Imagine you’re a developer who wants to make a videogame, but you don’t have any original ideas. It might occur to you to make a casino game. After all, you’d have established game mechanics and a built-in audience. Now, one option would be to package poker, blackjack and slots together to build a robust, enjoyable gambling experience for the player. Another option would be to do what Playscreen and The Gambler Mobile did and release each game separately, include zero extra features, and overprice the crap out of them.
The first thing you see when you open Kenny Rogers’ titular video poker game is the rugged mug of the man himself. His face also graces the back of each playing card you’re dealt. And in case five identical portraits of Kenny Rogers staring up at you isn’t enough, there’s a permanent one grimacing nonstop from the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Sound repetitive and uninspired? You betcha.
Ahh! They’re breeding!.
Video poker is one of the most basic, stripped-down versions of the game ever conceived, and it’s all you get when you purchase Kenny Rogers Video Poker. You’re dealt five cards face-down and asked to bet between one and five bucks out of your initial $500. Because the cards are face-down, you have no information about what treasures or bombs your hand might hold. All you can do is bet randomly.
Your cards are then revealed, and you can either play the cards as they lay or tap the touchscreen on the cards you’d like to keep and draw again. The lowest winning hand is three of a kind, so you’ll be shooting for that or higher. If you have a winning hand when your new cards are dealt, an unceremonious “You Win” flashes on the screen, and you’re awarded an amount based on a pay chart viewable in the options menu. Then you’re dealt a new hand to do it all again. That’s all there is to it. Sound dull? It is.
The most interesting twist this game offers is that twos are wild. While this is helpful to piece together a winning hand, it doesn’t sweeten the pot nearly enough to make the game worthwhile.
Kenny Rogers wants to play deuces wild, and you’re going to let him.
No other variations of poker are included. There’s no multiplayer mode, leaderboards, online connectivity, or unlockables of any kind. You can’t even customize the deck you use– you’re stuck with the sage face of Kenny Rogers on the backs of your cards. Even the freebie Windows Solitaire game offers the option to change your deck.
Seeing as how the name of a famous musician is in the title of the game, you might think that the music in this game would be its strong suit. You would be wrong. The only music included is a 45-second snippet of one of Kenny’s songs, and it repeats over and over and over again. The one saving grace is that if you boot up the game with your iTunes music playing, you can listen to that instead.
By the time you’ve played a single hand of poker in this game, you will have seen everything there is to see. The music will have looped, you’ll have won or lost some money, and you’ll realize you’ve been fleeced.
There’s nowhere near enough game here to justify the $4.99 price tag. As Kenny himself says, you’ve gotta know when to walk away and know when to run. Take it from us: run as far away from this undercooked ripoff as you can.