Publisher/Developer: Phantom EFX
Rating: T for Teen
Real Deal Card Games is a treat. I look at this game from two perspectives. First, I personally like to play card games and I'm a pretty avid gamer. Second, and this is equally important to me, my old man is retiring this year and has vowed to learn how to use a computer...so I'm giving RDCG a whirl to see if it might be a good entry level experience for him as well.
Right off the bat, and this normally isn't really a part of most reviews, RDCG was really easy to install and update. Having played a zillion games and dealt with just as many installers, I can say that this is not always the case. The game seamlessly installed and immediately notified me that it should take a peek to see if there was an update. Upon finding said update in one of the many tubes that make up the internet, it just installed the necessary update, letting me know that it was going to be a few minutes before I hit the tables to play cards. I know this may not be the most heavy-hitting opener to a review, but wow was it refreshing to load a game that has a sense of self (big points in terms of picking this up for the old man).
Getting into the meat of the game, RDCG boasts a ton of different games to play. While there are 45 or so distinct forms of Solitaire, and that is nothing to shake a stick at, what I was really amped to get into was a good rendition of cribbage. The AI seemed to be pretty savvy at keeping good cards and making reasonable cribs which was nice. I didn't feel super-challenged, but at the same time I wasn't exactly winning every match. All-in-all a good challenge in the cribbage arena.
RDCG does a good job of representing the games it has. No, I did not play them all but I can say that I played cribbage, euchre, hearts, whist, gin, three forms of poker including texas hold 'em and about 10 forms of solitaire. All were a good time. I did find it a little intimidating to play games I was unfamiliar with in that your only introduction is a very drab textual primer if you ask for help. Some of these help sections are written better than others. While it would have been nice to have a "hold your hand" mode of tutorial, it wasn't a huge issue by any stretch.
Now onto some important details...
All-in-all, Real Deal Card Games is a good experience with plenty of replay value. There are a couple different scoring schemes that allow you to cash in on your victories to unlock things like bonus audio tracks and different card backs. My time with the game was well spent and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking to get their hands on a ton of card games in one title. There's plenty to get right into if you are an avid card player, but also plenty to learn if you are not. The unlocks give the game some longevity beyond just playing a game until you are bored and the AI personalities help to keep things lively. It was a breeze to get running and it is certainly n00b-friendly. I was pleased.