It’s Alive! – Card Auction Game
An card auction game where players compete as mad scientists trying to bring a monster to life.
It is the turn of the nineteenth century, and mad scientists throughout Europe are competing for the infamy of being the first to create life through the power of alchemy. Using only the raw materials provided by some dubious ‘Suppliers to the Anatomical Trade’, harnessed lightning and the services of a motley crew of unattractive servants you race to collect the eight body parts needed to create your monster and bring it to life. Unfortunately the local peasants are particularly clumsy and tend to die in freak farming accidents so the dubious gentlemen rarely find a whole cadaver in sufficiently good condition. Instead they offer the parts they have managed to salvage. Each turn you may buy the offered part, sell it to an anatomist for a meagre profit, or auction it trying to get a better deal or rip off your opponents. You might be lucky and get a coffin with a weakling clerk’s cadaver in it, which can be used in lieu of any strapping villager’s body part, or your involvement in the macabre trade might invoke the villagers’ wrath.
For iOS and Android Phones
Yehuda Berlinger’s monster-building card collection game comes to life on iOS and Android! Play mad scientist and collect all eight body parts to complete your monster. Each turn, a corpse is dug up from the graveyard. You can buy the part, sell it for a profit, or offer it for auction. You might be lucky enough to unearth a coffin, which can be used in place of any body part. But after a while, you’re sure to provoke a villager uprising!
- Supports up to 5 Players
- Unique AI (Computer) Players
- Pass and Play on a Single Device
- Save and Resume Single and Multiplayer Games at Any Time
- Local Leaderboard / Statistics
- Random Starting Player option
- Symphonic Musical Score or Play Your Own Music
- Illustrated In-Game Rules Manual and Tutorial
- Universal App, Designed for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
- Official Adaptation of Yehuda Berlinger’s Monster-Building Game
- Featuring Original Illustrations by RH Aidley
More About the Game
It’s Alive is available on the iOS app store and provides players with a very distinct board game experience. Sadly, the game does not supadaptation connectivity features and makes use of a pass and play mechanic. Still, It’s Alive manages to be plenty of fun for players of a variety of ages –just like the boardgame actually does. So how well does this mobile adaptation stack up against the original, and if you had both, there is also a question of which is superior. Read on and find out in our review.
It’s Alive! On iOS! A Mobile Adaptation Game Review
Bringing a board game into the iOS is not unheard of, but if done right, it can fully capture the essence of the game and deliver an equally enjoyable game experience. In the case of It’s Alive! the merge is pretty decent –that is, if you are already a fan of the board game. Sadly, if this is going to be your first entry to the game, then the app version might feel a little underwhelming, if not outright disappointing. Of course, the game is obviously designed for players who have already tried the physical copy, so that’s a not such a big problem for the app.
What is It’s Alive!
This mobile app game is actually a video game adaptation of a physical board game. In the original It’s Alive!, 2 to 5 players each take on the role of mad scientists trying to create a monster (think Frankenstein’s Monster). In order to do so, 8 body parts of corpses must be collected (heart, torso, legs, etc). In every player’s turn, they draw a card. If a card is drawn from the draw deck, it can be a monster part, a coffin (which is a wild card body part), or a mob of angry villagers (which must be dealt with using a spare body part or with gold). Gold is earned by selling body parts, preferably those you have doubles of, to other players or to the anatomist. Players can choose to draw a card from another player’s discard pile, in this case the card in question will be put up in auction for all players to bid against. The first player to gain 8 unique body parts will win the game.
Obviously, the most integral portion of this game is the human component –players need to be able to strategize a way to gain all 8 cards while preventing other players from completing theirs. This includes messing up auction prices, bluffing with discards, and other techniques. Since an app is not human, the AI opponents do not engage in the same tactics –which is a bit of a loss for the game when played alone.
Pass it Around
What makes It’s Alive an interesting port is the fact that it has a pass and play approach. When players indicate more than one human player in the list of players, you can pass your mobile device to the next player on their turn. Not being able to study your own cards during another player’s turn may throw off your strategy, but it does make the game a little more portable and accessible –which means that there is no need to pack the whole board for long trips, just pass the phone or tablet around. There are obviously pros and cons to each side of things, but at least having the app gives you the choice.
Not for Newbies
The sad part is that this colourful game is not going to make new It’s Alive fans out of those who enjoy card building games on mobile (and there are plenty of them – Hearthstone is a great example) –this is because it is much harder to appreciate the app (when someone else is holding the device) while the board game actually gives a sense of playing no matter whose turn it is. It also makes planning a little harder once you are already holding several cards and are unable to plan your moves since you cannot memorize every single piece that you have.
Still, the app carries much of the actual game’s aesthetic values. The artwork for the cards are impressive to see on a digital screen and the streamlined interface makes everything easy to grasp at a single glance. In fact, this app would greatly benefit from a function that would allow players to connect with their devices instead of having to pass it around.
You Still Need Friends
It’s Alive! is one of those fun and light sorts of horror games whereby you must outlast the villager uprisings as the Mad Scientist and his monstrous creation. But it’s also fun because of who you get to play it with. Bluffing, dealing, trading, and other forms of strategically competitive interactions are what makes this game so dynamic and fun to play. This also means that regardless of whether you have the physical board or the mobile app, as long as you are playing with fun people, the experience still feels complete and satisfying. The hard part is actually getting friends around at the right time in order to play. While the game can be played with a minimum of 2 people, it is so much more fun when there are 5 of you racing to get body parts and wondering how to deal with the next villager uprising.