excrutiatingly slow your brain works when you’re trying to remember a pattern you’ve conquered a zillion times before.
There are different backgrounds and game boards on each level, so the visuals don’t get boring. The developer says that this version (3.1) has better graphics, but I will say that a few of the grids are a little wonky, like someone drew them in Microsoft Paint while trying to keep their overly-caffinated hand steady. There’s also the option to have sounds turned on, but they are a bit hokey as well. A strange, female android-ish voice says, “bummer,” if you go back a level, and what sounds like a member of the Lollipop Guild says, “yipee, you won!” if you move on. If you actually do manage to get through all 100 levels, apparently the game will save your high score and the location where it happened, but I haven’t gotten through all of the levels…yet (refer to aforementioned bitch-slap).
All in all, a fun little game for a little price. I’ll be keeping it on my iPhone, because I am bound and determined to get past level 22.