Game Review: Tic Tac Toe

Spring usually brings in a deluge of new titles, and this year is no different considering the impending release of the highly anticipated Tic Tac Toe.

But while Tic Tac Toe aims to be a favorite among families and small children, the experience is generally banal much like the situations where one is most likely to play it.

tictactoe

A premium Tic Tac Toe board1

Gameplay

In Tic Tac Toe you play X, a soldier of geometric status. You need to keep the evil O from seizing control of the nine squares. To do this you must claim three adjacent squares either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. X and O take sequential turns.

Games are over within twenty seconds.

System Requirements

At its most basic you’ll need the following:

  1. Piece of paper
  2. Pen or pencil

Tic Tac Toe is also available on the Mac App Store.

Single Player

Tic Tac Toe skimps on the single-player experience, instead opting for a format similar to Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament, minus the automatic server finding and player matching. A single-player component exists, but whereas Quake 3 and Unreal would use bots, you must rely on yourself to play O.

Multiplayer

Tic Tac Toe is at its best with two players: one playing X and another playing O.

X is always at an advantage because X makes the first move. A smart player will always play the center square first. This almost guarantees that X will win the game, but a skilled player can win without such center square shenanigans.

There is no support for Xbox Live or PSN.

Replayability

A number of mods exist for Tic Tac Toe, including a 3D Tic Tac Toe.2 And if your pencil has an eraser you can play a countless number of games until you need a new piece of paper.

Soundtrack

I just had CNN in the background. I don’t recommend it. Try iTunes, Pandora, Rdio, or Last.fm.

Graphics

Graphics are dependent upon how well you can draw. I’m pretty good at drawing Xs, but completely suck at drawing Os. In fact, most people I played with can’t draw a perfect O. The game is fundamentally flawed here with no chance of a software update.

Final Ruling

Tic Tac Toe falls short for long periods of play. The plot is unrewarding. There are no princesses to be saved. I got tired of playing it within two minutes.

Its only redeeming qualities is that it can be played just about anywhere and any time (particularly road trips, camping trips, ambulance rides, and on airplanes during take off and landing), it’s relatively cheap and has low system requirements.

Still, Tic Tac Toe is a mediocre entry into the multiplayer paper puzzle genre rescued only by its low barrier to entry.


  1. Photo by Flickr user Erica Hargreave, used under a Creative Commons License

  2. 3D Tic Tac Toe