The Nihon Ki-in has just released an English version of Cho-U’s 4×4 Go Puzzle. Cho-U 9P came up with all of the problems for the program, and has developed a clever system for introducing go to young children. The app is available for iPhone and iPad, and is being offered on the App Store at an introductory rate of just 99 cents, until October 19th, when the price will increase to $2.99. The app introduces a colorful cast of cartoon characters, including Minigo, a black cat, and Diego, a big white dog who is taking over the playground and won’t let the cats into his territory. Children can enter story mode for flash animations that teach the basic principles of go as part of the cat’s quest to get back to the playground. The graphics are terrific, and the stones are cats and dogs. When “stones” are in atari, they shake and shiver (this can be turned off in settings for a bigger challenge). The story is interactive, and kids are asked to help Minigo solve various problems as he confronts various opponents. Players can also go to the free and challenge levels, where they can solve go problems directly. The board size is limited to 4×4, but Cho-U has made very clever puzzles within this limitation. Many of the problems revolve around seki, and you can choose what level to play with, or progress through the levels as you improve. Players can also buy more problems for the program, which come with all new festive graphics. The Snack Pack problem set gets you 100 problems, with chocolate and pink frosted donuts for pieces. The Rainy Pack and the North Pole Pack offer additional cute themes and more complicated problems. I bought the Rainy Pack for .99 and was charmed by frogs and snails playing on a lily pad field; the first problems I tried revolved around snapback. This app is perfect for kids from 5 to 10 years old, and even older kids will enjoy some of the more challenging problems. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Picture courtesy of the Nihon Ki-in.
American Go E-Journal
Monday October 8, 2012