606748_largerTelltale Games is on a high after their humongously successful Walking Dead: The Game [Free]. If you doubt that, go here to check out the ridiculous amount of awards it has won. Any game that releases after a massive hit always has a harder time living up to expectations which is why it was probably smart of Telltale Games to release another one of their most popular IPs to help offset the expectations. Enter Poker Night 2 which hit the App Store Thursday night. Sadly, they seem to have fallen victim to the classic Telltale blunder of releasing iOS ports that are choppy, glitchy, and overall just not up to snuff with any other version of the game.

Poker Night 2 [$4.99] itself is the sequel to their PC game Poker Night at the Inventory released in 2010. The sequel continues the tradition of bringing together many of their (as well as other developers’) popular characters. This specific installment features Claptrap (Borderlands 2), Brock Samson (The Venture Bros.), Ash (Army of Darkness), Sam (Sam and Max series) and GLaDOS from the Portal titles as your dealer.


For a game that lives and dies on its well established and famous characters, Poker Night 2 actually succeeds in this regard. There are lengthy dialogues intertwined between plays (which can be frustrating if you’re trying to play a quick game), and actual playing styles that are true to each character. They’ve done a great job meshing these characters in way that feels ultimately rewarding to those players who have played the characters’ solo titles. My favorite’s have got to be the sometimes off putting (in a good way) decision to make GLaDOS as your dealer.

The game has Texas hold ‘em and Omaha hold ‘em as your poker games. It does little variance (if at all) to these games which I enjoyed. My problem rests on being able to play the game at a “faster” pace. First, there aren’t any standard ways to fast forward through some cutscenes and dialogues per se. But worse yet, Poker Night 2 can get very choppy and often times laggy while playing. This is a constant problem with the game engine they use and direct port to iOS. In fact, this goes all the way back to our Jurassic Park: The Game [$2.99]. Things have vaguely improved since then, but this has more to do with the hardware catching up to their engine’s requirements. Telltale has got to do some serious tweaking for iOS ports in the future.


Poker Night 2’s other big advantage is that tokens must be earned and cannot be bought. This provides much needed push to compete and actually win games. Said tokens can be used to buy in game items hardcore gamers should feel pretty happy about. The game’s got lot a lot of personality and character but falls short on actual playability on mobile which can be said for most of Telltale iOS games... sadly. I only recommend buying the game if you’re a dedicated fan of the series and want to play on the go, or if you’re willing to make do with said existing issues to play a game of poker with some of your favorite "friends".

Much like the Walking Dead game and other iOS Telltale titles, if your iOS device is the only way you have to experience them then they're worth checking out, but if you've got any other piece of kit capable of running these games you'll have a substantially better experience regardless of whether you're playing on a PC or home console.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Bischi777

    Pretty harsh review...

    • ErkB729

      I've been playing it quite a bit and haven't run into any problems.... iPhone 5

    • Sanuku

      The truth is always harsh but Telltale Games won`t change their behavior if not everyone will start to point out their Ports are far from being polished.

  • fleshman

    Still better than any Gameloft and EA iOS product...

    • marc0313

      No. Any decent Gameloft product is good. Any PAID product.

      • fleshman

        No, they were good about 3 years ago. But time has changed, and they still use their outdated, dump game engine. And they started to make slubbered games, all with the same issues.

      • detourne

        I disagree. Iron Man 3 was quite good. I didn't have to pay anything. I played for about an hour a day and over a month it told a complete and interesting story through its daily challenges.
        People complain about the timers for fixing armor, I just saw them as a reason to put the game down and do other things with my busy and rewarding life.

      • fleshman

        I played that game for an hour and then deleted it from any device. Pros are the good Iron Man enviroment and the GameCenter support, but the cons... The game is huge, but still ugly as hell, also lags constantly on a Retina iPad, like any other "game" from GL. Also i can't continue my iPad game on iPhone because no iCloud support! I don't want anything from them anymore...

