February 17, 2011 | by Michael Heller
Poker Swap is the first game from Motu Tapu Games. It’s a fun game with a simple premise: you have a 5×5 grid of cards and you move them around to make the best poker hands horizontally and vertically. The game has 4 modes:
- Quick game – get the best score you can in 90 seconds
- 3-Round Game – 3 quick games in a row to get the best score you can
- Survival – hit increasing score targets round after round
- Zen Mode – no time limits, just do your best
Poker Swap also has full Open Feint integration so you can test your scores against friends online.
As I said, the game is fun, albeit a bit simple. The trouble is that the presentation makes it look like it was ported from my 1999 feature phone. The art in the game is very low resolution, and it is hard to ignore, especially when you pop over to the slick Open Feint menus then come back to the jagged edges on the Poker Swap menus. Once into the game the jaggies aren’t so bad, and it’s easy to get into the game. The sound is also quite basic and harkens back to MIDI effects. This becomes especially annoying because you have to mute the game every time you launch it, the setting doesn’t stick.
Once you get past the presentation, the game is fun and engaging for short periods of time, but it’s not very deep. Maybe it will change once there are more people on the Open Feint boards, but right now there isn’t a lot of reason to keep playing. The idea is simple, but it’s also a bit limiting. You may find yourself looking for the same patterns and setting up the board in similar ways to get your high score. There are also 39 achievements to go after, but even those can get frustrating, because ultimately they depend more on you getting lucky with the cards than any skill you have at the game.
The game comes in a full-featured ad-supported free version, and a paid ad-free Pro version, which also adds extra Open Feint achievements. The paid version is only $.99, so it is definitely worth it if you like the game, because the ads are pretty obnoxious. They aren’t simply banners at the bottom, but full page ads that force you to wait a few seconds before giving you an option to continue.
Despite the bumps, the game is fun, and available right now in the Market. Give it a try!