Review: Mr. Ludo

By Dave Neumann 26 Nov 2013 0
The arrows are pointing to the most interesting choice. Do I roll the dice or go play Lords of Waterdeep? The arrows are pointing to the most interesting choice. Do I roll the dice or go play Lords of Waterdeep?


When Owen gave me the chance to review Mr. Ludo, I accepted without any hesitation. Of course, at the time, I assumed it was a new digital board game based on workday drudgery and office politics, which is how it’s billed. A game that David Brent might play, but not actually get the joke. Sure, sign me up.

It became apparent after installing the app how very wrong I was. Unbeknownst to me, Ludo is another name for dreaded children’s game, Trouble. You know, the one with the First rule of Mr. Ludo: Anyone you invite to Mr. Ludo is no longer your friend. First rule of Mr. Ludo: Anyone you invite to Mr. Ludo is no longer your friend.[/caption]

In fact, the knowledge that this is a children’s game makes everything about this game even worse. The pasted-on Office Space theme will appeal to no child. None. The fact that they call one of your pawns being sent back home “office politics” makes me want to go to Wal-Mart, buy a copy of Trouble, and use it to beat up someone. Anyone. The game is full of something kids do love, however: IAPs. There are 2 currencies in the game, Coins for online play and Beans for offline play vs. AI, called Practice Mode. Yes, you have to spend these currencies just to play a game, but you can also spend more to "cheat" in games or buy new backgrounds. You do get a lot of Coins or Beans to start out with: 8 games worth of Coins, for example, and you earn more coins if you win.

The problem, however, is that winning is a completely random occurrence. This game requires no skill, but comes down to dice rolling. Don’t believe me? I was playing someone who had his last pawn only 1 space from home. I hadn’t even moved 2 of my guys out of their start spot yet. Who won? Me. I just kept rolling and the sorry sonofabitch I was playing against didn’t roll a 1 in about 30 rolls. I can’t believe the guy didn’t throw his iPad, and himself, out of the nearest window. Or, maybe he did and I was playing a bot? There’s no way to tell. I even had some solo games where bots dropped out. Even the AI was embarrassed to be playing.

So, you could easily lose 8 games in a row just as easily as win 8 games in a row. It’s a little like pulling a slot machine handle. Don’t worry, though. You can always buy more Beans or Coins. In fact the game makes sure the “buy now” buttons are everywhere. Oh, wait, you can get currency by watching an ad and sitting through a 30 second timer. You can earn 1 Bean or Coin in this fashion. One. Fucking. Bean. With an online game requiring 25 Coins, you'd only need to sit through 25 ads and 12 minutes to earn enough coins for 1 game. Spending money and waiting...two things kids excel at.

They should have another IAP option for Death's Gentle Caress. There would be tons of buyers, and they'd lighten their server load They should have another IAP option for Death's Gentle Caress. There would be tons of buyers, and they'd lighten their server load


In another brilliant and kid-friendly move, there doesn't seem to be a pass-and-play option for kids to play while, say, on a car trip. It says there is, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. So, it’s solo or online. I'm guessing pass-and-play would have warranted them inventing another in-game currency and I’m not sure anyone involved with this game is capable of more than 1.3 creative ideas annually, so we’ll let this one fly.

Besides all that, Mr. Ludo as a game will nearly play itself with very little input from you. In fact, there are times when all you need to do is tap the dice and it will move your piece automatically, or not move any piece at all. Did I mention that you need to roll a 6 to get a pawn out of the start position? Nothing more interesting than having all your guys in the start position and your turn consisting of hitting a die. No six? Next turn. No six? Next turn. Oh, you got a pawn out? Roll die. Pawn moves automatically. Next turn. Just kill me, please.

Seriously, I hated, hated, hated everything about this game. Having to play it made me angry and hateful. Requiring Facebook for online games unless you want less features made me upset (and, no, I never found out what the "full features" you get from logging in with Facebook were). Mr. Ludo has no redeeming qualities. Not one. Hell, it still spouts forth the awful loop of banal background noise even when your Mute switch is on. Yes, the incompetence is legion.

Enter at your own risk. Or, better yet, go play something better. It shouldn't be hard to find.

Review: Mr. Ludo

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