      • marc0313

        Ok, Iron Man 3 is FREE. I said their PAID games are good. You can't tell me Modern Combat 4, N.O.V.A 3 and Wild Blood are bad. Granted Dungeon Hunter 4 was pretty bad, but it was only bad from the IAPs. The rest of the game itself was good.

      • fleshman

        They are bad. Stolen ideas with poor quality makes bad games.
        They use their outdates, crap engine for 4 years! If they make less games with twice development time, then they would make not bad games. But that wouldn't be GL anymore....

      • marc0313

        Dude, MC4 uses Havok. Havok is a great engine. Gameloft is a great company, when they try.

      • chimpman252

        So you're saying the timers are Gameloft's way of trying to get you to stop playing the game? Somehow that doesn't seem like a great business strategy.

      • detourne

        No, it's not. It's just something I appreciate. I can get a bit addicted to games so I like it sometimes. Saves me from getting all dead-legged when I'm on the toilet too 😉

      • fleshman

        It's funny because i am a toilet gamer also:)

  • oldgamer dude

    I have to say it's running smooth on my touch 5g and I'm loving it . Wonder what you guys were using to test it ?

    • ErkB729

      Agreed, the game is running perfectly for me. I love it.

  • Abel

    "classic Telltale blunder of releasing iOS ports that are choppy, glitchy, and overall just not up to snuff"?

    I'm not sure what device you're playing with, but their games run smoothly on my Ipad 3. Brad even gave the Walking Dead 5 stars. I did not like some of the gameplay for Jurassic Park, but I did not experience many choppy or glitchyness during my playthrough.

    I agree that Poker Night 2 could use a way to skip the cutscenes, but beyond that, it is my opinion that Telltale's point-and-click games are much more suited to the touchscreen than the PC, including Poker Night 2.

  • Mihavey

    Its AMAZING game! Telltale games made very good "the walking dead", then "poker night 2". I waiting for "the wolf among us" and "the walking dead: season 2"

  • Bischi777

    Even iron man got 3 stars... This makes me so sad.

    • toxiccheese

      You can't compare review scores from two completely different games from two completely different genres.

      • Bischi777

        I just did.

      • caaalrb

        Such a rebel

      • Bischi777

        Just wait until i start comparing apples and oranges.

      • menom

        Oranges are more orange

      • lavenders2

        But apples are more red!

    • detourne

      Iron Man 3 deserved more than 3 stars. The real travesty was that glitchy grind fest ninja turtle game getting such a good score.

  • Ben Norvell

    It's running ok on my ipad 2 but it does crash a lot at the start screen. I would have given it 4 stars to be honest

  • caomhan15

    Dont let this review detter you, great game! And is it just me or is TA turning into IGN?

    • MidianGTX

      It's you.

      • DranDran

        Nah, I second his motion.

      • marc0313

        I don't mind IGN..

      • MidianGTX

        It's you as well then.

  • raviadso

    Flawless on 4S. Not sure why there are complaints. It's fun and charming. I don't even like poker but have been playing this one for hours. I must win the necronomicon!

  • JohnnyHand

    The star rating... Makes my heart sad :/

  • Peter Bohanna

    FYI- Skiing Fred is out today- time for a review!

  • Omn1c1d3

    My iPhone 5 isn't having any of these problems other than draining my battery like crazy. If I am I haven't noticed. The star rating itself I'm ok with because for $5 you don't get a lot. The AI isn't very good. I wish you had a cash pool that carried over game to game. I also would like more characters but probably would take a massive amount of space to add more.

    • Skullinton

      There is a cash pool on the stats page in the pause menu.

      • Omn1c1d3

        A real cash pool. Not that arbitrary score keeper.

      • Skullinton

        The point that everyone has the same cash pool at te beginning of a game is for balance, and that's how poker works.

  • Skullinton

    I haven't had any big issues, the "choppy" part I have encountered was that between dialogues, there were sometimes long pauses (which also happen on the xbox version). The review does seem a bit harsh, since there seems to be a lot of positive things left out. Otherwise great game.

