Review: Texas Hold’em
This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: 9 Click Wheel iPod Games, Re-released. Additional details may be found in the original article.
Apple has used the iPhone’s release as an opportunity to substantially overhaul its original iPod 5G poker game Texas Hold’em into a better version for the same price. While the new version isn’t any more fun to play than the original—you’ll either like or dislike this gambling-heavy, card-limited version of poker pretty quickly—the graphics, music, and multiplayer modes have received very substantial overhauls.
On the graphics front, there are new backgrounds and countries for 10 stages, better-digitized and -animated characters, and profile information. Apple has also improved the audio, replacing not only the honky-tonk introductory song, but also the in-game stage music and sound effects. More interestingly, there’s a new two- to nine-player multiplayer mode that depends upon the iPod touch or iPhone’s Wi-Fi network connection—we tested it using both devices—to create a simplified, virtually animation-free widescreen version of the game. On a positive note, it’s cool to have the ability to wirelessly play cards with someone else, but Apple’s multiplayer visual interface leaves something to be desired: thanks to tiny on-screen character icons, you can get a few dogs or aliens to play poker together, but you can barely make out their faces.
Give that it represents a big improvement over the prior version and doesn’t jump in price, Texas Hold’em merits a higher rating on the iPhone than it did for the iPod touch. We’re still not huge fans of this style of poker, but there’s no doubt that this is an ever-improving alternative to playing the real thing with cards and chips.