Checkers - 2 players comes from Pacific Helm's dynamic trio of Louis Mantia, Brad Ellis, and Jessie Char, and if you're familiar with their design work, you're likely ignoring this preamble and already downloading. Fair enough. If you're not familiar with their design work, either you've never used software by Apple, Square, Rogue Sheep, the Iconfactory, and Tapulous, or you just don't know how familiar with their work you really are...
Pacific Helm typically does design work for other companies these days, but Checkers - 2 players is the first in what's hopefully a long string of apps and games all their own.
The premise is simple -- Checkers - 2 players is nothing more or less than a virtual checker board set you can carry around, and play with a friend, on your iPad. There's no artificial intelligence to play against, and inevitably train to take over the world. There's just a selection of boards and colors for the pieces, and the classic mechanics of the game.
Move. Jump. Capture. King. Win.
But in style.
It's $4.99 which isn't cheap when it comes to App Store games. That's a good thing. Because at "cheap" this game doesn't get made. Indie developers and designers don't do projects like these. We don't get elegant, beautiful stuff to enjoy. We don't get art.
And that's what this is. That checker set with the plush, inlaid board and perfectly moulded pieces that came in that fancy box you were only allowed to play with on special occasions. Only Checkers - 2 players comes on your iPad, goes wherever your iPad goes, can change colors at the tap of a settings, and can be played whenever you have a partner handy.
Simple. Elegant. Classical. Fun.
Grab it now.
$4.99 - Download now (opens in new tab)
Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
Normally I'm all with you guys on top shelf apps that offer something stellar. But $5 for a skeuomorphistic app that does nothing but the BASICS? To me I wonder though if there should be a focus on creating something that's never been done. Having a game look great is fine, but Checkers is checkers. I don't need it to look amazing. I need it to play checkers. Carcassonne is worth $10, cuz it's Carcassonne. The beauty in the game goes along with the depth of the game. ticket to Ride, etc. I just can't contemplate paying $5 for a simple game that's been around forever. If I want to feel like I'm opening a box and playing checkers, I'll grab 10 games at any garage sale I go to for a quarter each. If I buy an iOS game I want it to give me MORE than just good looks.
I kept scrolling down this article doing the coin flip in my head of whether this would be free or 99 cents. $4.99? Not in this market.
Those are definitely fair criticisms given the current App Store market. But I really dislike the current market. It promotes in-app purchase and other, indirect (and borderline sleazy) tactics, or it kills great boutique apps by making them unviable. $5 is nothing. It's a burger. It's a cup of coffee. It's less than 1/3 the cost of a 3D movie these days. I want boutique apps and I'm happy to pay a tiny amount of money for the ones I want to help support and encourage. Free and cheap are poison to our App Store. They will turn it into a place filled with crap I won't want at any price, or business models I'll refuse to support no matter how "free" they appear. $5 is cheap. It's cheaper than paying the price for what the App Store is turning into, at least. I wish way more apps were $5.
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