Tic-Tac-Toe has to be one of the most enduringly popular games ever created. Since originating back in ancient Egypt, it’s been passed down from one generation to the next, and played using everything from sticks and stones, to pencils and paper, to modern pocket computers like the iPhone. The latest iteration of the classic game to arrive on the App Store is Bill Ball Boll (out now, $0.99). And believe me, you’ve never experienced Tic-Tac-Toe quite like this before.

So what makes Bill Ball Boll so different? Well, for starters, unlike most other Tic-Tac-Toe clones, it actually has a story and characters. The game centers around two would-be monarchs — one orange and one purple — who are locked in a dispute over who should rule a floating sky kingdom among the clouds. Wanting to settle this argument once and for all, they round up their troops and prepare for battle (a Tic-Tac-Toe battle that is).

As you can probably tell from the above screenshots, Bill Ball Boll’s gameplay is more of an evolution of Tic-Tac-Toe than a straight adaptation. Whereas classic Tic-Tac-Toe takes place on a single 3×3 board, Bill Ball Boll ups the ante by having you play on nine 3×3 boards simultaneously. The overarching goal is to win as many of these individual games as possible in each round, but points are also doled out for things like blocking your opponent’s moves and forcing stalemate situations. It’s a lot of fun, and the inclusion of a points system means there’s way more strategy and challenge involved in Bill Ball Boll than in regular old Tic-Tac-Toe.

As well as being very enjoyable to play, Bill Ball Boll looks and sounds absolutely fantastic. Developer Pastille Games obviously put some serious effort into the character animations and vivid kaleidoscopic backgrounds, and the music used throughout the game is immensely catchy. (The kooky song that plays over the title screen has literally been stuck in my head for days.) If you’re not yet convinced to give Bill Ball Boll a try, you should also know that it features a cool same device 2 player mode and absolutely no pesky ads or in-app purchases.

Verdict

You’ve played Tic-Tac-Toe before, but you’ve never played anything quite like Bill Ball Boll! This charmingly crafted reimagining of the pencil-and-paper classic features updated and surprisingly challenging gameplay, lovable characters, beautiful visuals, and toe-tappingly excellent music. Fun for all the family and well worth the asking price.

Positives
Simple yet challenging
Tons of polish and personality
Charming visuals, music and characters
Fun 2 player mode
Negatives
If you don't like tic-tac-toe, this probably won't change your mind
4
Great
Download on the App Store