webOS App Review: Astraware Casino

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Every now and then, a person wants to get their Vegas on. A little blackjack, some video poker, maybe a little Texas hold ‘em: nothing can pass a few idle moments like some pretend gambling.

That’s why Astraware’s Casino is a breath of fresh air for webOS users. Offering 11 fun-filled games in a fast, responsive interface, Casino is well worth the very reasonable $2.99 purchase price.

Casino’s games range from pure chance to games of skill:

  • Texas Hold ‘Em No Limit Poker
  • Roulette
  • Baccarat
  • Video Derby
  • Blackjack
  • Video Keno
  • Craps
  • 3 Card Poker
  • Slots
  • Video Poker

Gameplay

You start out with $1,000 in gambling money, and can quickly grow your purse from there with a few lucky draws or pulls of the slot. And just like in Vegas, the better you do the higher the stakes available to you. You’ll even find yourself comped for achieving new feats of luck or skill, such as winning a jackpot at a slot machine or winning a particularly large hand at poker.

The controls in the game are easy to learn, and each of the game remains true to its Vegas roots. While I’m not expert at all of the games included in Casino, such as Baccarat, I trust that Astraware has implemented all of the standard rules for each one. After all, they’ve been making this game for some time now, including versions that ran on the Palm OS and Windows Mobile years ago.

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One of the best thing about games like Casino is that the replay value is almost endless. That should come as no surprise, since these are games that have no real end point and have been honed for years in one of the most well-researched real-life laboratories in the world. While some people do go to Vegas to win money, many people go simply because they like the thrill of the games themselves. Astraware’s done a good job of capturing that element in Casino—minus the actual risks and rewards of live gambling, of course—and so this is a game that can be enjoyed essentially forever, particularly in small doses.

Extras include the ability to save cash to the bank and withdrawal it as needed. Because part of the fun is to build up a bankroll over time, Casino saves progress continually and starts the user at the same point in each game that’s played.

Interface and Performance

Like all PDK apps, Casino doesn’t utilize many webOS-specific features other than the swipe gesture to move back into the home screen from individual games. The app is fairly lightweight, unlike some PDK apps, and so shouldn’t generate any “Too Many Cards” errors unless many other apps are running. It starts quickly for a PDK app, and runs without apparent lag. The sound affects are simple but effective, and the graphics are good enough for the genre. They’re not cutting edge, particularly given the power of today’s hardware, but they’re generally attractive and don’t detract from the mood.

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Every now and then, I did run into some issues with selecting chips for bets in games like blackjack. Specifically, I would on occasion inadvertently hit the wrong pile of chips, and given my the muscle memory that comes with playing games like this, sometimes accidentally bet the maximum on a particularly poor hand. I’m not sure if this was my fault or the game’s (maybe the chip piles are placed a little closely together), but it did cause me to slow down a little to consider each bet more carefully.

Conclusion

All in all, Astraware Casino is a great value and provides endless fun in small chunks. It’s easy to get into and out of, and doesn’t require a tremendous investment in time to learn—unless, of course, you want to try your hand at a game that you’ve never played before. In that case, Casino offers good tutorials that cover the basics of each game along with some simple strategies for success. You won’t necessarily be ready to tackle Vegas after playing Casino, but it will give you a basic understanding of each game. And, best yet, Casino definitely gets you in the mood to make the trip.

Casino is highly recommended, particularly at the low price of $2.99. Go get it now from the Palm App Catalog.

Positives

  • Good performance and reasonable memory requirements
  • Simple but fun gameplay
  • Games are (as far as I can tell from my limited experience with some of them) true to form
  • Nearly infinite replay value given time-test nature of most of the games

Negatives

  • Relatively simple graphics
  • Some possible touch issues in certain games

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David Oakley and Astraware, AboutwebOS. AboutwebOS said: #webOS App Review: Get in the mood for Vegas with @astraware Casino: http://bit.ly/dqhVHy @Palm @HP_PC [...]

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