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N-Gage  header logo

World Series of Poker: Pro Challenge

For: N-Gage

No deal

Product: World Series of Poker: Pro Challenge | Publisher: Glu Mobile | Format: N-Gage | Genre: Card/ board game, Casino, Celebrity | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
World Series of Poker: Pro Challenge N-Gage, thumbnail 1
Here's a thing. Half of N-Gage's launch line-up is published by Nokia, with Creatures of the Deep, Space Impact and System Rush Evolution weighing in at 29MB, 19MB and 13MB respectively.

Meanwhile, the other half are from mobile publishers, with Block Breaker Deluxe (Gameloft), Tetris (EA) and World Series of Poker: Pro Challenge (Glu) taking up 5MB, 2MB and 1MB respectively.

Why are the third-party games so much smaller? Well, Nokia's first-party developers clearly had more time and a stack of resources to create their N-Gage games. Presumably, the third-party publishers… didn't.

Whether that's because they got the N-Gage SDK too late, or were being cautious about ploughing resources into a new mobile game platform at such an early stage, or were just lazy, we can't say.

But that's the context for the review that follows. World Series of Poker is basically Glu's existing Java game, ported over to N-Gage with added online rankings. And that's it. Which to us, represents a missed opportunity.

So, it's the same game of head-to-head poker, where you play an individual opponent each match, rather than sitting at a table of six. Real-life poker pros included are Annie Duke, Shannon Elizabeth, Chris Ferguson, Scotty Nguyen, Johnny Chan and Mike Mizrachi.

Texas Hold 'em's the game, with a choice of Limit, Pot Limit and No Limit variants. The Career mode sees you competing in three levels of individual matches, before taking on the WSOP Bracelet tournament, and an N-Gage tournament – earning money as you go. There's also a Versus mode to practise your skills without reducing your bank balance.

The one-on-one gameplay means the action tends to be more aggressive, while the first-person viewpoint gives you a chance to scrutinise your opponent's face and actions for 'tells', revealing if they've got a good or bad hand.

Just like the Java game, there's a Tilt Meter which fills up if you play well. When it reaches the top, your opponent goes 'on tilt', giving more tells and making mistakes in their game. It's a neat touch.

Your progress is recorded by a statistics option, as well as earning signature chips for certain achievements. The online rankings are limited, to say the least, given that you can only see the top 20 players in the world, with no indication of your ranking.

But all in all, it's a very good game, just as the Java version was. But as an N-Gage game specifically, it's a big disappointment.

Why? Imagine what Glu could have done if it had made, say, a 10MB World Series of Poker game. More players for starters – there are dozens of WSOP pros who could have been included.

Or how about a more involving Career mode where you play on the actual WSOP circuit, including its biggest tournaments, rather than a generic bracelet event?

Hell, Glu could have even bundled in a mode based on its other WSOP Java game, World Series of Poker: Texas Hold'em, for the full table experience – complete with a first-person viewpoint to spot those tells, naturally.

In short, Glu could have put some or all of those things in, but it didn't. Instead, this is just a tarted up version for the Java game which – and this is what's got us furious – is selling for £8 on N-Gage. That's eight pounds.

Tetris just about gets away with it on N-Gage, courtesy of some extra modes and the fact that changing the actual gameplay would only spoil the game. But this is just disappointing.

With more time and resources, there's a great poker N-Gage game lurking within the WSOP licence. But this assuredly isn't it.
 
World Series of Poker: Pro Challenge
Reviewer photo
Stuart Dredge | 25 February 2008
Great mobile poker game, but as a hardly altered N-Gage title the buy-in feels way too high
 
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Anonymous | 21:51 - 4 April 2010
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