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Classic Card Games

For: Mobile

The clue is in the title

Product: Classic Card Games | Publisher: Connect2Play | Format: Mobile | Genre: Card/ board game | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 193KB | Version: Europe
Classic Card Games Mobile, thumbnail 1
Logic would suggest that all this gaming wizardry we have at our fingertips should have killed off the humble card game almost in an instant. Packs of cards becoming relics, almost antique novelties, placed in museums up and down the land for prosperity. Of course, what's actually happened is that our favourite mobiles and handhelds have given card games a new lease of life, replicating their wares in neat, accessible packages in the palms of our hands.

'Neat' certainly applies to Card Games (or Classic Card Games, as it also likes to be known), which takes three popular varieties – Gin Rummy, Hearts and Spades – and lumps them together in one package. 'Accessible' is another matter altogether, however, as it's fair to say that this is a card game for people already adept at shuffling a pack or two.

With a help section that effectively feels like an ad-hoc Wikipedia text file tagged on as a token gesture (complete with jargon talk such as “melds”, being “whist-based” and “winning tricks”, for instance), Classic Card Games hardly gives the most welcoming of receptions, doing little to make a layperson feel comfortable. On the flip side, the lack of any fuss is actually a streamlining feature for those who can already deal cards with the best of them. For these canny folk, Classic Card Games is entirely, and brilliantly, functional.

Although you're able to choose from a selection of avatars, Connect2Play hasn't attempted to tag on any kind of plot or characterisation, releasing a fairly straight take on each of the three games featured. Headlining is Gin Rummy, where the aim is to come up with runs of three or more cards, or a matching set of three or more. As you might expect, the cards in your hand are displayed without glitz or glamour at the bottom of the screen, with the pack itself accessible just above.

For any newcomers, Gin is probably the easiest to pick up of those on offer, given Card Game's version is only two-player. Both Hearts and Spades are more complex, involving four players each, with Hearts bringing in the notion of avoiding certain cards and Spades requiring a certain amount of tricky team work. Learning on the go is certainly an option, with the game's forthright controls making button-pressing a non issue.

Most of the time you'll be moving your cursor – a handy white-gloved hand – around the board simply by using the standard directional keys, '2', '4', '6' and '8', with the '5' confirming most actions. In that sense, everything is pretty self explanatory, though handy optional in-game hints are also available that, rather than directing your movements or pushing you in a certain direction, let you know where you are in the game and what period of play you've entered.

It's not long before you've heard all they have to say, however, and having to hit the action key to clear them before play can carry on becomes a chore. What you're left with then is a fairly hands-off, undecorated approach to three quick-fire card games that form the perfect no-nonsense package for players who know what they're doing.

Even on easiest, Card Games is quite a challenge. Things do verge on the unfair if you venture on to its hardest setting, however, with your opponent starting off with a killer hand from the very outset. Some Gin games can literally be over in a couple of cards, with your rival being dealt almost the perfect run of cards from the start.

While such success is certainly possible in the real game, you'd start to feel a little cheated if you end up beaten before you've even begun on more than one hand in the same match.

That is a rare fault, though, and while Classic Card Games isn't ideal for newcomers, it is the perfect buddy for anyone who fancies a game of Hearts or a dash of Rummy but doesn't have the friends around to do so. Who needs friends when you have a mobile, right?
Classic Card Games
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 16 January 2009
Classic Card Games is a perfectly functional take on Gin, Hearts and Spades which is ideal for anyone who is a dab hand with a pack of cards. Those looking for an easy first step, however, might be better off going on a Rummy course or two before attempting to have a real bash at this one
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