Updated: BANG! HD iPad Review

In mid-October, the developers of Bang! snuck a long-awaited update into the App Store– one that finally made this richly competitive board game online-enabled. Now you can duel, drink, and betray other players without having to pass the iPad.

Bang! HD benefits dramatically from the most recent update. Bang! is all about disguising your true intentions for as long as possible, and if you’re sneaky, you can try to fool your opponents into thinking you’re on their side. The AI isn’t nearly as cunning, so you’re going to want to try this game with live opponents.

The game’s sign-in service requires a separate login from your Game Center account, but once you register, you’ll be able to play against opponents over Bang’s various platforms. This also means there are more opponents available than a lot of other iOS-only multiplayer games.

Bang! HD is a crafty game with lots of charm and personality. It’s also endlessly replayable, especially now that you can take it online. If you love competitive board or card games that require you to be a bit clever, Bang! HD is a solid Must Have.

Card and board games on the iPad are an interesting genre. On the one hand, it’s remarkable that a device like the iPad can substitute for your board, pieces, and even friends. On the other hand, it’s hard to justify playing a $20 board game on a $500 tablet computer. Does BANG! HD feel at home?

BANG! is a popular card game set in the Wild West, where sheriffs and outlaws engage in duels to the death. One player is the sheriff, whose goal is to wipe out the bad guys. Other players are the outlaws, who have to kill the sheriff. There’s also a deputy, who helps the sheriff, and a renegade, who has to kill the outlaws first, and then the sheriff.

We don’t need no stinkin’ badges.

Since only the identity of the sheriff is revealed to all players, there’s an element of stealth and surprise to the game. As an outlaw, you have to conceal your identity from the sheriff and deputy, and figure out who’s on your side.

Each player takes turns drawing and playing cards, the most common of which are Bang and Missed cards. Bang cards fire a shot at a nearby player, while Missed cards will deflect a shot. When a character runs out of health, they’re taken out of the game and replaced with a gravestone. Other cards can restore health, increase the range of your shots, and even let you hide behind barrels during a firefight.

BANG’s tutorial does a good job of setting all of this up, and explaining the rules to new players. The character art is quite nice, with send-ups of cowboy archetypes like Calamity Janet and Willy the Kid. Each character also has their own special abilities, and you can choose who you want to play as, or select a character randomly.

Cue the Good, Bad, and the Ugly theme.

BANG! HD is lacking one important component, though: online multiplayer. The app currently has only pass-and-play multiplayer and a single-player mode against the computer. Online multiplayer should be coming in a later update, but you might want to hold off until it’s live.

BANG! HD is a fun card game brought to life on the iPad, with some great customization options, like the number of opponents and difficulty settings. However, it needs online multiplayer to take advantage of the trickier aspects of gameplay, especially fooling other players into helping you win. Download it now if you want to learn a great new card game, or wait until online multiplayer is a go.

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