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Food Fight iOS Review

Food Fight iOS Review

Jan 27, 2013

Download: Universal

Price: $3.99

Genre: Board Game

Publisher: Playdek

Board game fans with iPads and iPhones have greatly enjoyed the recent push to get some of the most popular board games ported to the iOS platform. Thanks to companies such as Playdek, iOS gamers can now play such famous titles as Fluxx, Forbidden Island and Ticket to Ride. Food Fight is our latest iPad gaming obsession; it plays quickly enough that it’s the perfect choice when you only have 20-30 minutes to spare, but it also has an addictive “just one more round” quality that also makes it great for all-night gaming.

Food Fight iPad Review

Food Fight iOS Gameplay

Food Fight is a relatively simple card game with a drafting mechanic that will be familiar to many tabletop gamers. The game’s setting is a meal — breakfast, lunch or dinner — and up to four players compete to see whose dishes are the yummiest. Each player peruses a selection of cards, takes one and passes the rest to the next player. The first card you take is the only one the other players won’t know about, so you have to make it count; to be successful in Food Fight, you’ll need to draft as good a “secret” card as possible while rounding out your deck with cards that interact well with each other and remembering the cards that other players choose.

After the draft ends, each player selects the meal in which he or she will compete. The winner of the meal receives the number of victory points in the corner of the meal’s “Battlefield Card,” and the first player with ten victory points wins Food Fight. Meal selection is one of the most important strategic aspects of Food Fight. There are a few cards that have very high yumminess scores, but only during specific meals. In addition, if players select different meals, each plays against “The Dog” — a small deck of numbered cards. The Dog is usually easier to beat than a human player. However, some Instants and one food card — Bacon — are useless against it. Plus, if all players beat The Dog, all receive victory points. So, the only way to prevent a human player from winning Food Fight is to play against him or her.

If players select the same meal, the cards in their armies are shuffled and compared against each other, one at a time. The card with the higher yumminess score wins a breath mint, and the player with the most breath mints at the end of the meal wins the round. The trick is the order in which the cards are drawn; many cards give bonuses to subsequent cards, giving you some very high yumminess scores if your cards come out in the right order. Unless you’re lucky enough to draft a certain Instant, though, you won’t know how things are going to go until the meal plays out.

Food Fight iPhone

Food Fight Instants

Part of the genius of Food Fight’s design is the inclusion of “Instant” cards; these cards can be played at any time and have various effects such as increasing the yumminess of a dish or allowing you to add the next troop in your army to the current serving. Some of these cards are powerful enough that they have a significant chance of altering the outcome of a meal. The “Punchy” card, for example, allows you to discard six of the cards that you selected during the draft and draw ten random cards from the main deck. This allows you to play with more cards than you’d ordinarily receive in a draft, giving you an excellent chance of victory. However, the random nature of the card means it doesn’t always work in your favor. This means that you’ll get to enjoy the excitement when you manage to draft a rare card, but none of the best Instants are powerful enough to unbalance the game entirely.

Food Fight Drafting Bug

Unfortunately, Food Fight does suffer from one rather serious bug. The app has the ability to save a game and resume it later in the event of an interruption, but if you switch apps or bump the Home button during a draft, you’ll find yourself unable to complete the draft when you resume the game — none of the cards will highlight as being selectable. Your only choice at this point is to quit the game and start a new one. We hope that Playdek will correct this issue in the future. We’d also love to see an iOS version of Snack Attack, the expansion for the physical card game.

Food Fight iOS: The Bottom Line

Food Fight has a heavy dose of randomness that some tabletop gamers will dislike. The cards that you select from when drafting, the order in which your dishes are played, the effects of the most powerful Instants and the scores you’ll need to beat when playing against The Dog are all random. This means that sometimes, sound strategies won’t work. However, this can also contribute to the game’s fun factor because you never know exactly how a game will play out and every card can be useful given the right circumstances. Playing an opponent in person using the Pass and Play feature is also a joy, as Food Fight is full of opportunities for smack talk and attempts to mislead your opponent. At $3.99, Food Fight is a great value and a must-have for anyone who enjoys fast-moving card games that are quick to learn and can never truly be mastered.