Blackjack 21 Review - Screenshot 1 of 2

Skunk Software seems to have a thing for making casino-style games for the Wii U eShop, and unfortunately they're not strong releases. After two shoddy attempts at poker games and a similarly unappealing slot machine title, the studio has opted to make a Blackjack game. For what it's worth Blackjack 21 stands as the best casino game to come out of the studio, but that's really not saying much. Though it manages to be a more enjoyable experience in general, it's still about as average and featureless as a Blackjack game could possibly be.

Gameplay is centered around the classic game of Blackjack and, for its part, Blackjack 21 manages to provide a solid emulation of the game. For those of you that aren't familiar with the rules, the goal is to beat the dealer - the winner of each round is the one who either has the highest valued hand or hasn't managed to "bust", which is what happens when the value of one's hand goes over 21. Both the player and the dealer are dealt two cards, with the dealer showing you one of theirs. From here you can choose to "hit" and be dealt another card, or "stand" if you don't want any more cards.

Blackjack 21 Review - Screenshot 2 of 2

The nice part here is that there's a balance of luck and skill at play. If you're savvy enough to know how to count cards, then you can leverage statistical probabilities in your favour that give you benefits in the long run. You can never control the cards you're dealt, but you can bet low when the odds of winning are low, and high when the odds are in your favour. Success or failure feels earned and, unlike all the other Skunk casino games, currency actually matters somewhat. Sure if you get "kicked to the curb" you can just go right back in, but at least you're not given an infinite wallet that renders all proceedings meaningless.

Of course, presentation is as half-baked and limp as it's ever been. Upon booting up you're greeted with a title screen that has a hilariously pixelated, low-quality image of a casino worker standing in front of a Blackjack table. From there, you're treated with a static image of the table with text rather clumsily overlaid on the green. Should you lose you're shown a still image of a random mansion accompanied by some oddly colored text that looks as though it belongs in a Powerpoint presentation. An annoying and repetitive music track (which has appeared in a few of Skunk's previous games) loops endlessly in the background, and there's even an attempt at voice acting. The dealer has an annoying and condescending attitude, and the player has a creepy-sounding, raspy voice that would better fit an NPC in a budget high fantasy game.


All told, Blackjack 21 isn't as bad as you'd think it'd be. If you enjoy playing Blackjack, this might be one to consider, though its extremely barebones presentation doesn't give it any sort of unique draw beyond the card game itself. The odds are you could easily find a game for free on your smartphone or online that would give you an equivalent or better experience. With that in mind, we wouldn't recommend this to anyone except for those who have to play Blackjack specifically on their Wii U. It's a game of Blackjack, no more or less.