A large portion of the fun factor derived from various XBOX Live downloadable titles such as Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance is the community atmosphere created by both cooperative and competitive play. Krome Studios’ Full House Poker taps into this community potential by creating a strangely addicting gameplay experience.
YOU GOT TO KNOW WHEN TO HOLD 'EM...
Poker is Gambling. Gambling is Poker - Full House Poker plays to a simple audience, one which enjoys poker to some extent or another. It is a title that does not try to be more than it is. Boasting both a single player and multiplayer component, Full House Poker provides a strangely addicting gameplay experience. On the bare surface, it does not offer all that much in terms of originality or extra content. The player controls his or her XBOX Live avatar as said player attempts to knock out either AI players or other actual players through the multiplayer component. As you work your way towards amassing more and more fictional dollars, there is a sense of satisfaction that accompanies this gradual rise in virtual wealth. If you’ve ever played 1 vs 100 on XBOX Live, then you will be familiar with both the experience system used and the avatar user controlled celebrations the game has to offer.
Neat Features - In using your avatar, it is to be expected that there would be some amount of customization involved with the game. The amount of customization available in the single player pleasantly surprised me. Not only can you pick what cards you want to use, you can also pick your chair and the color of the table itself. Furthermore, there is also some variety when it comes to the type of poker game you want to play.
KNOW WHEN TO FOLD 'EM
Need to Know the Basics…and Then Some - Although there is a small menu that displays what certain card combinations mean, the game tosses the player right into the action. The tutorials involved do a nice job in explaining the little twists the game puts on poker itself, but offers little to no explanation about poker basics and common poker lingo such as raising, checking, and showdowns. The game definitely plays to an audience that has not only played poker before, but has more than a passing interest in poker itself.
Fake Replayability - Other than the oft-debated achievements, the game also offers an experience point based system where you can level up your avatar by performing various feats such as winning hands consecutively. However, this experience system grows old after awhile and does little to encourage prolonged playing. If anything, a genuine interest in poker itself should provide replayability.
Full House Poker is a solid addition to the XBOX Arcade library. While it does have its faults, such as catering to a crowd with an established interest in poker, I found myself unable to quit playing. With this addiction factor in mind, the game proves to be a solid means to relax and spend some free time or simply boost your Gamerscore. Regardless of the intention, if you’re a fan of poker, be sure to pick this title up for $10.