- Scribbled on March 7th, 2008 by Jonah Falcon
- Filed in Microsoft Xbox 360, Puzzle, Reviews, Xbox Live Arcade
Craving some Tetris Attack or Planet Puzzle League on your Xbox 360? Well, Void Star has introduced the latest addictive variant of the formula, with a poker twist: Poker Smash, and have created one of the best Xbox Live Arcade games since its inception.
(Click “Read more…” for the rest of the review.)
Poker Smash is a puzzle game in which the blocks constantly rise toward the top of the playfield, and the player eliminates them by making matches to clear them. The big twist, as the game’s title implies, is that the blocks are cards from Ace through the 10 card, and the matches are poker hands of a value of 3-of-a-kind and up. Each hand has a value that’s counted off in poker chips – a straight flush (which is a royal flush since there’s only A-to-10s) is a whopping 15,000 points. Part of the fun comes when a “challenge hand” appears for a limited amount of time, a hand which offers huge bonus points if the player is able to make the hand before the challenge expires.
Cards are moved horizontally with single cursor. The player also has a limited allotment of bombs that can be placed on single cards to make them disappear. Combinations occur when additional matches occur after a match, which increases the multiplier by one for each combo. It’s unbelievably difficult to get 5X, though – one wonders how in the world some players achieved 20X combos, let alone 44X, which is the top achievement on the online leaderboard.
In addition to the single-player modes, the game also features great multiplayer action, including local split screen multiplayer mode and an Xbox Live “tournament” mode. The multiplayer mode is cannily handled, in which each player receives an allotment of chips. Players gain and lose chips to other players depending on how well they’re playing and the sorts of hands they create. The game is over when one player owns all the chips.
Poker Smash is a breath of fresh air for Xbox 360 owners, and a great alternative to games like Bejeweled 2. If you had a craving for Planet Puzzle League action, buy it right away. As usual, the demo is free, so one can try before they buy the full version for 800 Microsoft Points ($10 USD).
You can check out Poker Smash in action here.