Review:- Poker Pals

Poker PalsGame: Poker Pals
Format: iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch
Developer: Aspyr Media
Publisher: Chillingo

Like Poker? Unhappy with the way the Poker dynamic plays out on social / mobile games? Welcome, I just may have a solution for you…

Poker Pals is an iDevice game, covering the Phone, Pad and Touch hardware, which takes a novel approach to delivering a strong poker themed social game.

Understanding, as Aspyr Media clearly do, that the traditional poker experience between friends, or indeed enemies, does not really carry across properly to our busy mobile world they’ve obviously sat down and thought about how it could be best delivered to the myriad “i” devices, how play style might be adapted to suit our asynchronous world, and also how to add something fresh to the mix.

The result of this intellectual labour is what turns out to be a perhaps suprisingly fresh experience, one both perfectly tailored to the “i” series of Apple devices and achieving true stylistically polished quality.

Everything about the game speaks to the quality one expects from the publishers of, amongst other games, Angry Birds and Cut The Rope.

Poker Pals 2The interface, the visuals, the graphics, the control scheme, the sound and the social aspects are all both fully featured and slickly implemented. With Game Center integration, social options and a string of in-game achievements everything around the core game experience is top draw.

But what of the game itself?

Well, I came in not expecting too much, maybe a very good poker game, but to my suprise I was suprised ( ;-) ) . Combining the best of the hugely popular “tile” based social game approach with a strong poker flavour delivers something for everyone, and what at first glance appears to be quite a simple poker style game soon shows it’s depth and complexity as the end game of each round can get seriously complicated as you balance your own point scoring needs against the cynical desire to deny your opponent, be they AI or human, any such success!

Both easy to pickup and play for fun and rewarding to those who want to really tactically squeeze the most out of each game, perhaps it’s master stroke is that the length of each game is absolutely perfect for your quick break / journey between tube stops / wait for bus whilst also being simple enough to enable you to maintain a couple of games live at a time between multiple chums, even if one or both of you needs to take an extended break from the game to, I don’t know, maybe attend a meeting or do some work? *Shudder* ;-)

Review Round-Up

Graphics – 4/5: All one could ever ask from both gameplay and interface. It’s poker meets Scrabble, and that’s exactly what it looks like!

Sound – 4/5: Nothing ground breaking, but then this is a poker social game! Melodious and inobtrusive.

Gameplay – 4/5: Other than the brutal AI (Seriously, don’t give up, you will master it!) the game plays well in single player, and does serve as an excellent preparation for the wiles of fellow human players, against whom the game really shines.

Longevity – 4/5: This entirely depends on who you can find to play it against you, but with a large number of achievements and a truly terrifing AI (at higher levels) there is certainly plenty to get out of the game.

Overall 4 of a kind out 5

With most people using their “i” devices to play either poker or a tile based word game of some sort this is everyone’s opportunity to get the best of both worlds!

– Richard “Rax” Burley