by Matt Dunn
Prepare yourselves for the shock of 2009: there’s actually a twist on Poker on your iPhone. No, seriously. It’s new, fresh, and awesome. Read on for the new game you will be playing with your friends IRL, not just on your iPhone!
Tic a Tac poker has actually been around for a while. It’s been a PC game, mobile game, and even a game on MSN messenger. Many times games least these will fail on the iPhone due to a lazy port. TaT Poker takes full advantage of the iPhone’sa touch screen and online capabilities to create a game that is not only fun, but is hands-down one of the most well-rounded iPhone games I’ve ever seen.
If you know Poker, and you know Tic Tac Toe, you know Tic a Tac Poker. This is one of the great draws of this game, as it’s very easy to learn. There are three different modes of play, and each one has it’s different level of challenge. The first one is the main Tic a Tac Poker game. This consists of Tic Tac Toe board, and a dec of cards. As you draw each card, you have to place it on the board (or discard it if you have that turned on) to form 3-cards hands. So a straight would be Jack, Queen, King, a flush only requires 3 cards of the same suit, etc. As you can see by the 2nd screenshot, the game counts your hands the same way you count Tic Tac Toe; vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.
The second gameplay mode is my favorite. This one combines the Tic Tac Toe gameplay and 5-card draw poker. Each round starts off with standard 5-card draw. Whoever wins that hand gets to choose one of their cards to place on the Tic Tac Toe playing field. Points are given when the third card is placed in a line, and more points are given based on how many of the cards placed are your own. This is the kind of game I could see being easily played for money at home poker gatherings, and I may even try to get it started sometime soon.
The final game is a challenge mode based on the original style of play. This one gives you a certain number of cards, and gives you a goal to complete within a time limit using the Tic Tac Toe board. For instance, it may ask you to create a flush, or two straights, etc. This is one is actually pretty good training for both of the main games, and works well. So three different gametypes. All fun. All original.
But wait, there’s more! Somehow, the devs managed to cram their entire online community structure into the game itself! No, you don’t click a button and get launched into a website (don’t we all just love that?!), but rather, you are taken right to their community within the game. This features a daily and long term leaderboard for all the gametypes, a friend system, and a forum to post screenshots of your best hands, and talk about whatever. All this directly from your iPhone.
The game offers excellent visuals and animations, as well as high quality sounds. There is only one thing missing from this game, and it KILLS me because it would have been an instant 5 stars had this been included. What is it, boys and girls? Do you know?
Yes, online multiplayer would have been completely boss with Tic a Tac Poker. I mean, the online structure is already there to add friends and such… why not add in an “invite to play” feature? But even if no online support is ever included, it would by far reconsiled with a simple local play mode. A simple mode that gives you and a friend random cards to take turns laying on the Tic Tac Toe board would be a lot of fun, and a great quick distraction if you’re with a friend. I pulled this out at a restaurant, and my wife snatched it up and played for 15 minutes. Granted, watching was mildly entertaining.
I can’t complain too much about multiplayer though, because Tic a Tac Poker stands tall as a game that you keep coming back to play, whether or not you can do it with a friend. In fact, the game automatically saves your progress in each gametype, so you can play either one whenever you like. It’s the most original spin on poker I’ve seen on the iPhone, and by one of the most feature-rich card games out there.
Presentation & Graphics
Polished to perfection. Great animation, intuitive community interface, pleasant graphics, and even options to vary the playing card backs and faces.
Simple, clear, satisfying. Not over the top.
It’s poker like you’ve never played it before. It’s addictive. It’s a ton of fun. As stated in the main review, this game is a great candidate to be actually played IRL with you and a friend or two at home! That said, it can sometime be frustrating, but not any more than playing normal Poker.
Three different game modes offer a great variety for gameplay. The built-in community with leaderboards and forums provide for self-proclaimed challenges from other members, and from trying to beat high scores.
The most unique poker game on the app store, and a steal at only $1.99. If you are a fan of any poker game, you will love Tic a Tac Poker. It’s incredibly well polished, with fun and addicting casual gameplay, and a great online community. It may not have any multiplayer built in at the moment, but that can be easily overlooked for the vast amount of other features packed into this game. Go get it. If you’re a poker fan, and even if you’re not, you will be delightfully surprised.