Monday, May 5, 2008


My initial reaction to KFourInLine was simply "Wow! Pretty!" and now that I've played with it a bit, that still sums it up quite nicely. KFourInLine is a KDE clone of the classic Connect Four game that was done decently in Four-In-a-Row (review here).

The basic game is simple, so there's not much to say about it. You drop checkers into different columns on the board, trying to get four in a row before your opponent does. Your opponent always wins, in my experience. As far as features go KFourInLine doesn't offer anything that would differentiate itself from other clones.

Where it shines is its look: it's skinnable with different themes, and all of the themes it 'ships' with are fancy lookin'. The board and the score-card are very smooth looking, easy to interpret, and feature a coherent aesthetic that's quite attractive. I congratulate the dev-team for keeping it simple and yet not completely ignoring form in favor of function, as is often the case with open-source games.

One quick complaint: the game runs slow. Probably because my computer is a bit outdated, and it probably runs fine on a more modern machine, but I was still taken aback by the fact that it seemed a Milton-Bradley game actually had a low frame-rate. I never thought of board-game clones as being processor intensive.

Other than that, all I have to mention is the multiplayer. There's support for local as well as the all-important networked human v. human games, and it's very simple to set up. Props for that too: none of the godawful clunkiness and irritation that comes with match-making servers and the like. You just start the game, and your opponent connects to you, or vice-versa. No muss, no fuss.

This is the best Connect Four clone I've ever played. That's faint praise, I admit, but it does mean KFourInLine beats out the one that comes preinstalled with your Ubuntu installation. I recommend it to anyone that wants to play Connect Four on their Linux box. Obviously, if that doesn't sound fun to you, you're advised to pass it up.

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