One of the most unique and intriguing board games ever made, MetaSquares was created for America On-Line’s games room by Scott Kim, renowned puzzle designer who created Heaven & Earth for Buena Vista and Obsidian CD-ROM game for Segasoft, among others. The game is similar to Tic-Tac-Toe, except that here you score by forming complete squares from placing pieces on the board. Scott designed the game for MetaCreations, makers of Kai's Power Tools and other graphics software, for AOL’s Game area. More than 100,000 people played it between 1996 – 1997, so AOL’s abrupt decision to drop the game in 1997 left many people shocked and not a little angry, especially since AOL did not even consult MetaCreations about its decision. |
In the designer’s own words, “MetaSquares a bit like tic-tac-toe, but instead of trying to get three in a row you are trying to get four in a square. Two players take turns placing pieces on an 8 by 8 board. When a player gets four pieces at the corners of a square, the square is drawn in and the player gets points. Squares may be any size or tipped at any angle. Bigger squares get more points. The game is easy to learn, challenging to master, and beautiful to watch, thanks to nifty artwork from the MetaCreations folks. You can play with anyone else logged into the same network, and even chat with them as you play. The more you win, the higher your rating.”
Although AOL has dropped the game, the spirit of Metasquares lives on in a tribute sites and a number of fanmade programs. Metasquarer is the excellent PC version of the game, designed for Windows 95 and above, which features a strong computer AI in addition to network play that lets you experience the fun of head-to-head mode. If you are interested in board games that are simple to learn but hard to master, MetaSquarer is one of the best you’ll ever come across. Linux users should check out Squaroid instead of this version. Two thumbs up, way up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs