Game Over Online ~ Tropical Nights

GameOver Game Reviews - Tropical Nights (c) Captain Mobile, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Tropical Nights (c) Captain Mobile
System Requirements Pocket PC
Overall Rating 60%
Date Published Tuesday, March 19th, 2002 at 09:29 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Whenever we think of casinos, we undoubtedly think of the large card tables, roulette wheels and other social games like craps. In film and drama, these are portrayed as where the big money is made and subsequently, we assume these are where people lose their shirts to the casino gaming companies. In actuality, the amount of gambling there pales against what companies get from the humble slot machine. This machine, though simple in its design and goal, has captivated and continues to captivate people time and again. But why is it so alluring? The developers, Captain Mobile, try to find out in their Tropical Nights game.

In the midst of political concerns about offshore gambling, Tropical Nights is a video poker game complete with the frilly, outlandish colors of a casino resort. It's one of the first Captain Mobile titles on the Pocket PC platform. With support for older Pocket PC (2000) models as well as the new Pocket PC 2002, it is certainly aimed at a mass audience. In addition, a standalone PC version can be found as well, although it's dressed up with an iPAQ skin.

Playing the game entails you inserting money into the machine and then setting a bet or wager for the hand. Once you press draw, just like in the real video poker machines, you're a dealt a 'random' hand. One of the first projects that any programmer works on is a random number generator and it appears the developers have done a decent job here. I didn't see any quirky behavior at all. You tap on the cards you want to hold and draw again. A corresponding easy-to-read chart lets you figure out what can or cannot get with your hand. If you're a poker or cards novice though, you might be slightly bewildered. Tropical Nights offers no tutorial or simple explanation on how to play the game.

Tropical Nights certainly does what it aims to do well and manages to capture some of the spirit of video poker addiction. Unfortunately, it doesn't aim to do much more than that. I understand the title is free of charge but there are some good fundamentals in this title. The first being the sound effects, of which there are plenty. Moreover, they are faithful to the video poker machines I've run across. Secondly, the graphics and animation are not too bad. They certainly don't look amateur.

However, Tropical Nights has no expandability beyond that. I got the feeling that this could be a part of a much larger corpus. You can't change any of the themes, customize the rules or maintain a select profile of your player. As such, it becomes a moot point whether you want to cash out or not. Furthermore, each time you transfer money in or out of the machine, the game counts your change one by one. Needless to say, once you win a few thousand dollars, this becomes a hassle. There are only two options in the game: to view the credits or quit. When you quit, you have to cash out and you have to view the credits anyway. And no matter how many times you have played the game, there continues to be an annoying pause for advertisement at the end of the game.

With that said, I'm sure there are people who will chide me for expecting too much from this game. It certainly is free and a one hit wonder. It does video poker but if it's not your thing, then you'll want to save some space as this title takes up little over one megabyte. On space-crimped PDAs, this might be a bit too much for video poker and nothing but video poker.

[06/10] Addictiveness
[09/20] Gameplay
[09/15] Graphics
[08/10] Interface/controls
[06/10] Program Size
[03/05] Sound
[03/05] Discreetness
[10/15] Learning Curve
[ N/A ] Multiplayer


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