BOCO is an Android game that's been developed around the idea of a game that's best played between a pair of real human beings, rather than just fighting against a computer as usual. The idea of BOCO is to be a family-friendly game, allowing players of any age to pick up and play the game. With this idea comes the omission of any ads or in-app purchases. Once you pay for BOCO, you own BOCO. A refreshing and respectable move from a family-oriented developer. BOCO itself is a puzzle game that's sort of like Chess in many ways. Each player takes it turns to claim a space on the board, which can be a triangle, a square or one of the larger pieces towards the edge. The aim of the game is to surround the opponent's pieces with your own. This is easier said than done and can lead to chases around the whole board, or just silent, sneaky attacks on a small cluster of undefended pieces. We'll go into more detail down below, but for now take a look at the trailer:
It should be noted that BOCO is not just an Android game, it's also available for Linux, Mac and Windows - allowing you to play it pretty much anywhere. For more information on those other versions of BOCO take a look at their website, however Android users can download BOCO from the Play Store. Once downloaded, you can get started.
(Psst if you want to get your hands on one of 15 copies of BOCO which includes a copy for Android, Mac, Linux, Windows and the soundtrack FOR FREE, all you need to do is to leave a comment below and we'll send you the link!)
BOCO is best played on an Android tablet as that's easier to get a feel for the play area as well as pass back and forth with friends or family. I've been playing BOCO on my Nexus 9, but if you have a larger smartphone of some kind we're sure that would work fairly well, too.
Learning how to play the game is the first step, and heading to the "How To Play" item in the Main Menu will tell you how.
Essentially, you take it in turns to claim pieces on the game board, and to win the game you need to surround a cluster of your opponent's pieces with your own.
I started to test out the game playing with my girlfriend (our friends are pretty fond of board games like Scrabble, Monopoly and quick games like Pass the Bomb, so this was a good fit for us). It started off pretty slowly, with the two of us trying to figure out a way to either breakaway or surround the other's pieces quickly.
After a short while, my girlfriend had beaten me. I was too busy trying to cover a larger area before I realized she was slowly closing in around me.
Over the next few games we soon learned that the best way to prevent your opponent from surrounding you was to spread yourself wide across the board, but also watch your back. It's one thing to have a large presence on the board, but if you don't protect the edges of your presence then the opponent can easily strike.
If there's one thing I truly miss from the old days of gaming, it's sitting next to a friend or getting together in a group and facing off against friends. I was quite the Tekken player back in the day, but those days have gone. These days, board games are the best way to bring people together and get people talking and competing together. BOCO is the blend of two worlds in this regards:it plays like a board game but looks and feels like a video game. Being a board game makes it accessible to anyone, and being a video game means you can take with you on your Android tablet and play it while on vacation. It can be played between adults and children;it's a game for everyone and it appeals to all ages. There aren't enough games out there like BOCO, and while I admittedly thought it quite basic when playing, that's definitely part of the game's charm. There are no ads, no in-app purchases or anything of the sort, there's just a relatively simple board game to play. Which means that you can once again enjoy the conversations and one-to-one interaction we've lost while pursuing online gaming and such. BOCO can indeed be played online, but I won't even consider it. This is a game to bring people together, and I love it for that.
- Speed (4/5) - BOCO runs just fine, and the pace of each game is up to the players, giving the game some flexibility.
- Features (4.5/5) - The family-oriented development and gameplay is something that we've lost over the years, and the fact that this is appealing to all ages is nothing to be sniffed at. It plays well and with no in-app purchases or anything, it's 100% hassle free, too.
- Theme (4/5) - While I liked the digital look and feel to the game, I did think that things were a little "dark" and the game could do with the brightness setting turned up some.
- Overall (4.5/5) - It's not perfect, and it won't be for everyone, but BOCO is a game that's playable by anyone and everyone. It's good fun and it brings people together no matter where they are for some true two-player fun, just like the old days.
- No in-app purchases or ads, once you pay that's it; you'll never be asked to pay anything else to enjoy BOCO.
- Finally, a game that makes use of Android tablets and treats them as first-class citizens.
- Simple to learn, yet difficult to master. BOCO is a tough game, but it's not too difficult to the point of frustration and can be played by all ages.
- Brings people together again and gets them talking. Whether that's on holiday, at home with nothing else to do, or just because you don't want to stare into a display on your own yet again, BOCO can bring your friends together.
- Look and feel overall is good, but at times it can feel a little "dim"
- While appealing to everyone, seasoned puzzles players might find the game a little easy.
BOCO is a game that does what many others refuse to. It not only offers families and players of all ages a game that doesn't bombard you with in-app purchases or ads, but it also brings people closer together. It's rare that there's a game these days that gets you and your friends together in a room, or even just two of you on the couch anymore. BOCO is the game that can bring all of that back, and if you miss those days then it's time you started to play BOCO.