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Publisher: PlayFirst    Genre: Puzzle & Trivia
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: G5 @ 800 MHz    Hard Disk: 12 MB    Graphics: 800x600

Connect Four Cities
March 6, 2007 | Charlie Fletcher

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Main Screen
PlayFirst's Connect Four Cities brings to the Macintosh an excellent rendition of the popular Connect 4 game published by Hasbro. It offers the same strategic complexities of the original while adding to the fun with special pieces that mix up the action and present new and unexpected challenges.

The Connect Four board game was originally published by Milton Bradley in the 1974. Since then, itís been known not only by its original name, but has also hit the market as Plot Four, Four In A Row, and Four In A Line. Although itís technically a board game, the board is actually a vertical grid usually seven columns wide and six rows high.

Two players take turns dropping one of their pieces down the columns to try to align four of them in a row of four. Itís a bit like a more convoluted version of tic-tac-toe. In the computer version, once you score four in a row, your pieces come off the board, allowing other pieces that may be piled in the rows above to fall into the empty spaces. This can potentially line up additional scoring opportunities for either player.

With Connect Four Cities, you can either play the juiced up version, which builds on the original game with special pieces and board configurations, or you can enjoy a well executed version of the original game against a computer player with a plain seven-by-six grid, standard playing discs and three levels of difficulty. PlayFirstís game also includes a multiplayer option that allows you to link up with other Connect Four Cities players online. At the time of this review, there were no players available online to try this feature. Nevertheless, as the game takes hold in the player community, multiplayer opportunities could greatly expand the fun of this game.

The look and feel of Connect Four Cities is pleasant and easy to understand and the gameís sound effects and animations nicely add to the experience. The musical soundtrack is composed of several jazzy pieces that loop while you play. Theyíre nice at first, but I found myself getting a bit weary of them after a while. Of course, you have the option of turning them off and listening to something else.

You can create multiple players and save high scores in Connect Four Cities. However, the game does not provide for hot-seat mode. One player at a time can compete against the computer.

The basic motif of Connect Four Cities is, of course, cities Ė Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Washington, D.C., and New York, to be exact. You play in each of those cities in succession. Each board is designed to represent a multi-story building, which is for sale. In effect, you are competing against a computer player to buy the property with your winnings. With each win you amass more cash. When you finally have enough, you win the key to the city and travel to the next city for still more competition.


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