Poker Smash

Poker Smash

Poker Smash

Just leave him alone, he'll tire himself out.

Poker Smash is a puzzle game where playing cards ascend a rectangular playing area like the one in Tetris. As they do, you can move any card horizontally without restriction with the right analogue stick, while the left is for simple selection. If there's a space for a card to fall into, it will - unless you sweep it across the gap at pace. The game's distinctive characteristic, as the title suggests, is that you clear cards by creating poker hands.

Except it's a bit simpler than that. Cards in play are tens, jacks, queens, kings and aces of all four suits, and the hands that work are three, four and five of a kind, flush, full house, straight and a royal flush. Create one of these hands horizontally or vertically and the cards involved disappear, leaving the ones above them to observe the puzzle game tradition of sliding into the exposed gap or gaps. If the cards reach the top of the play area in the two pressure modes, it's game over.

This sounds good in theory, but it doesn't play well. There's too much information to process at a glance - suits, card values, possible hands, and the consequences of moving individual cards around. Doing this at pace would be even more awkward were it not for the developer's trick of giving each of the five card values a particular colour, which scans better. Elsewhere, suit markers wink at you when a flush is sort of possible, and a stock of bombs allows you to burst out of dead ends if you can't steer things your way.

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Crystal Quest XBLA update tomorrow

Crystal Quest XBLA update tomorrow

And confirmation of Poker Smash.

Microsoft has confirmed that Void Star's puzzle game Poker Smash will be on Xbox Live Arcade tomorrow, while Crystal Quest fans receive a free update.

As reported last week, Poker Smash is about arranging cards into poker hands as they advance up the screen, and costs 800 Microsoft Points (GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.60).

Crystal Quest, you may remember, is Stainless Games' arcade update where you fly around collecting crystals and dodging enemies. Tomorrow's update adds a score multiplier.

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Poker Smash next on XBLA

Puzzle game with poker face.

Poker Smash will be the next game released on Xbox Live Arcade, developer Void Star Creations has revealed on its website.

Boogie Bunnies on XBLA on Weds

Brain Challenge, Poker Smash soon.

Microsoft has popped up in our inboxes with trumpets and balloons announcing the impending launch of Boogie Bunnies on Xbox Live Arcade.