iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac/Linux •
When Terra Mystica was released for iOS and Android back in April, I had hoped to get a review up about a week or so after release. Surely, one week would be enough time to get a few games in and form an opinion. You would think so, but then Race for the Galaxy happened and the rest is history. Luckily for me, this week I can give Terra Mystica a go on my Mac instead of my iPad, meaning I can play it without RftG softly whispering my name.
Terra Mystica is a complicated game that DIGIDICED did their damnedest to simplify. They put all the extra boards, tiles, thingamabobs, and whatchoosits on separate sliding drawers that roll in from the sides or pop up when a button is pressed. It doesn’t make a lot of difference though, because Terra Mystica is a bloated mess. That’s not DIGIDICED’s fault, the game itself is just convoluted as hell.
I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing–Terra Mystica can actually be a lot of very complicated fun–but it definitely makes it harder to pull up a game on your iPad when you know you’re in for a long and somewhat painful brain-burner. Even other thinky digital ports like Twilight Struggle, Steam, and Brass don’t have this much baggage in terms of rules stacked upon rules. Or maybe it’s just me, and I just enjoy those games more. Either way, Terra Mystica on PC/Mac seems like a better fit to me than iPad. For some reason, wasting hours on my laptop seems easier than doing it on a touchscreen where I’m, apparently, looking for a quicker fix.
The PC/Mac version of Terra Mystica launched yesterday and is basically identical to the touchscreen version, albeit with controls redone for a mouse. I’ve played it a bit today and it does feel like a better fit, even though, mechanically, the ports are identical. The Steam version is currently on sale for a special launch price, so if you’re a big TM fan or, like me, felt weird playing such a complex game on your tablet, now’s the time to buy.