Late last month, we posted news of Konami buying the Sword & Poker IP and soft launching a totally new, re-worked free to play version of the game. If you read the story, Jared details an extensive meeting we had with the developers at WWDC about how they were still actively tweaking the payment model of the game and were highly receptive to our feedback on it. This, of course, didn't stop commenters from as predictably as the sun rising going completely off the handle.

And, just as we mentioned back then, Konami did actually go ahead and add a $4.99 IAP unlock that strips the Candy Crush-style energy system from the game… Further proving that passing any sort of solid judgement on a game when it's still in its soft launch phase and actively being tweaked is pretty silly. It's also worth mentioning that the energy system if you don't pick up this unlock really isn't that bad, as you'll seriously need to be having a Sword & Poker Adventures [Free] marathon (or just be really bad at the game) to need it.

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The blue gem control currency still exists in game, regardless of whether or not you spring for the unlimited energy unlock… But, I played quite a bit of the soft launched version and really didn't hit any sort of progress wall where I needed to spend more gems than the game had already given me for free.

Anyway, Sword & Poker Adventures plays just like Sword & Poker [$2.99] and Sword & Poker 2 [$3.99]. It's basically those classics updated with things like retina graphics, 3D cards, a more cohesive tutorial, and for better or worse- The ability to link your Facebook account.

For more information on the Sword & Poker games, check out our review of the original. The mechanics in the new one are mostly the same, but, we'll review it all the same as soon as we spend more time with the official worldwide release version.

  • https://www.youtube.com/HansKaosu HansKaosu

    Awesome :) time to download

  • Tastyfish

    Knowing that there are some equipment that is only purchasable by using GEMS, what's the better value:
    1. Sword & Poker 1 for $3
    2. Sword & Poker 2 for $4
    3. Sword & Poker Konami for $5

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Sword & Poker Adventures for $0 is the best value.

      • Ubisububi

        I really gotta wonder why you are such a fan of freemium. Unless you've got loads of time or money, it's always a worse deal for gamers.

        Oh, and telling me: "it's the future" doesn't wash any more than backing a robot uprising would just because it's inevitable.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Buying a $60 console game I play for ten minutes and don't really like then never touch again is a pretty bad deal, comparatively. In the free to play world I know exactly how much I like a game before I decide to spend money on it. Most of the time, the way these games are structured, I can play them for free forever.

      • Ubisububi

        As you are likely a skilled gamer, I can see how freemium is a great deal for you. If you had kids, however, you'd know what a blight this business model on the rest of us. Besides, nobody minds persistent IAPs or unlocks. It's the krappy currencies that bleed us dry.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        If I had kids who didn't understand the meaning of the word "no," sure.

      • Ubisububi

        That was a bit testy, wasn't it? Of course they understand "no" but that doesn't stop them from asking with every new "FREE" game.

      • ktern

        if your kids have some kind of allowance, there's no harm in letting them sink their cash on IAPs, but showing them that they could hold on to their money via intelligent play

        as a teacher i know how poorly "do this" or "don't do that" sticks with kids. better to show them how the "right" decision benefits them

      • Ubisububi

        Good point, but the real problem isn't that they are begging for IAPs, it's that they get irritated and frustrated when they are enjoying a game then they hit a paywall or the difficulty spikes. Something I never ever have to worry about when I spend a couple of bucks on a premium game. It's not that it's unworkable, it's that it's simply a less desirable choice.

      • ktern

        mm. that's understandable. i think this game's implementation of freemium is quite good in that you can remove the energy system for a reasonable price, so if you feel that's a better value or will save you a lot of headaches, the option's there

        do you have this problem in premium games that have IAPs which give you game currency or items?

