Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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Slightly reminiscent of games such as Poker Pals, PokerTower is a poker game mixed with Match Three style elements. With a plentiful supply of different game modes, it should prove quite the hit at a mere $0.99.
Encapsulating the days of the Nintendo Gameboy and monochrome 8-bit graphics, PokerTower won't win any prizes for its looks but it suits the nature of the game. Players are presented with a screen full of cards, and the ability to swipe between them in order to line up their plays. Following Poker rules, it's pretty simple to understand what combination of cards works where, and there's never a penalty for making a mistake. Unusually for such a game, it's possible to add irrelevant cards to a play too. Although no points are gained for doing so, it can prove to be useful just to get rid of useless cards.
Four different game modes are available, each offering a slight twist on the familiar format. Time Attack offers a time limit for players to gain the best score within, while Challenge mode gives users one pack of 52 cards and the sole mission to gain the best score from them. Tower Mode is akin to many other puzzle games, with a row being added to the bottom of the screen each time a move is made. Hit the top and it's game over. I found this mode a little too easy but it was fun.
Most interesting of the modes is Survival Mode. Following an RPG motif, players must defeat a series of monsters by dealing the most damage via card plays. It's a little basic as there's no way of healing, for example, but it's fun to have that added level of structure to the card playing experience.
PokerTower keeps it quite simple, but it's never less than enjoyable. Simple to learn and easy to lose one's self into for brief or extended session, it's got the casual card gaming market down well.