February 11, 2008
Gaming Steve Review: Poker Smash
If you own an Xbox 360, love puzzle games, poker (or better yet both), then you owe it to yourself to try out the new Xbox Live Arcade game, Poker Smash. A deceptively simple and addicting game, you'll find it hard to put down after one try.
If you've played Planet Puzzle League, then you know the basics of Poker Smash – colored blocks scroll to the top of the screen and you need to eliminate them by matching groups. Groups can be matched horizontally or vertically, but you can only move the blocks sideways. Poker Smash adds in a few interesting twist, and obviously a poker theme.
Blocks are one of the 5 face cards in a standard playing card deck (that includes the 10) and one of the four suits. To score, you create "hands" like flushes, straights, and full houses. Other tweaks to the formula include an FPS like "slow-mo" ability and bombs to clear away unusable blocks. Challenges pop up every minute that ask you to quickly get four kings in a row or make a flush of clubs for a doubled or quadrupled score. Some fantastic presentation that includes having your score tracked with 3D poker chips and some slick, colorful graphics complete the package.
With multiplayer, timed, action, and puzzle modes, the game includes a everything you'd expect in an 800 Microsoft points Arcade game. I implore you to give the game a try and would be surprised if you aren't immediately hooked.
FINAL VERDICT: 9.0 BUY IT!