Filling the hole in Wiiware’s library of card games is Gameloft’s Sexy Poker, the self-proclaimed “first sexy poker game on the Wii.” It certainly is unique, but has Gameloft dealt their latest offering a winning hand?
The first thing that must be said about Sexy Poker is that this is an M-rated game. For many of us this means we’ll finally get a chance to put those parental controls to work. For those who have children and have no idea how parental controls or their VCR clock works, the good news is that Gameloft has sabotaged the ‘sexy’ aspect of the game from the get go.
In all of the promotional materials released by Gameloft so far, Sexy Poker promised a photorealistic version of their cell phone game. In one mock-up, a game screen is shown overlaying a digital photo of one potential opponent in the game. We now know that this was all a ruse: instead of delivering a ‘sexy poker’ game as promised, Gameloft has given us ‘unrealistic anime cartoon characters who hint at sexual themes poker’. Yes, the whole ‘strip poker’ game mechanic is in play here and yes, Gameloft said that they would not be completely nude, but if we wanted to see anime women in various states of undress we would have stuck with Silver Star Chess.
The game play here is like regular Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, but when the woman you are playing against runs low on cash she can trade in a predetermined clothing item for additional money. When she is down to her underwear you win automatically, regardless of how much money she has left. Although the woman can lose no more clothing at this point, the game for some reason allows you to continue playing to try for a high, but this review is not concerned with trivialities.
The game is as barebones as they come and features no optional rules. Although the game mostly survives translation into video game form, it is missing its most iconic move: there is no way to go ‘All-in’ unless you bet more money than you have. This may sound correct at first, except the highest amount you can bet is $100. This may sound like a lot but it is not much compared to the average pot size, and for some reason you are allowed to bet more money than you have, but the game never prompts you to trade in some of your own clothes.
Blackjack fares even worse: first, bidding is handicapped in that you are only given three betting options and are never given the option to let it ride. Worse, although you can double down, the option to split is non-existent. When we were dealt a pair of aces, we were forced to simply hit: in a real game of Blackjack a player would jump for joy at such a winning hand. Here, it meant nothing and we were forced to play it without splitting and went on to lose that hand.
An even worse aspect of the Blackjack game is the pace of play. Everything from dealing a card to discussing the results of a hand happens maddeningly slowly. Mercifully, you can press the A button to move things along faster, but this means you will have to click the A button almost constantly to force the game to progress at a decent pace. We checked the options menu for a fix but sadly found only sound dials and the option to turn ‘rumble’ on, which we were too frightened to try.
Although there are two classic card games included here, there is no multiplayer. The lack of online play is probably for the best, but it means that these games, social by their nature, have little or no replay value once you’ve seen all of the cartoon women remove their clothing (which should take you maybe an hour or two at most).
In fact, as to replay value, it’s worth noting that the operations manual seems to advise against it. So concerned was Gameloft that its customers might actually feel they have to play the game more than once that they included a Gallery that, “allows you to remove the outer clothing from any of the girls who have been unlocked and stripped to their underwear in the game and thereby enjoy a sexy experience without having to play the game”. Ouch.
Sexy Poker is something of a letdown for fans of both poker and sexiness. Lacking in both qualities, the game is not even sufficient as a teaching tool to learn Texas Hold ‘Em poker, as the instructions on how to play are skimpier than the costumes. In fact, the operations manual devotes more attention to fleshing out the girls than it does to teaching you how to play cards. WiiWare players are advised to take a cold shower and spend their time more wisely playing Texas Hold’em Tournament.