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In-Depth Review

MotionX Poker (for iPhone & iPod touch)

Well, the iTunes App store for iPhone and iPod touch with the 2.0 software release opened late last week and I spent the weekend downloading 15 new apps for my new iPhone. Over the next weeks and months I'll be reviewing a number of noteworthy iPhone/iPod touch applications in this space, starting with MotionX Poker, my first game purchase.

MotionX Poker is a five-card poker game played by rolling five dice. You play against the "dealer" and have three chances (rolls) to make the best hand. You roll the dice by shaking your iPhone or iPod touch, which is a nice use of the accelerometer. The dice are beautifully rendered, with sounds and vibration, which is a nice touch.

The tumbling dice look like this:

When the dice come to rest, you drag the ones you wish to keep in your hand to the squares at the bottom of the screen (two aces in the image shown here).

When you win a hand, your point score (shown in the lower-right corner; 193 in the image above) is increased by the amount of your bet, with bonuses for win streaks and specific hands, so a 1-chip bet can win up to 6 chips as shown here:

Increasing your chip count unlocks new dice sets, tables, and gems as shown here:

Alas, it's not all good. For one thing, unlike real poker, a straight beats a full house in this game. The FAQ explains it thusly:

When playing Poker with five six-faced dice, the odds of getting a straight are slightly less than those of getting a full house. Because of this, in poker dice games, a straight beats a full house.

That makes sense but still seems odd to me when it happens.

The other issue is that the game freezes far too often -- at least once per playing session for me. You can work around it and pick up where you left off by tapping the Home button to exit the game, and then tapping the MotionX Poker icon to restart the game. It's never affected my iPhone's functionality but it is annoying, especially in a game that's otherwise so enjoyable and polished.

The Bottom Line

MotionX Poker is very pretty, a lot of fun, and more addicting than I expected. Even with its strange rules and occasional freezes it's a lot of fun to play again and again.

Just The Facts

Pros:Gorgeous graphics, addicting gameplay, interesting use of accelerometer.

Cons:A straight beats a full house, occasional freezes.

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