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Small World 2 Review: countless hours of board game fun

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Small World 2 Review: countless hours of board game fun

Developer: Days of WonderPlatforms: Android, iOS
Genre: Board Game, StrategyPrice: $9.99

While Days of Wonder is most popular with its brilliant board games, it is anything but a stranger to mobile gaming. In fact, the game studio was among the first to develop and launch a board game in virtual form on the iPad. That happened back in 2010 when a digital adaptation of its hit board game Small World was published in Apple's App Store. The port, however, couldn't exactly match the awesomeness of the real deal, which is why kudos go to DoW for treating its mobile title to the overhaul it deserved. This refreshed release of the game is called Small World 2.

Note that Small World 2 for iOS and Android isn't a totally new Small World game. It is still based on the original Small World board game, but it is a better-made port overall, with multiplayer modes, maps for up to 5 players, and other goodies. With that out of the way, let's continue exploring Small World 2.

Small World 2 - a fun and easy to learn board game
Small World 2 - a fun and easy to learn board game
Small World 2 - a fun and easy to learn board game

Small World 2 - a fun and easy to learn board game" 

For those not familiar with its concept, Small World 2 is a board game in which the player's goal is to score points by occupying as many board regions as possible. At the beginning of the game, every player picks one of the six available race combos. These consist of a race, each of which has its own unique power, and an extra ability. Race combos are generated at random, which adds welcome variety to every Small World game. Since the board is too small for everyone's troops to fit (hence the game's name), sooner or later, players have to invade and conquer others' regions. Each game lasts for about 15-20 minutes, depending on how many players have joined, and if you eventually get hooked on it like we did, you'll be playing for hours at a time.

As we already mentioned, Small World 2 is based on the original board game. Everything from the menus and title screens to the game tokens and the board itself has been beautifully drawn by hand, which is why the game is a pleasure to admire. The sound isn't bad either, although the looping tune gets repetitive rather quickly.

Sadly, the game, as fun as it may be, isn't exactly perfect. One of the frustrating things about Small World 2 is that playing it on a smartphone isn't very convenient. That's because all graphics, text, and the board itself appear smallish on a phone's display. Of course, playing on a tablet is a lot more enjoyable thanks to the extra screen real estate. Another thing that bothers us is that Small world 2 can be buggy. We spotted a few UI bugs and the game crashed a couple of times on us. (We tested the game on a Nexus 4 running Android 4.4.2.)

Yet that aside, playing Small World 2 can be a lot of fun. There's a good variety of game modes, including online multiplayer with buddies or random strangers, local multiplayer over Wi-Fi or on a single device, and solo play against up to four bots. Speaking of which, beating the game's AI isn't always an easy task. Bots can be tough opponents, but they aren't impossible to beat. If eventually you get the feeling that the game is starting to get repetitive, you may purchase expansion packs that add extra races and abilities. As of this writing, there are three expansions available as IAPs priced between $3 and $5.

All in all, Small World 2 is a game that requires a lot more strategy and planning than, let's say Monopoly. But it is easy to learn and not very difficult to master, especially when there's an excellent tutorial video included with the game along with a detailed explanation of the Small World 2 rules. Sure, at $10 it is much more expensive than your average iOS or Android game, but it is much cheaper than owning the actual board game. It is a pick we'd recommend to anyone in search of a challenging, brain-stimulating game to play with friends, family, or people from around the world. 

Pros

  • Fun and addicting board game
  • Online and local multiplayer for up to 5 players
  • Cheaper to own than the actual board game

Cons

  • Some bugs here and there
  • Hard to play on a small screen
  • Much more expensive than the average mobile game
PhoneArena rating:
7.5

Developer: Days of WonderPlatforms: Android, iOS
Genre: Board Game, StrategyPrice: $9.99


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