Texas Wuggle in Review – Poker’s lighter side

iDevice poker apps are a great idea; while you can lose whuffie against your iDevice, or around the world on leaderboards, you don’t have to worry about losing your dosh. Texas Wuggle is an interesting combination of poker and wuggling, and if you couldn’t tell already, is a die-hard casual gambler. This time however, you will arrange cards in order to either become a millionaire, or sit atop the poker circuit in a time-trial stint. Is it fun? Yes it is…

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There is no need to bring up my dirty poker-playing past: a seedy time which was steeped in dark goings on, iffy companions; and all-nighters full of sweat, smoke, and spades. Suffice to say, I was hooked. Texas Wuggle brings back a bit of the old gambler in me, in a good way.

Behind its sparkly, brilliant exterior, Texas Wuggle is a good, yet adulterated poker game, but the first thing which may catch your eye is the sparkly stuff. From the ante, this game is packed with special effects and bright, showy objects. Even the simple act of dragging cards around is an indulgent showdown of colour as cards sprout colour-tails. When you win, it gets even flashier; think New Year’s day – in Toronto.

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But, this colourful interface is vital in keeping up appearances: Texas Wuggle is a puzzle game with concentrated poker elements. The poker fan will enjoy the cards, while the puzzler will enjoy the dextrous challenges. To create a hand, you must make sense of the jumble of cards which is thrown in front of you after every deal. It isn’t a neat deposit either, so get ready to screw your eyes up searching for that last spade. In order to make a hand, you have to string 5 cards together into a poker hand. Then, swipe that collection from left to right, or in the opposite direction to finalise it.

Mechanics aside, there are two different game modes: spree and survival. Spree gives you a chance to start from the bottom, and in ten hands, manage to strike a cool million. Survival is the arcade version of poker: you have to race against the clock to create poker hands, and as levels progress, your earnings will go up while the clock does the opposite.

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So, what do you get to help you along? You get bombs. Yup, bombs. While not traditional, bombs are a unique carryover from 4J Studio’s first iPhone game, Wuggle; they essentially function like ‘hits’. To exchange a card, simply double tap it, then tap a bomb. You have up to three bombs which will replenish at a rate of one per round. In addition to its flashy graphics, the puzzle, fast-action aspects of Texas Wuggle are catchy, fun, and addictive.

The collation of cards, however, is frustrating. Just like any poker game, Texas Wuggle spits cards out randomly, and just like any poker game, you will spot what you spot, take chances on those cards you believe in; and otherwise, go with the flow. Moving cards around is fun – please don’t get me wrong. But, the cards move like energetic blocks and will rebound from each other; this in particular is difficult when you are playing the time-limited Survival mode. To signal a hand, you swipe horizontally along a group of cards. Thus, they have to be in the same plot on the screen. Unfortunately, because of the bouncing, swirling, hardly-controllable, physics-bound cards, gaming is hard. Sometimes, you will run out of time just trying to get your cards to some safe, swipe-able place.

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I could mention that there is no iTunes support and no leaderboard, but that wouldn’t make too much sense. This app is 99 cents, shy of a dollar – cheap stuff; but it allows you to indulge in the otherwise seedy passion: gambling. Well, a very casual, catchy version of gambling. If I had to use a simple, but proper sentence, I might say something like: Texas Wuggle is a fun game. But I’d rather say something memorable, like: “its unique combination of puzzle and poker is a straight flush as far as I am concerned”. You can play for a few minutes and enjoy the game’s style while not worrying about ruining yours. Texas Wuggle ain’t a tried and true poker simulator, but it will keep your hands warm this coming winter.

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App Summary
Title:Texas Wuggle (v. 1.0)Developer:4J Studios Ltd.
Price:$0.99App Size:37.1 MB
  • flashy interface
  • spree and survival are both great fun
  • great price
  • unique blend of gambling and puzzle
  • gets frantic
  • card physics is not needed
  • how ’bout some itunes music?

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