Monday, February 9, 2009

iPhone Game Review: 21 Pro: Blackjack - Sponsored

Are you interested in playing blackjack on your iPhone? Do you want to hone your skills before your trip to Vegas or Dubai? Are you interested in learning how to play one of the most addictive gambling games of all time? Finally, are you interested in doing all of this without risking any money, or even paying anything to learn it? If so, then the new application from Avalinx is the application for you.

21 Pro: Blackjack - Sponsored is a new application which allows you to play one of the classic casino games on your iPhone. Play against the house while you attempt to earn as many pixilated chips as you can. With control over the finest details of the game — from the looks of the table and cards, to the rules that the house plays by, to the payout for blackjack — you can get this game to be pretty close to your ideal experience. 21 Pro: Blackjack - Sponsored can do all of this and more, either for free (with a few ads before each new game) or for $4.99. Try the application out at the iTunes store today!

21 Pro: Blackjack - Sponsored has several nice features and tune-ups that make this application worth your time. The interface of the application — with its smooth renderings, vibrant colors, and changeable looks — makes this ideal for everybody. The layout is also a gigantic plus for it. You can navigate with ease and bet without a hitch. Furthermore, the layout allows you to easily find the menus and sections within the game. The touch controls work perfectly, and the whole application feels polished and flawless. To me, this feels almost as perfect as Apple's own poker game!

My favorite part of 21 Pro: Blackjack - Sponsored are the extras that you can access from its main menu. While the game itself is enjoyable, these are truly the hidden gems here and elevate it above its competitors. From the typical sections of rules and terminology to a detailed history of the game, these are some nice features. You can view different versions of the game, from 'European No-Hole-Card' to 'Spanish 21', and even learn to play them. This should impress your trivia-centric friends, and give you some spice to your game when you head to Vegas.

There is even a section called 'Master the Game', which, as it implies, lets you learn all the techniques that the pros use. The best part of this is the 'card counting' section, where the application teaches you several ways to count cards, and thus improves your chances of a nice payout. To help even further with this, the application will count the cards for you during the actual game (this makes sure that your practice is accurate).

There is very little that I did not like about 21 Pro: Blackjack - Sponsored. While the ads are annoying, clicking skip two times per new game is no big deal. Plus, if you drop $4.99 for the non-sponsored version, these annoyances quickly disappear. The only other thing that concerns me is that I occasionally got a glitch where it would automatically count an ace as 11, regardless of what the other card I had was. Hopefully it can be fixed quickly and easily.

What I Want To See
My biggest gripe is the fact that there is not as much customization as I would like. I would like to see a new dealer, more tables, more card backings, and a bigger chip set. These are probably easily addressed in an update (which they plan on doing regularly) and really are not a big deal. What I would really like to see is the option to have computer players playing alongside of you. While you would never play against them (you always play against the house), it would add a more realistic recreation of playing in Vegas, where your card counting has to include all players on the table. While this is not a necessary add-on, it would make the game more enjoyable and realistic in my mind.

21 Pro: Blackjack - Sponsored is one of the better applications that is out for the iPhone currently. The game is fun, polished, and reminds me a lot of Apple's own products, in terms of quality. While there are some things that are missing, the planned updates should be able to fix these quickly. The only thing holding this application back from a perfect is the fact that slight, and very rare, glitch when dealing with aces. If they can fix that, 21 Pro: Blackjack - Sponsored would become the perfect app for the iPhone-using blackjack player, be they a novice or a pro.21 Pro: Blackjack - Sponsored has not been rated by the ESRB. This game can currently only be found on the iPhone.

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