"Is Bob a Stud or Drawing at Straws?"
Poker With Bob is a well-developed game for iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) that brings slick presentation to portable poker. Unfortunately, as with all poker sims, gambling with nothing at stake limits the game’s appeal. Moreover, the plodding pace, tiny bet limits, and single mode of play make this a hard game to recommend despite the developer’s obvious craft and attention to detail.
Players are warmly greeted with clean, concise menus, upbeat jazz, and crisp resolution. Without a doubt, this is an attractive app that goes beyond many other games at its bargain price-point of $.99 USD. Throughout the game, environments become more luxurious and the casino sounds that accompany them set the stage superbly.
- Bob's an animated guy! -
On the downside, all this polish ends up slowing the game down too much. For example, the game’s titular antagonist, the chiseled-chinned Bob, is life-like but ends up miring the pace tremendously with his automaton-like animations and rote comments. After 20 hands or so, much of the mirth Bob initially provides ends up feeling like a slog.
Another major hit Poker With Bob takes is the fact you’re limited to playing heads-up, 5-card Draw – I couldn’t think of a more boring style of poker. Genuinely, 5-card Draw quickly begins to feel like Old Maid or Go Fish. The devs would be well-served if they updated the title to include a few other games of poker such as Stud, Omaha, and the obligatory Texas Hold-‘em. Another thing the game could stand to gain is a few more Bobs sitting at the table. While I enjoy going heads-up when money’s on the line, doing so against lowly A.I. becomes dull quickly.
To make matters worse, you can only bet in $5, $15, or $25 increments in Poker With Bob. This makes games take forever, especially as you advance through the single-player campaign and the starting fund pools are increased. They should have given us pot limit and even no limit stakes. Also, I would have loved to have seen antes increase at regular intervals. Alas, you’ll have to hope Bob gets a good enough hand so that you can keep raising things up to get the pot to a worthwhile level.
- Low stakes and single pair wins get frustrating -
There’s an online component to Poker With Bob, which should take away some of the meaninglessness of games. Disappointingly, there just aren’t enough people online to ever get a game, whether you host or try to join in. As such, I was never able to test this portion of the game, which I have a feeling is the best part of it all.
The devs at Scary Robot Productions have created an attractive, competent game of poker, but more features such as various styles of poker and higher stakes need to be implemented before it can be considered a success. Keep your eye on Poker With Bob, but don’t expect greatness in its current state.
GameDynamo's Score for Poker With Bob (Mobile)
Cutting his gaming teeth at Aladdin's Castle and on the Commodore 64, JC entered into video game journalism in 2008. Helping run GameDynamo as its director is both a dream and a rewarding challenge.
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