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REVIEW: Poker Night at the Inventory (PC/Mac)

So, an insane rabbit, a Russian merc, a boastful luchador, and a gamer geek walk into a videogame equivalent of a speakeasy and play poker… well, that’s precisely what you get when you play Poker Night at the Inventory.

One might actually call this a $5 downloadable Team Fortress 2 content pack by Telltale Games, since it allows you to win free TF2 items, but on its own, it’s a pretty fun little Texas Hold’em poker game.

There’s not much to say about actual gameplay, of course. It’s poker, and plays like poker. However, the game’s raison d’être is to make you smirk at the antics of the players, who are comprised of:

  • Strong Bad from the flash-animation Homestar Runner cartoon
  • Max from the longtime adventure series Sam & Max
  • The Heavy Weapons Guy from Team Fortress 2
  • Tycho from the Penny Arcade webcomic

Each of them are true to their personality, and being from utterly different intellectual properties, some of their context specific interaction can be very humorous – and in some cases, laugh out loud funny. Of course, some interactions do get repetitive after a while, but there will always be some surprising moment you hadn’t seen before. Even just going into a one-on-one situation when it’s just you and one other character is as fun as it is exciting; Tycho, for example, will start making creepy knowing smirks aimed directly at you.

A lot of the joy will come from those familiar with each of the IPs, as the game knowingly has a lot of visual references. Pom Pom had been in your seat before you join the follows, and you see him angrily leaving the table before you arrive. Sharp eyes will see other characters like Max’s partner Sam, Flint Paper and Monty Muzzle. When Strong Bad is eliminated, he’ll head off into the background to play some Bluster Blaster coin-op arcade. The game even includes unlockables such as getting the Max Imp table after winning a tourney.

You will feel more at ease than most card games as you enjoy being in the presence of familiar characters, and end up wanting more, and the entire result of the entire enterprise is that end up wanting more characters to potentially join games, like Kirby or Master Chief. After all, it’s only cards.

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