  • ODMay

    Brock from The Venture Bros. cartoon lol

  • captainChocolade

    Whoa this game sucks

    • ErkB729

      No, it doesn't.

  • Nick

    I thought I had seen the worst TA review a while back, but no. This takes the cake.

    The game has been designed as a fan service simple poker game. It has about 4 or so hours of dialogue between the characters, and most of the humor is pretty solid. Once in a whole, a joke might fall flat, but I think that's pretty standard for any comedy.

    If you know The Venture Brothers, Borderlands, Sam and Max and Ash (sadly not voiced by Bruce, unsurprisingly) and have a passing interest in poker - this is a 4 star game.

    I've experienced no lag or slowness on my iPhone 5, iPad 4 and 2. See, what I did was test on multiple devices, which is what reviewers are supposed to do.

    I understand that reviews are opinions, but this review is as frustrating as 148's Eclipse review and ipadboardgame's Talisman review. And that's not a good thing.

    • Robert Cummings

      Agreed, reviewers should be thorough and test it on multiple devices or how on earth are you going to encourage developers to shoot for more impressive graphics and physics for example? Reviewers do influence game developers, and the message here is: Develop for the iPhone 4, no later. It's trivial to test on the cheapest device, and highest performance device.

  • Nick

    I just read the review again, and my takeaway is that the negatives are:

    - The game is choppy and laggy (where? When? What device?)
    - the pace is a bit slow with all the talking (you mean the MAIN reason people purchased the game?)

    Those two issues are enough to make this 2.5 stars?

    It just flummoxes me. I have understood negative reviews for things I truly enjoy, and that's fine when they're objective and accurate. This isn't.

    I don't think you can consider the game being laggy/choppy

  • jeffyg3

    I seriously have to question what device this was tested on. I'm running this on an iPad mini and I don't see the lag this review was barking at...was this review tested on a more low end phone like the iPhone 4? I understand differing opinions, but this review seems way off

  • icoker

    Heavily underrated. Why give this one less than four stars when TNMT's IAP-infested endless runner received a 4.5?

    • detourne

      Yeah that game was a complete ripoff. I'm still pissed I paid for it.

  • Abel

    Can we get a re-review of this?
    As everyone has pointed out, the game being choppy and laggy seems to be isolated to the reviewer alone.

  • Smartbomb

    Worthless review IMHO. Glad I didn't let it put me off buying this, what an awesome game.

  • Guest

    Basing a low review score almost entirely around technical problems, without even mentioning what devices you tested on, is worse than useless. Reviews like this make me wonder why I bother reading this site.

  • Mandi

    I played this yesterday on my iPad 2, 2 full tournaments, and loved every second! No slowdown here either. Honestly, this one is going to stay on my pad for a *while*. I also don't get the glitchiness comment, all of Telltale's games have run just fine for me.

  • BrionyEddon

    Whoever reviewed this game needs to be let-go. I agree with all the other comments: I have 0 lag/choppiness on my iPad Mini and I bought the game for the dialog, not for quick "poker" - there are other games for that out there, including Apple's own Hold 'Em game released back in the day.

    Very poor reviewer.

    • Greyskull

      Apple pulled it's own poker game from the store.

  • Robert Cummings

    Perhaps stars need to have a point. Learning from old classic magazines such as Zzap would probably teach most reviewers how to actually review. Having a star per category makes sense to me: a star for graphics+sound. A star for originality. A star for how long it lasts you. A star for sheer fun and a star, finally for value for money/reviewer impression. While it isn't important how the stars are layed out, it is important to have some form of consistency and sanity.

    Perhaps all reviewers should actually pay for the games they review out of their own pockets. This would certainly screw some publishers who are used to high scores for their iAP laden nonsense. Failing that, have the decency to bear it in mind for the public. I see some reviewers being this considerate, but others not.

    I grew up in the 8 bit era where reviews in magazines were not only vital but had a sense of responsibility. Demos were hard to come by, and there wasn't any kind of internet as you know today. Back then, it was important for reviewers to EXPLAIN WHY they marked a game as so and so, and even had second opinion box-outs from other staff members who didn't necessarily agree with the primary reviewer. This was much more fair and interesting for the reader and developer alike.

