Quarrel review (XBLA)

Quarrel was developed by Denki and published by UTV Ignition Entertainment. It was released on January 25, 2012 for 400 MSP. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.

The wildly popular word game Quarrel is finally available on the Xbox 360. We won’t get into specifics as to why it took so long for the game to finally arrive on the 360. But as both a game that test your knowledge of the English dictionary and patience, Quarrel provides a unique twist on word games with its strategic gameplay. With its cheap 400 MSP price tag, it’s also a steal for fans of word games.

Here’s what we liked:

Gameplay – Winning territories is the name of the game in Quarrel, think RISK but with a thesaurus. With 12 different islands, there are a lot of territories to take over. Anagrams are your ticket to winning said territories, and in some modes it can be hard to figure them out due to a set time limit. When starting up a game each player gets a certain amount of areas on the map, and on those areas are troops. The troops signify how long of a word you can spell, and after each turn a new troop drops onto the battlefield, making it easier for you to spell words. The gameplay might seem a bit hard when starting up your first game, but the tutorial does an excellent job of explaining how the game works. So if you’re hesitant about not knowing what to do, don’t be.

The controls, compared to the touch screen on an iPhone or iPad do feel a bit slower, but it’s not too noticeable. Facts about certain words appear at the main menu, with definitions of certain words also appearing during games, providing you with some useful tips. 

Modes – For such a simply word game, Quarrel has a plethora of game modes. The Showdown mode has you going up against nine A.I. opponents, with each one being tougher than the last. You also have a set amount of time to spell words in Showdown mode, making it that much tougher. There are a total of 12 challenges in the Challenge mode. Quick Match mode is simply put, a mode where you can quickly jump into a game without setting up rules, etc — the game does it for you. Domination has you traveling to all 1w islands trying to capture every territory for yourself. While the game is most fun via online multiplayer, it’s nice to have some offline options.

Online multiplayer – With no local multiplayer, the only way to play Quarrel against other human players is via the game’s 4-player Xbox LIVE option. The same offline gameplay mentioned above applies to online play. Playing against the A.I. is fun, but playing against random human opponents is even more fun.There are also Xbox LIVE leaderboards so you can see just how many words you’ve spelled compared to the rest of the world.

Price – There is a free version of Quarrel on the iPhone and iPad, but it is said to be a trial version of Quarrel Deluxe, which is $2.99 USD. It’s nice to see another word game available on Xbox LIVE Arcade, and at such a low price point (400 MSP) to boot. With prices of XBLA games usually being 800 or 1200 MSP, it’s a nice surprise to see a game priced at 400 MSP. It’s only assuming, but Quarrel would probably sell a lot less if it were priced any higher, so the price point is just right for this kind of game.

Here’s what we didn’t like:

Music – It’s hard to make compelling music for word games. For most people, the overall inclusion of music can distract them, not to mention add to the suspense if time is running out. The music in Quarrel is quite nice in the beginning — with it being different on every island — but after having a few games under your belt it can get annoying. Also, the audio will freak out from time to time, specifically when you go into a word battle with another player; It happens about twice a game. Luckily the music can be easily muted and you turn on your own collection.

Length of some games When playing with three or four players, expect for the game to last over 15 minutes. With Quarrel also being a strategy game as well as a word game, some games can drag on for a significant period of time. This really depends on who you’re playing with. Playing offline against the A.I. can become frustrating. Sitting there watching them duke it out is simply not fun. If you’re playing against a person who has a wide vocabulary, games might take a while. With that said, it can get a little boring playing the same game for upwards of 15 or 20 minutes.

If you’re somebody who plays Scrabble or Boggle and you find it hard to spell words, then Quarrel might not for you. With that said, Quarrel is a game that not only provides a twist on word games, it’s also some of the most fun you’ll have online via an XBLA game. Yes, some games can drag on, but that happens about one out of four games. The music in the game can be substituted with your own personal collection — meaning both our issues with the game can be quickly excused. It might not be the strategy word game people were hoping for — but it will appease a lot of people — and for only 400 MSP, Quarrel comes highly recommended.

Score: Buy It!

About Bishop Tart

Bishop has been writing about video games for years now, and is very passionate about video games. In 2009, he started his own site, www.bishopsgamingworld.com, to let people know his opinions on the gaming universe. Whether it be sports games, first-person shooters, or action games, Bishop has always had a soft spot for video games. He is now turning that passion and soft spot into a journalism career.