Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Game of LIFE: zAPPed Edition Board Game or App?


Is it a Board Game or is it an iPad App? Or is it Both? (click to read the full version of the review by my husband)


Components and Play
This version of Life is pretty typical: a winding board where you travel through life either making money from your job and fortuitous events (selling your invention, getting a college scholarship) or losing money to not so fortuitous events (taxes, lawsuits, etc.).

The twist here is that instead of the traditional multicolored plastic spinner in the middle of the board, there is place to set your iPad. The app is free to download in the iTunes store (though it's a whopping 279MB, big for an iPad app). The iPad allows you to select your car and a "peg" person which you can decorate a bit (think a Nintendo Wii "Mii" or a really basic "Sim.") You then flick the virtual spinner and off you go.

The iPad in the center of the board showing the spinner and my cool Web Designer (I skipped college and went straight for the career).

The board has several different types of spaces which, when you land on them, you select the matching icon on the iPad and get to watch a clip from "America's Funniest Videos" or play a mini-game for some bonus payday cash. The videos show various life events (like weddings and graduations) and they are amusing to watch while guessing what your bonus or hit is going to be.

Since there are certain spaces upon which you *must* stop, the iPad app keeps track of your progress and knows roughly where you are on the track. You can also earn virtual "Life Tokens" for your animated peg which give you some bonus cash at the end of the game.

At the end of the game, screens pop up which allow you to enter the number of bills of each denomination you have. The iPad then adds up your total cash and adds in any Life Token bonuses and shows the winner. Finally, the app lets you save family portraits of each player to your iPad's Camera Roll, complete with the families on the couch and photos on the wall which show some of the life events.

A Fun Game?
Like probably any version of the Game of Life, there's not really any meaningful strategy or decisions. You can choose various paths (such as college or career, risky life or safe) which alter the events that you'll face. In the end, however, "The Game of Life: zAPPed edition" is at its heart just a roll and move game in which stuff happens and you hope you come out ahead of the other players when its all said and done.

But since it IS a family game I'm going to throw in my one major caveat...

One Major Caveat
When getting married in "The Game of Life: zAPPed edition", two choices come up for your spouse: an opposite (pink or blue) and a same colored peg. And yes, you can marry a same colored peg. And yes, the pegs will enjoy a wedding kiss regardless of color combination.

I won't risk getting this review RSPed other than to say that if such a thing would be a concern to you, realize it *is* a part of the app and a possibility in the game.

Is it an App or a Board Game?
Well, I guess the short answer is "yes." You need the app to play the board game. But there are already complete board game versions of "Life" and there are already complete iPad app versions of "Life." So is the hybrid worth it?

I'd play it again not because I wanted to do some gaming but because I could spend time with my daughters and that's always a good thing.
My beautiful virtual Life family, looking back from retirement on all of our adventures and accomplishments.


TO learn more about Family Game Night and The Game of LIFE, follow on Facebook or follow on Twitter @familygamenight.


Thanks to the sponsor for providing a copy of this game for our family to review. Our own opinions are expressed here and not influenced in anyway by the company.
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