Konami recently released Swords & Poker Adventures for iOS, a freemium dungeon crawling RPG where you make poker hands to defeat your enemies. It’s an interesting concept, but can it hold up for the long haul? Let’s find out!

Since the game is free-to-play with daily bonuses and a stamina system, it seems like a better idea to divide this review into two parts: first impressions now, and then a post-mortem after 5 days, to see if the game is worth playing longer. So you have my word that I will play this game daily for 5 straight days and after that, I’ll give my thoughts on whether the game is worth sticking with.

swords and poker
The battlefield!

All of the battling is done on a 5×5 grid, with the center 9 spaces already filled with randomly chosen cards. You and your opponents both hold 4 cards, and you attack your opponent by placing two cards on opposing sides of the grid to create a poker hand. The better your hand, the more damage is dealt to your opponent. If you can’t (or choose not to) make a valid poker hand, you can pass, losing all 4 cards in the process. Later, as you progress through the game, you’ll be able to cast various spells and equip weapons and shields to give yourself an edge.

combo
This is what you want to see. But not when your opponent does it.

It’s a clever battle system, and it’s a bit deeper than you might think, especially when you start to get weapons and spells that can give status effects to your opponents. Beware, though, because they can give them right back to you. Because you can see two of your opponent’s available cards at all times, you can block off their potential moves, although it’s maddening when you block off a good move only to have them draw the exact cards they need for a better move. You also need to be aware of where you’re placing your cards, because you and your opponents can make combo attacks by filling up a row or column with placed cards.

My early impressions of the game are positive, although I could do without the constant nagging to link up with Facebook. Again, you have my word that I will play the game daily for 5 straight days, and then I will post a more substantial review after that.

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