    The biggest issue I have is by far how influenced developers are by reviewers. As readers, you have the responsibility to judge the reviewers as the reviewers are judging the developers and can make or break sales, which directly impact the design of the next game you play. It is up to YOU, the readers to make your point clear that your spokesperson has a responsibility not only to you, but to the developers of the games you play.

  • Batman1v

    The review was also rife with typos and poorly composed. I've been reading touch arcade for years, and the quality of reviewers is slipping. TA needs some reviewer over sight, or to simply lose the weaker members of it's staff, because reviews like this lessen the site's credibility.

  • Zeldaniac


    nein nein Nein NEIN NEEEIIIINNNN!!!!!

  • jordandev

    terrible review

  • marc0313

    Ok, does anyone have news on RollerCoaster Tycoon?

  • ImJPaul

    Welcome to TA newb. Now feel the wrath of a thousand die hard iOS gamers who disagree with your opinion. Gotta say I'm with them though. This game is pretty awesome and smooth as crisco on my iPhone 5.

    • Bischi777

      Did I hear Lynch Mob?

  • Smartbomb

    This reviewer awarded Running With Friends a better score... :/

  • nothingreal

    Hmm.. It's just a bit laggy on an iPad 3.. But not really that bad at all.

    Well worth the price.. Much better game than most of the 4 star rated games, I think the review wasn't that accurate - based on my experience anyway.

    If you like poker, funny dialogues and have some level of affinity with any of he characters, get it.. Don't think twice.

  • sbrevolution5

    This review is pure crap, the game runs practically flawlessly

  • http://www.twitter.com/invalidname realinvalidname

    Like many others here, I've seen no technical problems on an iPad 4 or an iPhone 4S. And as for the chat between characters slowing down gameplay… that's kind of the point of the game, and there are many other Texas Hold 'Em games you could get if you just want to burn through hands as quickly as possible.

    This review kind of reads like the author wanted to make a bigger point out of his dissatisfaction with other Telltale games, and didn't let facts get in the way of his thesis. Another reminder to not believe everything you read on the internet.

  • Zentatsu

    I wonder how TA will handle this review, will they change it or stand to this creditability breaker review. Seriously, on any aspect I thought about this game.. This is actually one of my best iOS poker game experience.

    Well about the game, it's a awesome "not the usual online iOS poker game" plus a little bit cheesy dialogues with humor.

  • Abel

    doesn't seem like they're gonna change the review or further explain... shame on you TA..

  • KevinS

    After all these negative comments, nothing is going to be changed. Wow, if it wasn't for the awesome forums I don't know if I'd even really visit TouchArcade regularly.

  • Rickard Olsson

    And for this review, you used which iPhone/iPad? This game runs great on my iPad 2. The main menu can be a little choppy, but you only see it once anyway. Gameplay is really smooth. No problems whatsoever.

    Also, game is a blast. I hardly knew anything about Texas Hold'em before trying this out, and actually had no interest in poker at all. But this game turned my world upside down. I love it, and now I love poker as well.

    Get this game, escpecially for your iPhone/iPad. (check the requirements though).

  • mgabrysPHX

    I haven't gotten the desktop version so I can only see a couple of differences from the playthroughs on youtube - it seems themes like "Venture Bros" has lighting effects not present when running on iPad 2 level hardware (like the first gen iPad Mini). I haven't unlocked the theme yet on the latest iPhone to compare (I have a 5SE which should - hopefully - have more hardware to accommodate lighting effects, if they're present).

    Can anyone else verify differences between old iOS hardware / new iOS hardware and desktop? (If no one does I'm sure I'll post a follow-up because even having completed the game - I'm still finding new dialogue and situations, so I'm sure I'll find out eventually as I'll get the desktop version soon).

Poker Night 2 Reviewed by James Isabel on . Rating: 2.5