A Game Review by Greg Dabkey
Game – Ultimate Card Games
Version – DS
ESRB Rating: ‘E’ – Everyone
Obtained – Review copy courtesy of Telegames
Ever want to play card games, but just cannot convince your friends to play? Do you just have fond memories of playing Go Fish or Hearts and think to yourself, I just wish I could play those games? Look no further, Ultimate Card Games has it all. This game comes packed with 44 different card games from Go Fish, Hearts, Spades to Solitaire, to casino games like Blackjack, and Texas Hold’em.
Gameplay & Controls
After selecting a game, the player can configure some of the rules, and pick their opponents. They range from easy to normal to difficult so the player can either learn the game, or if it is a game they are trying for the first time, or simply forgot how to play can select easier AI opponents. At any point during the game, the player can bring up the rules, the current score, configure options like sound, music or background settings. The player is restricted to play by the rules of the game chosen. For example in hearts you must pass cards before beginning and will always have to follow suit if you have a card of that suit. The player can also select to use 1 of 5 helps that will assist the player in the best move to make.
The gameplay is simply playing the card game by the game’s rules. If it’s a turn based game, the AI will take their turns and play passes clockwise to other opponents. The object of each game is different and each game is won differently, and the object is always mentioned in the rules if the player is unfamiliar with the game. The rules do a pretty good job of explaining the rules, but sometimes it is harder to understand when you don’t to play a practice round. There were a few different ones that played and read through the rules, but did not get a complete understanding of the game.
All of the controls are touch screen based. The player will often either tap a card or have to drag it to a destination on the lower screen. The player can also easily open up menus from the other icons on the lower corners of the screen. I didn’t find any issues with the controls, and there really is no improvements I can offer. They are very basic and easy to enjoy the game.
To begin, the player selects if they want to play single player with AIs, using the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection, or DS Wireless Play. Under single player, the player picks a classic game, casino type, or solitaire category. For each game, there is an option to select statistics to see win/loss rates and other stats about the games played.
Under classic category, the player can choose between Hearts, Spades, Euchre, Bridge, Canasta, Gin Rummy, Cribbage, Crazy Eights, Go Fish, Romme or Skat. Under the Casino category, BlackJack, Texas Hold’em, Double Flop Hold’em, Omaha, 5 Card Draw, 7 Card Stud, Pineapple, Crazy Pineapple, or Video Poker. Under Solitaire, Klondike (classic game), FreeCell, Spider, Double Klondike, Russian Solitaire, Sea Towers, Forty Thieves, Yukon, Penguin, Spider One Suit, Spider Two Suits, Pyramid, Golf, Scorpion, Canfield, Aces Up, Rainbow, Beleaguered Castle, Four Seasons, Calculation.
I was unable to connect my 3DS via the Wi-Fi connection within the game. I believe this was an issue since the DS had connected to the internet differently than the 3DS, and was unable to recognize my configured network. I was also did not have time to try the download to play, but I’m sure it works similar to other games with download to play and could play many of the classic or casino games with a friend.
Visuals & Sound
This is probably one of the only areas that could have been a little better. While the cartoonish designs look pretty decent, some of the designs could have been better. Also the animations seemed a little slow and I ended up turning those off. The backgrounds were a little pixilated and were basically a simple picture. The game did not offer any real locations and were just like a castle or room in a unusual place to be playing card games. While the player doesn’t really concentrate on players or background, they could have been better to look at.
This is the area I found needed the most improvement. The music was a simple relaxing piece that seemed to be on a loop. The player would have to go into the menu and select a different tune from the playlist. The list consists of six or seven songs and all of them are a relaxing and easy listening type of tune. It would be better if there was more variety of types of music to listen to. They do not have to have words, but perhaps like a techno type of song, or even a classical piece would have made the music more enjoyable to listen to. The sound is a simple click for the select, and also could have sounds for shuffling, particularly in games like Texas Hold’em where the deck is shuffled after each hand. A variety of sound types for selecting/playing cards would have made listening to the sounds more enjoyable as well.
7 out of 10
While this game is a selection of 44 different card games, the games themselves is a good list and can be very enjoyable. Players will have plenty of games to select from and is easy to continue playing after a game ends. With the included rules and guides, players can refresh on game rules or simply learn a new game. While the game falls in regards to the graphics and music, it is still enjoyable to play with those settings turned off. I would recommend this game to players that enjoy card games and would like the ability to practice or play against computer opponents on the go.