Throwback Thursday Review – Backgammon Blitz (PS3)

I remember learning the game of Backgammon when I was really young on a really old fashioned board and just absolutely loving it. It’s a game that is not only based on luck, like most dice games, but it’s also based on strategy. How do you move your pieces one you get your dice rolled? If you know the board and develop a strategy to move your pieces then it isn’t a problem. Being the Backgammon enthusiast that I am, I was more then excited when this game became available and I downloaded it day one. Here’s what I thought about this game.

This is just a new take on a very classic board game plain and simple. No story is required and in this version you can play against the AI from any type of difficulty all the way up to master as well as play against other people whether it be co-op or online. So the main point of each and every Backgammon game is to get your pieces into your home base. You’ll start your game in your opponent’s territory and roll two dice in order to move. Beware though because you’re opponent can have the chance to send you back and block you from moving which is where the strategy part comes in.

Unfortunately I could never really get into this version of Backgammon long enough to actually play for a substantial amount of time. I think the longest time I played was for a couple of hours and that was when I was trying to play against a friend in the multiplayer, but I’ll tell you about the multiplayer later. Playing against the AI even in the master difficulty section soon became boring as I really didn’t see a different level of difficulty while playing against the master AI. There is a new Blitz version of the game that allows you to use different power ups to help you win, power ups like blocking moves, sending your opponent back, and freezing your opponent. Although this is a new and fun way to play, it’s just not really the type of Backgammon that I like.

The playability for this game should have been easy since it’s just really rolling the dice and then moving your pieces, but it can sometimes become a little awkward when moving the pieces around the board. Although it’s highlighted where you can move your piece making it easy to see where to move your piece if you’re unsure, sometimes when you think you’re moving one place you actually move in a different place. Coming from a complete strategy way of playing Backgammon, this can really ruin your game.

The graphics on this game are what I really enjoyed simply because their classic board is like an exact replica to the actual board that I learned to play Backgammon on. While not all the boards are as clear as the classic board, there are some that just don’t blend well, the classic board is not only detailed but the surrounding environment is detailed as well making the game have an overall nice feel to it.

Trophies! There are trophies for Backgammon and if you complete the full game you’ll get an extra 13 trophies to add to your collection. It’s not a lot but it’s a decent amount and they’re all pretty easy to get.

I have to say that the multiplayer was one of the things that I was most excited for when I first got this game only to be totally let down by it. I really disliked that this game basically has no matchmaking options and is only based on offering challenges to other players on the leaderboard who may or may not ignore you. Not to mention that this is given the Chess treatment to where you’re opponent doesn’t have to be online to actually play. This can be a turn based game to where maybe you make a move one morning and you’re opponent doesn’t move until the next morning and so on and so on. As I said earlier, the only time I played this game for a long period of time was when I played with a friend who was currently online. Even then the multiplayer took way to long to play as each move, this is with both of us actually sitting in the game room and actively playing, took anywhere from 2-3 minutes to complete no matter how quickly I moved my pieces or how quickly my friend moved his pieces. This quickly became boring and after our one match, we never played again.

Boo! Backgammon is not Chess! It is meant to be played at a quick pace and although it can be played using a strategy you do not have to take more then 1-2 minutes to make a move. Treating this game like it was a Chess match completely ruined the experience as a whole, not to mention that the servers were down on this game for over a month!

Overall I give this game a 2 out of 5.

What’s Great:
+ Classic Backgammon with a new twist of the game thrown in for fun.
+ Classic board looks amazing and looks like an actual Backgammon board.

What’s Not So Great:
There doesn’t seem to be a difference between the levels of difficulty. I found the AI to behave in the same way whether it was on easy or master.
Horrible back and forth multiplayer and it’s not how actual Backgammon is played. While this structure might work for a Chess game, it doesn’t for Backgammon.
While some boards are nice, others are just hard to look at and everything blends together.
Horrible servers that go up and down and were even down for over a month.

I’ve long since given up on this game with the back and forth movements and the length it takes to play an actual full game so I got rid of it from my system. I’m not sure that after the whole server debacle if it’s even up and running again or if it’s still up and down. I was totally let down by this game being a huge Backgammon fan and basically found it to be a waste of money. If you’re going to buy this game, beware because even though it’s available on all three systems as far as I know it is not a cross buy which was really disappointing as well.

Unfortunately my Throwback Thursdays are coming to a close, which is sad but I’m seriously almost done with every single game that I’ve completed to 100%. Fear not though because we aren’t there yet and next week I’ll be giving you my review for Rain. I picked this game up because I had heard good things about it and was eager to play. I’ll let you know how things turned out next week.