Most of you will be familiar with Skat—and if you haven't played it yourself, you might remember your dad and his mates sitting round in the evenings, playing hours of Skat whilst drinking and engaging in what we'll just politely refer to as boisterous behaviour.
Anyway, Skat is of course available in virtual form for Android, but a lot of the versions I had tried out previously didn't really do it for me. Find out what we make of Skatroid in today's review.
Features & Use
Test device: Samsung Galaxy S3
Android version: 4.0.4
The Skatroid main menu is easy to use as it is pared down to the basics: start a new game, continue a saved game or check the highscores.
The first step is to enter your name (or any random name you wish to use in the game). The UI is nicely designed. Your opponents are displayed as animated characters. Again, the design is well made, but there is something about their faces that I found to be a bit freaky, but that's probably just me as I have that reaction with most animated faces in games. A really cute feature: their names are Berndroid and Maudroidine (the devs must be die-hard Android fans!).
When it's your move, several buttons become available. Interactions and dialogues with your opponents are displayed in speech bubbles.
Your cards are displayed near the bottom of the screen and can be sorted through by pressing a button.
I won't go into details regarding Skat rules and how to play as that would turn into a very lengthy review. I recommend learning how to play the game before attempting to play using this app. It's by no means impossible to learn how to play Skat, but it does require a bit of time and effort to learn the rules and practice. While the app does come with brief how-to instructions, there is, unfortunately, no tutorial.
The app comes with a few settings which can be applied to the game's rules and design. For instance, the Grand Ouvert's total can be adjusted (seeing as it was changed in the year 1999).
As mentioned, there are also lots of fun visual elements that can be adjusted, such as the card pattern, the background motif and the button transparency.
And finally, a great option for Skat novices: your opponents' gaming skills can be honed in to suit your level.
Skatroid has been pared down to the bear essentials, i.e. the card game itself. The app runs smoothly and should please Skat players who are used to / like playing against AI. I was a bit disappointed that a multi-player mode isn't available, which is why I'm awarding the game a 'good' rating in this category; it's very well made, but for some players the fact that there's no MP mode may be a turn-off.
Screen & Controls
Unlike many other card games, Skatroid's UI is actually quite nicely designed and has a distinct retro look to it, if the 1990s can be considered 'retro', that is. Another nice feature: the players' mouths move when they have dialogues.
I didn't so much like the look of the main menu, but to be fair most players won't spend hours on end staring at the menu screen.
Game options come with good instructions that are detailed and precise, but not overly long.
Speed & Stability
Skatroid loads quickly and is stabile, so no complaints in this department.
Skatroid is avaialable for EUR 1.18 from the App Center, which I feel is a rather fair price. No ads, of course.