Poker Swap Pro Review

Poker Swap Pro Review

Sep 28, 2011

Think you’ve got a pretty good poker face? Well, save it, because it won’t help you here. Poker Swap Pro takes the idea of assembling different poker hands from the cards you have available to you and turns it into a decent game of solitaire. Chips, cigars and a few extra buddies with thick wallets are also not required.

As far as puzzle games go, Poker Swap Pro isn’t very deep. You have 5 rows and 5 columns of cards, and all you’re doing is swapping them, one at a time, to assemble high-scoring hands vertically and horizontally. Depending on the game mode, you’ll be given a time limit, or a set goal score to beat before you can move on to the next round. There’s also a Zen Mode, with no time limit or other pressures holding you down. It’s just you and the cards, mixing and matching to your heart’s desire.

The addition of special cards with unique attributes add a bit more strategy to the game. You have cards that increase the time limit, score multipliers, locked cards and a stone piece that can be moved, but prevents you from making a full hand in that row/column. You also have to watch out for repeating matches you’ve already made, as this will deduct points. In Survival Mode, you need to be especially careful. You might hit the goal, but find yourself going under it when you make too many mistakes.

The graphics in Poker Swap Pro are rather plain and dull. Cards, menus and other interactive elements barely animate or show off any sort of glitz; they all seem too utilitarian. On one hand, it’s a puzzle game; you don’t really need glitz. On the other hand, some polish is better than none. The same goes for the sound. With no background music, all you have are the sounds of chimes that announce when a special card is in play, an element has been touched or when the cards are shuffling. That’s about it.

My biggest complaint about the game is that it requires you to already have a working knowledge of what cards constitute different hands in poker. If you don’t know the difference between a “flush” and a “straight flush,” you may have trouble getting high scores. On top of that, the game doesn’t tell you what hand you’ve just made, nor does it tell you how to make each kind of hand. This can be a pretty rough experience for newcomers who are not only unfamiliar with this game but who know nothing of poker (or could at least use a quick refresher) as well.

If you know a thing or two about poker and really like solitaire games, Poker Swap Pro can be a lot of fun. Even if you don’t know anything about poker, it’s easy to learn the different hands while having a good time. Then you have OpenFeint achievements, scoreboards and more to make this simple game a great challenge for yourself, or between friends.

Poker Swap Pro Review Rundown

6
Graphics/Sound - Featuring simple, utilitarian graphics that do their job without any flash or fancy visuals. They aren't terrible, just plain. The sounds are also very simple, without any background music for accompaniment.
6
Controls - Dragging and dropping cards is rather simple and straightforward, but can be fussy. There were a few times that the game ignored a swap and it had to be attempted again.
8
Gameplay - While not a deep game, the special cards make for a little bit of extra strategy. The score penalties can also keep you on your toes. Attempting to line up a hand vertically and horizontally at the same time is quite a challenge. A fun game, though it does require you to know a few basics about poker.
7
Replay Value - Featuring OpenFeint achievements and online scoreboards, the challenge of keeping ahead of friends might be enough to make you come back for more. Likewise, the simple gameplay and puzzle elements make for a relaxing game when you're by yourself and need to kill some time.
6.5
Overall - With a little more polish, this might be the kind of game you love telling friends about. The ability to change backgrounds is a start, but there could be more done to customize the experience. It feels a little too basic, like one of the card games you'd find in the Start Menu in Windows 95, but with enough extra modes and features make it much more enjoyable.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Demo version is also available on the Google Play Store »

Dale Culp
Dale Culp has been writing about video games in print and on the web for the better part of the last 10 years. From the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 360 and beyond, he's covered just about everything. You'll find his work in places such as TheWeekender.com, GoLackawanna.com, Gamesylvania.com, EscapistMagazine.com and even IGN.com
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