Swords & Poker Adventures – An All New Card Battle

3.0 Overall Score
Gameplay: 3.5/5
Design: 3/5
Duration: 2.5/5

Surprising amount of strategy | A lengthy campaign to play through

Lacks variety later on | Energy meter hampers a lot | Not too different than the first two


When you think of battles, beasts, and blades you rarely think of poker to go along with it. In Swords & Poker AdventuresFr, you get to use your poker prowess to battle various beasts across a lengthy land. Sword & Poker has seen two versions before, but now the developers have teamed up with Konami for an all new version, with a true adventure set-up. You make your way through multiple zones across varying regions with numerous enemy types to defeat with various poker hands. Each battle begins with a 3 x 3 card grid, and you add two cards at a time either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally to form five card poker hands.
Your success comes down to forming the best poker hands you can with pairs, straights, flushes, and more. The better the hand, the more damage it does, and you take turns with an enemy as you both aim to deplete the health of the other. Part of the game deals with the luck of the draw, but there’s also a surprising amount of strategy. The card grid allows for eight potential hands to be formed, and while you always want to make the best hand that you can, sometimes you want to block your opponent from making great hands. Also, as the board fills up, you will get to the point where you can place two cards, which can also form hands in other directions, and you want to time things up, so you can play the multi hand cards.

The game offers an accessible set-up as long as you’re familiar with poker, but the style increases in challenge as you go with the varying enemies. Also, the Adventures version includes a lot of RPG extras allowing you to upgrade your sword, shield, and health to change the way you attack, and defend. There’s a whole lot of content included, but the one problem seems to be that a lot of the game blends together with most battles playing out almost identically. There’s strategy involved, but very little variety in the battles, so you don’t need to try to change your strategy, unless you keep losing. After you play about five zones, there’s nothing much else to see beyond the unlockables, which essentially just let you handle the tougher opponents.
Another differentiator of Swords & Poker Adventures is the free to play set-up. The biggest detractor in this regard is the energy meter, with each battle costing two energy points of your ten point meter. You can only play five battles at a time, unless you level up, or spend money. There is a single $4.99 in-app purchase to get rid of the energy meter, but the repetitive nature may dissuade you from spending $5 on the game. Swords & Poker Adventures has a promising pedigree that looks to create a straight flush, but simply comes up with ace high.

Swords & Poker Adventures (Free, Universal) is well put together with a lot to do, but there isn’t the greatest incentive to keep playing, making it worth considering depending on your affinity for poker, and the first two.


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