Quadradius is an online, multiplayer, turn-based Flash game that takes the skeleton of the board game, checkers, and pumps it up with a massive list of power-ups and new strategies. In fact, calling it checkers is an oversimplification that does not do it much justice.
The objective of Quadradius is to eliminate all of your opponent's pieces by jumping on top of them with your own. Basic movement in the game is restricted to one space forward or back, right or left; but this is where the simplicity ends, since power-ups can be used to get around that limitation.
As you play power-ups are randomly placed on the board at set intervals as small metallic domes. To capture a power-up simply move one of your pieces onto the same space as one. Power-ups stay with the piece that collects it, and you may collect multiple power-ups with a single piece.
Power-ups may only be used before moving a piece during your turn, and you may use any number of them. At first, power-ups like 'move diagonal' and 'move again' might seem like standard fare, but if you take a look at the game FAQ you will see the list is pretty extensive allowing for many combo possibilities. Some of the more advanced power-ups at your disposal: recruit opposing pieces, destroy opposing pieces, drop bombs, steal opponent's powers, learn copies of your own powers, and so on. Some act on entire rows, columns, or the spaces around a piece (radial), and some can even be used to raise or lower the tiles of the board to restrict movement and/or protect pieces.
Players continue taking turns until one player has captured all opponent pieces.
Quadradius is free to play for anyone that logs on, but you will be limited to guest status and be unable to set up any custom options for the game. Full access to Quadradius is offered through subscription plans—you can try it out for a month, a few months, or a year.
Analysis: The graphics in Quadradius are very professional looking and suit the game well. A lot of the power-ups in the game affect the appearance of the pieces and the tiles on the board, so a lot of time was spent to ensure that they not only look nice, but can be easily distinguished from other pieces by the powers they have activated (and combined, for that matter). I only have one minor complaint with the graphics—when playing a custom game with lots of pieces, the frame rate can slow down sometimes due to the massive effect that certain power-ups have on areas of the board. When someone uses a scramble column and it affects three different columns with twenty pieces each, it can be a long wait for everything to take effect.
Quadradius is a deep strategy game that is a lot of fun to play and guarantees a unique game play experience each time. As balanced as the game is there is a small element of randomness to it. Random is ok, but in some cases the random factor can throw a game off too much. Opponents can receive an unfair amount of power-ups sometimes, even when they're clearly at an advantage. Also, with the combination of certain power-ups you can clear off entire sections of the board in a single turn. Even then comebacks are possible, so it's always any one's game.
In terms of the pay-to-play model, if you're going to pay ten bucks for a yearly account, you might as well just pay fifteen for a lifetime membership. I rarely ever decide to subscribe to an online game, but Quadradius convinced me pretty fast. With a paid account you can register a username and your win/loss stats will be tracked and ranked. You can also set up custom games and change options such as board size, squadron size, squadron color, and time limits. You will even be eligible to use new power-ups, for members only, introduced on the first Tuesday of every month. Cool stuff.
The power-up scenarios and combinations I've mentioned so far hardly scratch the surface of what can occur in this game, so head over to the site and try it out for yourself. Quadradius is still a very small project run by a couple of college guys—so if you like it, go ahead and toss some money their way and enjoy the benefit of bragging rights and unlimited replay value.