Smappsoft is another company that I had the pleasure of meeting at last year's Macworld, when they were readying the release of their clever matching game Look Again! [$1.99/Lite]. We liked Look Again! quite a bit in our review, and a child-friendly spinoff was released later in the year called Look Again Jr [99¢] which takes the core gameplay of the original but adds in all sorts of learning-centric things for young kids like spelling and counting. It's actually really well done, with brightly colored visuals and some solid voice work, and is something I'd suggest checking out for any of the parents out their with little ones.
One thing you might not realize about Smappsoft though is that they have a fairly large presence in the world of professional poker. Their Chinese 13 Card Poker [$4.99] has an almost cult-like following in the competitive card playing world, and a day doesn't go by where I don't see some kind of professional poker star tweeting about playing the game or looking for new online opponents.
Smappsoft is sticking with the poker theme for their next game, and are looking to turn video poker on its ear with the upcoming Pokertini. I was able to spend some quality time with Pokertini during our meeting, and let's just say I had a pretty hard time giving them their iPad back. Pokertini looks like your average 3-hand video poker on the surface, with brightly colored visuals, a clean interface, and some jazzy background music. Video poker games aren't anything new on the App Store, so initially it might be hard to see what all the fuss is about with Pokertini.
This is where the twists come in. There is a list off to the side of the screen that is filled with various types of powerups and game augmenters. Using coins you earn from playing, or by purchasing more through an in-game store, you can use these twists to change up some of the aspects in the game. Things like multiplying your bet amounts because you drew a great initial hand, or blocking high cards from being drawn from the deck because you're trying to go for that low straight. The twist menu adds all sorts of crazy strategy to how you go about playing each hand, and is a really fun way to mix up the tried and true video poker gameplay.
The other big addition is a badge system that works almost like the mini-missions in Jetpack Joyride. At any time you can click the icons in the upper right of the screen to check which badge you're currently on and what types of things you need to fulfill before advancing to the next badge. These can be tied to things like getting certain hands, winning certain bets, and more. This is the real carrot on the string for Pokertini, and I can already tell I'll be spending an unhealthy amount of time chasing missions to upgrade my badge status.
Pokertini was a lot of fun during the time I spent with it, and it looks like it's very near completion so keep your eyes out for it to hit the App Store soon.
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