I'm not sure what it is about dice games that I find so endearing. Maybe it's the excitement of watching the dice tumble across a felt-covered table in a craps game as your fate (and money) hangs in the balance. That adrenaline rush isn't quite the same in Hard8, which is less like a game of craps than it is Tetris with dice, but it still makes for quite a fun game.
Yes, Tetris with dice. The concept of Hard8 has you dropping individual die down a game board with several columns of space. The goal is to add up the dice you drop until you have a vertical or horizontal row that adds up to eight. So like Tetris, the different-numbered dice work like different-sized puzzle pieces. Dropping a six when you need a three is akin to putting two mismatched blocks together.
Still, Hard8 is not as complex as Tetris, a fact that the game attempts to work around by providing three different styles of gameplay. The primary Free Play mode is as I've described it above, where you play until you've stacked too many pieces on top of one another, just like Tetris. The other modes, Puzzle and Tournament, are slight variations on the theme, but provide enough variety to feel uniquely different. Puzzle Mode in particular, where each of the 14 rounds of the game provides a different design of puzzle to solve, feels like an ambitious re-imagining of the main Hard8 concept.
Hard8 also does a great job of keeping track of your gameplay stats. It'll tell you your average score and the total number of games you've played, along with your individual high scores for each mode.
All of this is presented in a very welcoming and bright visual package. Marquee light bulbs scroll by, and everything has a Casino-lite vibe to it.
While Hard8 might not provide the rush of a craps table, it comes close at times. It's not gambling, but maybe it's the next best thing. And it'll save you quite a bit of money, too.