If you have never heard of Morabaraba, then you aren’t likely alone. However, for those that are familiar with the ancient game, you’re aware of the skill, cunning and dedication required to play the game well. Now, you can enjoy all of the same features on the iPad and iPhone.
It’s all thanks to eMoraba, from Ezekiel Thekiso, a brilliant rendition of the game for iOS that will test your very limits. It offers multiple game modes, Game Center integration and simple controls, as well as a price-tag everyone can agree with.
For our full review, you need only to slide on down below the break!
Concept and Gameplay
The rules behind eMoraba can actually become quite complex, but the essentials remain fairly simple. Players are faced with a board of nine pockets. Each of these contains a set number of stones, as well as their face values. The idea is to pick up a pocket, and then drop each of the included stones around the board (going clockwise) until the last stone is placed in an empty location.
Along the way, both players traverse their own home locations. When stones are dropped here, they remain, accruing points for the player. At the end of the game, when all of the stones are in one of the two home locations, all points are tallied up. The winner, quite obviously, is the one with the most stones.
It’s a traditional and very engaging board game, one that’s been made even better by the inclusion of numbered stones. This makes the player think even more before committing to a move—something we didn’t think possible, as Morabaraba is a very thought-provoking game.
All in all, it’s simple enough to pick up, yet terribly complex in execution. This means the app supports many hundreds of hours in gameplay, and is accessible to a wide variety of people. A nice feature is that you can see your high scores by clicking on the ‘Achievement’ button when logged on to Game Center.
Design and Graphics
The AI that’s included here is truly marvelous, and will present a challenge to almost any player. Likewise, the complex scoring system is kept under wraps, thanks to the even cleverer computation engine. So in this sense, eMoraba is a very well-designed game for iPhone and iPad.
Sadly, though, things do get a big sticky here for eMoraba. The application is not the best looking one we’ve ever seen. It has a rough-around the edges feel to it, one we didn’t much like. From the harshly lit background to the auspicious gradients on the pieces themselves, eMoraba could do with some polishing. Thankfully, though, these are all aesthetic flaws that go only skin deep.
And at the end of the day, we have a hard time knocking eMoraba for its value, especially while it is discounted. The application is a brilliant entry-point into the game of Morabarbara itself, as well as a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. With several game modes, a brilliant AI, and simplistic controls, eMoraba is a great addition to your iPad’s gaming lineup.
eMoraba requires iOS 4.3 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. A small expedite fee was paid to speed up the publication of this review.
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What do YOU think? We’d love to hear your comments, try it and let us know!