Setup & Timing
Multiplayer (all of which is Single-Card Download) is right on the main menu (at the top part of the menu that you can see without scrolling). Download time is average, but not bad. Naviagation through the game was designed for people unfamiliar with the system (which isn't a surprise, considering the game was one of the earliest Nintendo DS games released). The opening credits are a little long, though, and cannot be skipped.
Menus & Navigation
Menu options are large and easy to access (what you tap is what you get). There's virtually no buffer space, but the options are so large, it's not needed. The menus can also be navigated by using the buttons.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
Play control in World Championship Poker: Deluxe Series is extremely simple. You tap. Sometimes here, sometimes there... but you tap. The questions is WHERE you tap, but that's a matter of play skill (how good you are at poker) and accuracy (how accurate you are in tapping the screen where you want to). Even small details like the game's acknowledgement of what you've selected (tapped). Almost everything is perfect... except in the bidding screen, where there's just so much to fit in that several things are so small that it's easy to tap on the wrong screen. Be sure to use a proper stylus. Alternatively, the buttons can also be used. No matter what, be sure to check that you're really bidding what you wanted to before actually placing the bid.
Besides the single-player Video Poker, Blackjack, and the Career Mode (none of which are reviewed here, since this site reviews the quality of Single-Card Download multiplayer only), everything in the game is available via Single-Card Download: all ten varieties of poker available in the single-player game are playable via Single-Card Download with up to six (6) people (the host and up to five guests). Starting money amounts, the win condition, and the specific end-game requirements can all be selected. The only two things the game is missing is downloadable demos (any of the poker games, Blackack, Video Poker, etc.) and some kind of customization (draw your own card back). The animations are nice, but unnecesary (and sometimes annoying - see below). The included audio "taunts" get annoying quick, but the sound effects set the mood properly.
Category Score: 13.5 / 15
While I was writing up this review, I did a little bit of research into Nintendo DS titles dedicated to poker. I figured that there would be several, including some I wasn't aware of. I mean, with the big jump in Nintendo DS & Wii sales due to new gamers (specifically the "casual gamer" crowd), crossover games like poker should be pretty common, right? Well... no. There are four. (There are other games with poker in it, like various casino titles or Petz Dogz 2, but only four of the games focus on poker.) Of those four, only one features Single-Card Download. Why is that? The reason may be that one really good one is all it takes.
World Championship Poker: Deluxe Series features ten (10) forms of poker that are available via Single-Card Download. There are no programming flaws. Navigation through the menus is easy. Overall, this is a great game - expecially considering that it came out so early in the Nintendo DS's lifespan. Don't get me wrong, the game is not perfect. The animations of the players' visual eccentricities are annoyingly time-wasting and the audible "taunts" get etremely repetitive. Neither of these things are a put off, however, and are easily overshadowed by what was done right with the title. In the future, downloadable demos would be the #1 thing I'd like to see added. In addition, adding more poker games should be easy with the larger capacity DS carts available now (keep them all Single-Card Download compatible!). There are places for a follow-up "World Championship Poker" title to go. Now we just have to see if we can get the folks at Crave and Sensory Sweep to go there!
Include a Single-Card Download demo of any one of the poker games or of the included Blackjack or Video Poker.
Increase the number of poker games (20? 25? 42?).
Let players skip the animations (computer tells) and turn off audible "taunts" in multiplayer.
Shorten the opening credits (or make them skipable).
Allow for alternate and customizable (draw them on the touch screen) card backs.
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 88 / 100 (a.k.a. 44/50)
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