Jul 23, 2010

Blackjack Attack

Blackjack Attack hit the Android Market a while ago. Essentially it's a bit of a cross between Blackjack and Klondike (aka the version of Solitaire that is standard on Windows). The brief instructions say that I need to get as close to 21 as possible (duh, it's blackjack), do it as quickly as possible, I can skip X cards depending on the difficulty, and to hit 'End Round' when I'm done to collect my score? Crystal clear? Nope, not for me either. The instructions need help.

In Blackjack Attack you can choose between having 3, 4, or 5 stacks in which to play. Each stack essentially holds a blackjack hand. As in Klondike you will deal cards off of the top of the deck and place them on these stacks and thus you will build multiple blackjack hands at the same time. While this is going on there is also a timer that is counting down. If the timer hits zero before you are done playing cards then your score will be nada, zero, zilch because the amount of time left is multiplied by the sum of a score multiplier plus bonuses. Your score multiplier is determined by how close you get to 21 with each of your stacks (and there's a table on the right side of the screen that displays the multipliers for each score). Bonuses are earned for accomplishments such as not using your skips to skip cards, getting 21 with 3 cards, and so forth. Needless to say, when you don't think you're going to continue to improve your hand you will want to be hitting that End Round button to get as large of a time multiplier as possible.

The graphics for the game are appropriate and you'll see the resemblance to Klondike in the screen shot. I keep making the comparison, but please not that this game does NOT play like Klondike. The pressure that the timer places on you gives it its own, distinct feel. Controls are simple... just use the touch screen to draw cards from the pile in the upper left to one of your stack, or press either of the two buttons. A game consists of two rounds and it's possible to earn a bonus round which I did once, but don't know how or why. Why can't games come with decent instructions that explain these things?? In fact, while playing I found myself adding up the values of my hands in order to decide where to play cards before I noticed that the game does that for you just above each stack.

If you like card games and enjoy the added pressure of a timer then I think this will be right up your alley. As with any game that has a deck of cards, luck of the draw will be a factor in how high you can score. On my first game using 5 stacks I believe the first 9 of my cards were 10s or face cards (i.e. value 10) making for a less than spectacular start. But other games weren't like that. The game also, unlike Klondike, plays very quickly... a couple of minutes and you're done and I think that is ideal for a mobile game. At the same time I doubt you'll want to play 10 times in a row. 4/5 stars for a clever take on a game that works pretty well.

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