Developer: NaturalMotion Games
Publisher: NaturalMotion Games
Available on: Mac, iPhone, iPad (Reviewed on Mac and iOS)
Most of us will have played a game of Jenga or two in our time, on holidays with the family where anything with batteries simply wouldn’t do, or even games by candlelight when there wasn’t any other option available. Whether you enjoy the game or not, chances are that you’ve at least played it at some time or another.
Jenga for Mac aims to recreate those times in a virtual environment, once where you don’t have to clean up for yourself or re-stack the tower once it’s fallen over. If you’re one of the people who avoid playing Jenga because of the amount of setup required before the game even starts then this could be the version for you.
When you first start Jenga for Mac you’ll be presented with a few options to play with, the option that a lot of people with go for to begin with will be the Classic mode for a little bit of familiarity. This mode is exactly what you would expect from a mode called “Classic”, you’re presented with the type of Jenga tower that we’re all familiar with and the aim of this mode is to get the tower as high as you can without causing it to fall over. This is done by pulling out the wooden blocks that make up the structure and placing them on the top. This happens until the tower falls over; hopefully after the tower is of a relatively decent height.
Picking a wooden block that won’t cause the tower to fall over is made much easier by a simple highlight system. Click on a block and it will become bounded by a box, the colour of which will indicate how likely it is that pulling out that particular block will result in the whole structure falling down. A white bounding box means that you’ll be able to pull out that block without much of a problem, a pink bounding box means that you’ll have to be a little bit careful about the angle and speed and a red box is an indication that you probably shouldn’t even try.
The area where Jenga for Mac really shines however, is in the area of online play. Players will be able to get friends on either another Mac version of the game, an iPad or an iPhone to play together with a single Jenga tower. Each of the players take turns to remove a block and add it to the top of the tower, each time the player successfully completes a turn they get a few experience points and the loser is the person who causes the tower to fall down. While this section of the game is rather fun, the Mac version of the game falls down a little bit by the fact that it doesn’t display notifications when the other player has taken their turn. This isn’t the fault of the game itself but it does make it a lot less enjoyable than the iOS versions of Jenga. If there was some way of being notified, even if it’s by something as rudimentary as an email, Jenga for Mac would be entirely more enjoyable and much easier to recommend to others.
VERDICT: When it’s all said and done Jenga isn’t a bad game per-se, it’s just not a very enjoyable game when it comes to the Mac version of the game. The fact that there are no notifications on the Mac when it comes to your turn in an online game means that players will be forced to either sit in front of their PC’s in the hope that the other player just happens to be playing or just keep coming back to their game to check if it’s their turn yet. The iPad and iPhone versions of the game don’t suffer from this and are therefore entirely more enjoyable. If you’re wanting a version of Jenga to play with friends then get it on one of the iDevices. If you haven’t got any of them then you wouldn’t be missing much by giving this game a miss.