"What's the catch?" is perhaps the right response to the release of this, Checkers Deluxe, offering an atmospheric game of checkers ('draughts') against your smartphone's AI, for free. It turns out the catches are the prompts to submit your game scores to the Checkers Deluxe global rankings, or upgrade the board/theme, each via £1.50-a-time premium SMS - but it's easy enough to say 'no' each time, meaning that the game really is, effectively, free. See below for screens and more comments.
Here's Checkers Deluxe in action:
Well drawn graphics, plus the whole caboodle runs in eight different languages, too...
The Tequila Planet branding and social layer on top of the basic game offers updates, high score tables, social links and more....
Diving into Checkers Deluxe itself, see below for those pesky locked board themes...
The gameplay is decent, managing to beat me on its first try, at 'rookie' level - ahem. Presumably the playing level rises as you defeat each AI opponent?
One thing that caught me out was crowning a piece that has reached the end of the board - in the rules here, a crowned piece can move/jump an unlimited distance along any diagonal - in my boyhood, crowned pieces could move in any direction, but only one square at a time. It turns out that this is the core difference between 'Checkers' and 'English Draughts' - who knew? 8-)
And so to the in-app purchases, all via premium SMS. To be honest, unless you're incredibly good and really need to see your name up in lights, and unless you're desperate to play on a different coloured board, there's no reason to go for any of these extras, keeping the game free.
Shots of the built-in Help screens and the overall ratings/opponents available - in ladder style, you work your way up!
You may have detected that I'm no big fan of the in-app purchase system currently in vogue in the mobile world. I'm all for developers getting rewarded, but I'd much rather pay a set fee to buy the game outright and have done with it. Editorial/rant coming soon on AAS!