Developer: Century Game Company LLC
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Just in time for tax season, iPhone and iPad users can relieve some of their IRS frustration with the Screw the I.R.S. app – a fast-paced card game in which players attempt to be the first to come up with expenses to match their salaries and play the winning “Screw the I.R.S.” card. Part strategy, part luck of the draw, back taxes, loop hole and audit cards will help you beat your opponents to the no-tax-liability filing punch.
Screw the I.R.S. is a turn-based card game for up to four players. Players can pit their luck against up to four computer opponents or play the Game Center enabled multiplayer mode. Cards include salary cards, expense cards, proof of expense cards, audit, back taxes, loop hole and the screw cards. A salary card is needed to begin building your “return” and expense cards are then played to equal the salary card amount. Amounts range from a meager $25,000 to a very respectable income of $200k. Offset your entire salary with enough expenses and play the screw card to win before your opponents. But watch out – your opponents can audit you, demanding proof of income.
The premise of Screw the I.R.S. provides a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor for this time of year, but name aside, it is a fairly interesting strategic card game. Like many card games with special cards and rules, it takes a bit of floundering to catch on. It isn’t difficult to learn, but it does take some trial games to really catch on. There are directions accessible from the main menu and plenty of opportunity to get the hang of it by playing a two-player game against a single CPU opponent. Playing against the computer is fine in the beginning, but as you catch on, you’ll be itching to play against real live opponents.
While I found the game to be fairly quick and fun, I had difficulty making a Game Center match. Every attempt merely resulted in an “approximate auto-match wait time” of over 2 minutes, but no matter how many minutes passed, a multiplayer match was never found. Unlike some App Store card games, Screw the I.R.S. does not have a pass-and-play option or the ability to connect locally with another player. Whether Game Center matches are unavailable because of very limited user base or because of a technical glitch is hard to say. Playing against the computer is still fun once you get the hang of it, but pitting your strategy and luck against a real live opponent or two would be better.
All in all, Screw the I.R.S. is a completely different kind of strategy card game with a premise so tantalizing as to win by owing no taxes that it’s hard not to like it. There’s nothing particularly sophisticated about the visual design or sound effects, but it is optimized for retina display. The interface is simple and it works for the platform, but it could just as easily fair well as a real-life four-player table top card game. Aside from failing to make a Game Center match, Screw the I.R.S. proves to be a totally unique and entertaining card game that is quick to play and offers a miniscule thrill moment when you win with a fantasy kick in the teeth to the IRS.