      • the_rebel14

        I've got to disagree. It's not kids knowing what "no" means, it's not knowing the value of the dollar. If they think that it's normal and valuable to constantly buy upgrades, booster unlocks, and currencies from these "free" games, they don't need to know the word "no", they need to know the word "waste". I'm not saying that F2P games are a complete waste, I'm just pointing out the annoyance for adults and the even larger annoyance for parents and their kids, especially when the game is marketed primarily at young ages. Paywalls and difficulty spikes that almost force you to buy things are just an inconvenience and annoyance in a very ugly and unsavory form.

      • mid83

        I do agree that people go way overboard whenever IAP/Freemium/Online required comes up on a story or forum post here.

        With that said, my biggest issue with freemium is the game design changes. Just look at the RPG genre on the App Store. Aside from Kemco and SE, 99% of what we see are PAD clones/card battlers. While I'm willing to give a f2p game a shot, it sucks that most of them tend to have very shallow gameplay vs premium games in the same genre (with some exceptions of course).

      • Nick Smith

        This is the most important part about the F2P argument, and it's that F2P changes gameplay. It changes the way people go at designing games. There has been more of a shift from making money by creating the best game you possibly can towards creating shallow quick experiences with F2P mechanics in design.

      • Nick Smith

        If your argument is that free to play is great because you always get to try before you pay for IAPs then you're not even understanding why people don't like F2P to begin with. Funnily enough, it actually has nothing to do with money, and I know that sounds crazy, but think about it. Real gamers that have a passion for the media are looking at the content of the game first. Forget if it's free or 60 dollars, just look at it objectively as a game. Standard pay to play games flow naturally, they don't expect inhuman levels of grinding, they don't tell you when you get to play and when you need to pay for energy, they don't pump 30 second advertisements into your face, they don't tell you to buy coin doublers because they know the grind is unfair....the list goes on forever Eli, and this is actually what you're defending. It's not defending the ability to try and pay when you think it's deserving. You are defending the concept of introducing blatantly annoying elements that are anti-game solely for monetary purposes. It's soulless, it's degrading to the art, and really this should just be common sense unless you're still a child and easily fooled.

        As for those 60 dollar games you're getting burned on...it's called renting. It's been around since the NES days. I'm sure you're capable, look up gamefly, I go through five 60 dollar games in a 7 dollar month. And do know this Eli...you are truly a fanboy amongst fanboys. You are never there in the articles that praise the move for premium, and every other article you can't help but slam people for being disappointed in free to play. You're slamming people for having common sense and loving the history of gaming. Sorry we don't want energy and dual currency super grinds so you can sample a game and not get burned. I'm sorry we'd rather pay PREMIUM PRICE. But supposedly we're the cheap ones? Hah

      • Nick Smith

        I do have one other objection to F2P that's at least more interesting than annoying timers, and that's the morally dubious qualities of how F2P makes its money. Yeah, a 60 dollar premium game could be good or it could be bad, but it is what it is. There are no tricks to it. It is good or bad purely on its own merits. F2P uses underhanded tactics like classic gambling psychology, and the concept of daily bonuses not because they're being nice, but because they want you to come back every day to force a habitual commitment to the game subconsciously. I don't like these types of moves because it treats the fanbase like easily manipulated idiots, but it works, because we're human, and we're predictable.

      • mid83

        There is also the fact that f2p relies on whales to make money. Candy Crush prints money like crazy but only like 2-3% of players pay. Out of those the overwhelming majority of revenue comes from a very small 1-2% of those paying players, which would be the whales.

        I think it's a problem when games are designed to rely on a small group of people spending obscene amounts of money on the game. People can spend their money as they want, but my issue is how relying on whales affects game design.

      • Nick Smith

        Also another good point. I know we've all stared at those 100 dollar gem packs and wondered who the hell could possibly be buying these things. Think about this sentence. "Free" to play games consistently have 100 real actual dollar gem packs. An IAP that costs double the price of your typical triple A premium console/PC release. How is that not an insane concept to people who feel it's necessary to defend this nonsense? God bless the whales and clueless children...

