Review: Cribbage Partner
Starting with my Handspring Visor, all the way up to my Treo 680, I always had a cribbage game on my PDA/smartphone. My family played cribbage, and it was always a fun card game to play. I knew it would only be a short while until a cribbage game came out for the iPhone.
Sure enough, Cribbage Partner came out a little while ago. At $4.99, it is a little more expensive than some of the game that are available, and people are less likely to just "give it a shot". But being a big cribbage fan, I decided I needed it for my iPhone.
The game is advertised as "based on the evolved AI of the best selling Palm version". I don't know if that means it is the same developer or not, but this version is much more graphically oriented than the palm version I had.
The game is very straightforward - you start the game, and immediately you are presented with card, and forced to give up two to the kitty (for people who don't know how to play cribbage, look up the rules first). You choose two cards, the phone chooses two cards, and you then start for the pegging round. To select a card to play, you simply tap it. Once pegging is finished, the points are automatically tallied, and then you move on to the next round.
That's it. When a game is over (someone reached 121 points), you then start over again.
I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. While the AI of the game is fine, I was a little dismayed to see some features missing from the game. Most of them are minor improvements, but taken as a whole they leave me somewhat disappointed with the game.
First, some nitpicks about the game play. First, when choosing cards for the kitty, there is no "verification" or confirmation of the cards. If you accidentilly tap on the wrong card, in it goes to the kitty (well, if it is the second card you tap - the first card can always be taken back). For people with big or clumsy fingers, that might pose a problem.
Also, during the game play, it would be nice to have to option to tally up your own hand (potentially allowing for muggins). You could even turn the muggins option on or off (so if you tally incorrectly, the game simply tells you what you missed). In the Palm version, you can't do that, but it would make the game a little more interesting. Even if you can't do that, it would be nice to see HOW the points are derived - right now it just gives you a point total.
Now, some minor enhancements that I think would make it more fun. First, it would be nice to be able to choose a difficulty level - having only one difficulty level makes it harder for beginners to pick up the game. It would also be nice to be able to customize or choose the character icon representing you (right now, it is some odd purple haired character). It would also be a good visual improvement to be able to choose to style of cribbage board - right now it is a basic back and forth board.
It is nice to have a cribbage game for the iPhone, but at $4.99, this should be a more polished game than it is. I can only hope that the developer is planning some updates to the game to address these issues. As I said, each of these issues isn't major, but taken all together it really sours the game play.
Cons: $4.99 for a game that doesn't seem fully developed
All in all: If you are jonesing for cribbage, buy the game. If you simply want to try it, wait to see how it is improved (hopefully it will be). But right now, for $4.99, I have to give it only 2 out of 5 stars.