What is it? A mobile evolution of Tic Tac Toe. Tic Tac Toe on a 9×9 matrix. Win three traditional 3×3 grids in a row to beat your opponent. The real tricky bit, your move determines the 3×3 grid your opponent must place their move in. If that sounds complicated it’s just because it’s novel. I admit it took playing a game for me to really catch on, but that one game was enough to get me hooked.
The Good: I’m impressed with Tic Tactics by Hidden Variable Studios for a couple of reasons. The first is how smart it is. The addition of other grids turns a pretty childish game into a real strategy game much more like Chess or Go while retaining the simplicity that makes it quick to understand but difficult to master. Second, it makes sense as a videogame. I imagined it as a board game and it loses a lot. The highlighting of available grids, the pulsing of the last move made, and of course the finding other players online enhance the game considerably rather than just being flashy additions to what could be much simpler.
The Bad: I get the whole X’s and O’s thing, but I could do without the sappy hearts floating in the background. Theme options would be a serious boon.
The Ugly: As long as you keep wining matches Tic Tactics is free to play, but start losing and you’ll have to pay real money to add matches and stay in the game. I understand Hidden Variable Studios wants to keep earning off their clever idea, but I resent not being able to pay a few bucks once to remove ads and have unlimited play.