  • darkprophet2088

    always have loved the sword & poker games but would've loved to have seen more updates (retina, please?) to the original titles...

  • Ubisububi

    "Further proving that passing any sort of solid judgement on a game when it's still in its soft launch phase and actively being tweaked is pretty silly."

    Or it proves that a vocal grass-roots effort against freemium really does work.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      They were planning this unlock when we talked to them at WWDC, months before everyone flipped their shit in internet comments. They even mentioned the $5 price point.

      • Ubisububi

        Right, but did the wailing and gnashing of teeth occur in ignorance of that fact, or in spite of it?

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Wailers gonna wail.

      • Ubisububi

        Your "neener neener" response completely spoiled the intelligent discourse that I was so enjoying.

      • HelperMonkey

        We all know that Hodapp will obsequiously take the side of our new robot overlords when Skynet awakens, but this freemium discussion could demand and consume his attention 24/7 and still change nothing. What you call intelligent discourse is really more like an entrenched ideological stand-off. I can sympathize with Eli's exhaustion-driven glibness.
        The people who are making the only convincing argument to most game developers are the masses of pseudo-gamers who devour "Clash of Candy Crushers" games while stuffing the pockets of developers like King. Try convincing THOSE consumers of your concerns, because I do believe that Mr. Hodapp is tired.

      • Ubisububi

        Well said...

  • daniel schroeder

    I'll definitely be picking this up. Depending on how much I end up playing and needing to get around the energy mechanic, I'll probably also throw down for the IAP.

  • Bruciato

    Tried a few games but.. It doesn't feel like the old ones.. Don't really know why

    • Lucas Stinis

      I had the exact same feeling! It's as if it's lacking some kind of charm the original 2 games had...

  • Stormourner

    is there any other games with unlimited energy unlock? some freemium games needs something like this

    • mid83

      You don't see that because it eliminates the ability to get revenue from whales. If you have a 5 dollar premium unlock then you mostly get at most 5 dollars from customers.

      • Stormourner

        ok :/

  • gmattergames

    I'd pay to be able to change my avatar. Can't stand playing a character that looks like a sword wielding baby doll. I know, blasphemy.

  • Illuminerdy

    Predictable as a rising sun: Eli's condescending, unnecessary intro to this story.

  • ktern

    playing around with this a bit i strongly disagree that it'd take a s&p marathon or poor play to use up all your energy. most enemies so far use 2 (if it was 1, i'd agree) which means that a full charge isn't enough to full clear (or sometimes even clear at all) a single area

    that means that at free, the game is more of an occasional pick up and play rather than the binge-friendly experience of the original where it's like "where'd the hours go?"

    maybe that's honestly for the better

  • Zephram

    Well, according to Konami, my iPad 2 can't handle a poker game. iPad 4 and above indeed!

    • Tomate Diseño

      And what's crazy is that even on the iPad Air it's been stuttering around - perhaps something to do with all the inane "animations" it insists on playing through.

  • MasonHurst

    It plays fine on the iPad 2. It's totally charmless however and reeks of that
    corporate-anime art that these type of F2P games all seem to have lately...

    For such a simple mechanic you would think there would be independents making versions that don't have the corporate smell all over them... In any case this version hardly seemed particularly fun. Kind of a grim time waster.

  • Tomate Diseño

    Was encouraged by the "energy system unlock" thinking this was going to be a Triple Town kind of deal and reneged on my vow to ignore this. Bad idea.

    There's not an aspect of the game without monetization, die before the end of the area - buy a continue, the cards that were a staple and core strategy of the original - buy them! I was suckered into this thinking that it was a one-off purchase - buy the card with credits earned through play RPG style. Nope, you've got to pay in-game currency each time you use one (so far).

    This is as bad as Dungeon Master, terrible version of a great game.

  • cablestone

    They seem to have remove the $4.99 unlock which makes me sad since I just dropped $10 on gems like a dumbo...