Priceless iPhone Apps: four connections or more

Jan 22, 2010
Games

Welcome to the first installment of Priceless iPhone Apps, a weekly column about free apps, including reviews, tips, musings and whatever else I happen to discover with my iPod touch. This will be a fun and fast read, and will point to the good, the bad and the odd among the masses of free iPod […]

Welcome to the first installment of Priceless iPhone Apps, a weekly column about free apps, including reviews, tips, musings and whatever else I happen to discover with my iPod touch. This will be a fun and fast read, and will point to the good, the bad and the odd among the masses of free iPod Touch apps.

When I sit down with my iPod Touch, oftentimes it is for a brief reprieve from daily commitments. I look for an iPod Touch app to distract, and do so in seconds. At these moments, one of my go-to apps is Touch4, a rendition of that familiar four-in-a-row game from my childhood. The game play is reminiscent of the board game from my childhood. The tokens make a plastic snap sound when they drop down the slots. You can play by yourself or against someone else, and there is a blue slide-switch at the bottom of the board to release the pieces when you’re done.

I downloaded 15 similar iPod touch apps in preparation for this entry; many of them had similar features. But no two had the same combination of attributes. As I expected, I found a good, all-around four-in-a-row app, and I found a fun one to play other users. But the surprise was that I found a bounty of apps that were from around the world, and some had characteristics that were curious.

The best “Connect Four”-type app for playing online opponents is Link4. It uses a point rating system adapted from the one the U.S. Chess Federation uses. When you beat someone with a higher rating, you earn more points than if you beat someone with a lower rating, and vice versa. Playing against human opponents in real time definitely increases my blood circulation, and I try not to do it when I’m tired. I’ve got to stay sharp, or suffer damage to my precious Connect-Four standing.

SpinFour Lite is a unique interpretation of the original, allowing a rotation of the game board as a new move. All the pieces slide to new positions. While this creates a new angle to the classic game, the iPhone app lacks sound, a noticeable omission. Drop Four in A Row is not a bad choice either. The sound effects are different, yet charming. But the animation of the pieces falling down the columns is faster than I prefer.

If putting four red checkers in a row is a little too humdrum for you, and even a spinning game board doesn’t appeal to your sense of style, don’t worry — app developers have you covered.

There is a chalk-on-blackboard app called connect4 Japanese. There’s an English version too, but if you’re already going to play the game on a touch screen with chalk on a blackboard, you may as well play it in Japanese as well.

In an iPhone app from Germany, a bee-like robot character introduces and concludes Connect Four matches in 4forSecugrid. Blue and green square “stones” slide down a white grid, making noises that sound like pneumatic metal puffs.

Another iPhone app that boasts international flare is Connect4, which is compatible with English, Chinese and Japanese. In this rendition, the large red and yellow playing disks slip slowly down the columns and complete their descents with a high-pitched “bleek!”

Whether you’re in the mood for a conventional version of Connect Four, or one that provides a new feel to a familiar game, there are plenty of options at your fingertips.

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Christopher Brinckerhoff

Christopher is a freelance reporter in the Chicago area. His work has appeared in multiple publications including Patch, Printing News and, of course, Appolicious. To learn more please visit http://www.christopherbrinckerhoff.info.

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