Fullpower Technologies achieved instant (and well-deserved) fame for MotionX Poker, a very early App Store game that aped the natural physics of shaking and throwing dice to a T. Now the developer is back with MotionX Poker Quest, which takes that same great mechanic and tries to build a bit more of a game around it. While we’re big fans of the Ancient Nile theme and the huge profusion of unlockable dice, gambling houses, and prizes, we’re not very impressed by the shallow five-dice poker variant at the core of the game.
If you haven’t tried out Fullpower’s faux iPhone dice yet, take a moment and download MotionX Dice for a free toss or two. The level of realism is pretty amazing, thanks to very delicate use of the accelerometer and a great physics engine that allows dice bounce and spin off one another chaotically. The dice were a huge factor in MotionX Poker’s success, and they’re a credit to MotionX Poker Quest, too–especially since the game has literally dozens of varicolored dice sets to collect, with many different shapes and decorations.
With those gorgeous simulated dice in hand, you set off to gamble against a long succession of Egyptian gods and goddesses, stopping into each of their temples as you work your way up the Nile. Each temple is endowed with its own nifty hieroglyphics-based theme, and each new deity demands a higher ante from you to play. If you beat the gods’ best poker hand after three tosses, you double your ante; if not, you lose it. You can also earn bonuses by stringing together wins and hitting certain kinds of hands and combinations. However, the dice game isn’t anywhere near as strategic as something like Yahtzee, where the objectives are constantly varied, and the inability to control your bet hurts the gameplay, too. You do need to watch what your opponent’s up to, but we found the game boring after a while.
Worse, you have to play for a very, very long time to progress down the Nile. For instance, you need to earn 4,000 coins to unlock the second temple, and the absolute maximum you’re likely to earn on a single throw in the first temple is about 200–and most of the time you’ll be bringing in far less than that, if you’re not losing outright. The game does give you new dice and collectibles on a fairly regular basis, but the lack of tangible progress gets frustrating and further deadens the experience.
We think that MotionX Poker Quest is off to a promising start, but we’d also say that it needs some additional tuning before we can give it our full recommendation; it’s simply not dynamic enough as a game. It’s not a bad choice if you just want to waste time, but we wouldn’t bother getting it if you already have MotionX Poker.