Out duel your opponent in this head to head battle of wits.
Android, iOS & Steam
# of Players
Feud is an original two player duel game from Bearwaves. Players go head to head in this chess-like game until one player’s king is dead or none of their pieces have valid moves. Players take turns moving and using special piece abilities to attack, heal, defend, and hide. A game typically takes about five to ten minutes.
Feud is played on a 4x4 grid, with each player filling their half of the board with their eight pieces. Play begins with the black player selecting their king’s starting locations from one of the four spaces on the row closest to them, this determines where the other pieces get placed in relation. The white player then responds by choosing their starting location and the game begins. A turn in the game consists of the mandatory moving of a piece followed by the optional use of a piece’s special ability.
Each player has six different piece types: archer, king, knight, medic, wizard, and shield. There are two archers and knights for each player to make up the eight pieces, each of which has a starting hit point level. For their special abilities, archers, knights, and the king can all attack, with each attack dealing one hit point of damage to the target(s). Shields block archers from shooting over them and cannot be moved by the opponent, wizards can swap places with another friendly piece, and medics may heal adjacent allies.
Movement occurs by simply swapping positions with an adjacent piece, either your own or your opponent’s. Pieces may become “isolated” which means they are not adjacent (orthogonal, not diagonal) to a friendly piece. Isolated pieces may not move until they become unisolated. Note that enemies and empty spaces both work to cause isolation. Spaces on the board become empty after pieces are defeated when their hit points are drained to zero.
There are some moving parts, but the game is a pretty basic one. You need to kill the king or isolate the enemy’s pieces. The hit point/attacking mechanism is quite fun when combined with the variable attack abilities provided by the three attack pieces and also the shield for protection and medic for healing. The key to the game is the spatial aspect. You can often isolate opposing pieces permanently with a crucial kill, or at least temporarily with a suave move. Empty spaces will remain empty for the remainder of the game since you can only move by swapping places. In games that last long enough, navigating a fractured board becomes a major challenge.
The most direct comparisons for Feud are Onitama and Santorini (currently unreleased, but coming soon). Feud offers a bit of each of those two. It takes the simplification of chess from Onitama and the variable powers from Santorini (although, admittedly, to a different degree). I can’t really say which does “chess-like” best, but that Feud comfortably sits up there with those highly polished games that have held up for years in physical form is a testament to Feud and its designer.
Barrier to Entry
Feud is taught through a straightforward, and fairly quick, tutorial. The tutorial is a series of text overlays on a game, explaining the pieces, their actions, movement, etc… as it goes. Feud is fairly simple and also plays incredibly quickly, after the tutorial and a game or two I was fully comfortable in the world of Feud.
Look and Feel
Feud features clean, simple graphics throughout and they suit the game well. Colors are used sparingly, but to obvious effect when they are splashed on the screen. The attacking pieces have subtle red outlines, the kings are marked with yellow crowns, the medics given green highlights, and so on. It’s a very simple art style, but it is very well done and makes Feud very pleasing, visually.
It’s worth noting that the game offers a handful of different color schemes to help those with color blindness differentiate between pieces, which is a fantastic touch for accessibility purposes.
Controls are simple, to take a turn you select a piece then choose where you want to move it. This is followed by selecting another piece and choosing the target of its action, or skipping the action phase with a check button in the corner. The only gripe, control-wise, is the lack of an undo button. I’ve only ever really wanted it when I accidentally moved a piece because I forgot I had one highlighted, but an undo option would be nice.
The app features light medieval music in the background that sets the mood appropriately.
If you want to play an online game of Feud, simply go to the Online section and select “New Game.” You will get paired with somebody and the game will start. Online play is cross platform and each turn has a 24 hour timeout.
There are a couple of downsides here. First, there aren’t any system notifications. This isn’t an OS-specific bug, they just haven’t been implemented yet on any platform. This is a killer in an asynchronous game as it requires you to open the app every so often out of habit to no forfeit your game. Since the game doesn’t offer a real-time more, any online game you play will currently require you to launch the app every now and then to see if it is your turn. Additionally, there is no way to invite a friend to a game.
Feud features two AI difficulty levels (Easy and Hard) along with three unique play styles: Aggressive, Defensive, and Sneaky. The AI here is okay, but not great. I was able to defeat Easy on my first few tries, I have lost to it on occasion, so it isn’t a total pushover, but it doesn’t seem like a stout challenge. Hard is certainly a better challenge, but I was still defeating it within my first handful of plays of the game. I wish the game kept stats so I could see my win/loss record, but I suspect I’m hoving somewhere around the 2/3 win rate against the Hard AI. Give or take 40% for my poor memory and undeservedly high opinion of myself.
Nothing of note here. I’ll use this space to mention I have seen a handful of crashes occur when a game ends. The app will fully close and I don’t get to see that sweet Victory screen. The developer is aware and it is being looked at.
The Wrap Up
Feud is a fun take on chess, it’s free, has solid online play, and you should have already stopped reading and downloaded it if any of this appeals to you. It offers fun twists to the two player duel genre and is presented in a great looking, smooth playing app with smooth online matchmaking and play.
The implementation downsides start with the occasional crashes and lack of an undo button. Online play is mostly good, but the lack of system notifications is a big issue and hopefully you will be able to invite friends at some point. Gameplay wise, it’s up to the individual to decide if they need another take on chess. Feud presents some unique ideas, and they work together well to form a fun game, but will you prefer this over Onitama, Santorini, or chess? That’s hard to say.
Ultimately, the score here reflects that the AI isn’t great and online play is severely hampered by the lack of system notifications. This leaves the game in an odd spot where I want to play it, but neither AI nor online games are particularly appealing in the current state. With notifications the score would probably hit a 4, as this makes for a really nice, quick playing game that I’d enjoy to jump in and out of a few times a day.
There’s no reason to not try Feud, it’s a fun, well made app that is free. Not free to try or ad-supported, just plain old free. Go to your favorite local app store now and give it a try.
At launch time Feud presents a clever game wrapped in a good app that is held back due to a few missing features.
What we like
- A fun, compact, streamlined take on chess
- Really great looking app all around
What we don't like
- No system notifications or friend invites for online play
- No undo button
- AI not super challenging