My attention span when it comes to gaming, and especially mobile gaming, is not very long. Most titles on my iPhone never get a second play, in fact. Hence my surprise when I spent many hours over the past few days on MotionX’s newest title, Poker Quest.
MotionX is the developer behind MotionX Poker, one of the most talked about and impressive early titles for the iPhone and iPod touch. The dice poker game features an incredibly well-rendered virtual dice simulator, with realistic physics. MotionX has since released Dice, a free version of the dice simulation without the Poker game features, and GPS Lite, a tracking and navigation app.
With Poker Quest, MotionX is sticking to familiar territory. Not that that’s a bad thing. When you’re good at something, there’s no reason not to improve, and Poker Quest does just that. On its own, a poker game is entertaining, but as with most casual games, eventually you come back less and less, since winning is always pretty much the same.
Poker Quest gives a reason to win, and to keep winning, by introducing unlockable rewards and level progression. Set in ancient Egypt, you play at “temples” along the Nile, each of which features a different, attractive table and its own unique dice set (although you can change which you use by default in the settings screen). At first, you only have access to the first temple, but once you amass enough coins, you unlock others. Each new temple you unlock features higher stakes, and the required bank to enter the next grows accordingly.
Your opponent changes each time you unlock a new temple. Computer players are represented as ancient Egyptian gods, like Anuket and Horus. Players and the dealer take turns for three rounds, after which the best hand wins.
The rewards system is a nice touch. You can unlock up to fifty additional dice sets by rolling 5 of a kind, though it took me a while to figure out that that was actually what was triggering the rewards. You can also unlock trophies, which don’t actually do anything, but do appeal to the part of me that wanted to find every single star in Super Mario 64. The graphics for the trophies are also well done, and seem to be based on genuine Egyptian artifacts.
With 12 temples in total to unlock, I don’t foresee my interest in this solid game waning any time soon. The only problem will be getting the game away from my girlfriend, who hijacked my iPod touch because she’s also hooked.