If you played board games as a kid, chances are you played Ludo, which also goes by Sorry!, Parcheesi, and other names. Now UK developer called Yo Ambulante has created a new Android version called Mr. Ludo. This particular take still offers the time-honored and simple gameplay that many of us know and love, but dresses it up with a charming office-based theme and both local and online multiplayer for up to four players. Oh, and it's free to play.
Rough day at the office
Mr. Ludo gives a face and personality to a board game that could otherwise be viewed as ordinary and plain. Here, players take on the role of Mr. Ludo, an office manager whose team has been harried by the daily grind. Ludo and co. just want to punch out a little early and be on their way – something we’ve all felt at one time or another. Thus they must sneak out of the office without getting caught and without letting another team beat them to the punch.
The goal of Mr. Ludo is to get your office workers out from their cubicles and into the center square of the board, which allows them to go home early. A full game requires all four of the player’s workers to reach the center in order to win. Choose an express game and only two workers have to escape, cutting playtime in half.
To escape from a cubicle and get your first worker on the board, you’ll have to roll a six. Roll something else and the next player gets to try, and so on. Once a worker gets on the board, his first goal is to fully circle the board. Having done so, the worker can then enter the matching colored zone and attempt to reach the center. Once in the center, you’ll have to roll the exact number of spaces needed to actually move to the center and escape.
Players get four workers to play with, but each worker can only escape a cubicle when a six is rolled. The choice of whether or not to move additional workers onto the board is a strategic one. The more workers you have out, the greater the chance that another player’s worker will land on one of your workers and send him back to his desk. It also improves your chances of ratting out the other players though. And colored squares are safe areas in which workers may “socialize” without being sent back to their cubicles.
Mr. Ludo supports single-player gameplay against bots and pass-and-play local multiplayer. AI controlled Lu-Bots can be set to easy, medium, and hard difficulty levels.
Annoyingly, you have to clear the single-player challenge mode in order to unlock local multiplayer. Challenge mode consists of five levels: First Day, Probation, Promotion, Shares, and Retirement. But at least a trip through single-player provides a good opportunity to learn the rules before hopping into a game against friends.
By hopping into Online mode, you can challenge your Facebook friends, browse open games, or create a public game. Each online game has a buy-in amount which can be set by the host. The winner takes the lion’s share of the pot, with each subsequent place earning a smaller reward. Games played contribute towards experience level, which determines your position on the global and friends leaderboards.
Communication between players sometimes falls by the wayside in mobile games. That sort of applies to Mr. Ludo, which lacks a proper chat system. But it does at least have 12 emoticons that players can use to communicate with each other.
Free to play games tend to use soft and hard currencies in order to encourage players to make purchases. Mr. Ludo follows this trend with two currencies: beans and coins.
Beans are the currency used in offline games. Each Challenge mode game costs a certain amount of them to play. During gameplay, players can earn beans by landing on question mark spaces (not found in the traditional game of Ludo), sending opponents back to their cubicles, and winning games. You can also use beans to free a worker from his desk without having to roll a six.
Online games cost varying amounts of coins to play, as I described earlier. The amount of coins you bet determines which environment the game will take place in. These include Office, Vacations, Winter, The Park, Space Platform, and Inferno. Coins can be earned and spent the same way that you would win or spend them during offline play.
Players who want more coins or beans can watch ads to get some for free. Oddly, there is no daily currency bonus like in other games. If you wind up broke, you can also make an In-App Purchase. Packages start at $1.99.
Taking care of business
Sorry! and other games of the Ludo lineage tend to be too simple and generic for my liking. Mr. Ludo’s cute office worker theme, question mark spaces, and the risk and reward of playing for currency all help to make a more interesting game. The free to play mechanics could use some work, but otherwise it gets most things right. If you like playing board games on the go, give this one a try.