Texas Hold’em for Kindle

texas hold'emFor about 4 bucks you can get Texas Hold‘em for the Kindle, a fun poker game created by EA.  This popular poker game can be played with up to 5 people via Pass n’ Play.  EA has a good record so far for games on the Kindle and this one continues the trend.

In Texas Hold’em, you have three difficulty levels to choose from, as well as six different characters in Career Mode.  You can also play one on one or in tournaments.  Texas Hold‘em is an easy game to learn, and the Kindle version has a built in Advisor setting to help you out.  You can access this setting by pressing “A” on the keyboard.  One reviewer made a good point about the Advisor.  It can provide common sense advice, but sometimes a winning hand is based on just plain luck.

One thing that the Kindle edition has that the physical card game doesn’t, is stats.  That is, unless you write them down yourself.  You can track your stats that the Kindle has automatically created for you, and see your playing history.  That’s pretty cool, and you can use your past experiences to get better and better with each game.

One review suggested some good improvements that EA should include in the game.  It should be able to hold 8-10 people instead of just 5.  Players should be allowed to play against other Kindle users via wireless or 3G networks.  Both of these would be great additions for any of the games available on the Kindle.  The Pass ‘N Play feature is nice, but it would be easier to play against users with their own Kindles.  Plus, that would give you the option of playing with someone remotely.

Texas Hold’em works the best on the third generation Kindle, but first generation Kindle users are out of luck unless someone comes up with a way to make it compatible.  There have been several complaints about this issue in the reviews.

For more on Texas Hold’em for Kindle, check out the Texas Hold’em Kindle Review post on the Kindle Review Blog.

Panda Poet for Kindle

The latest addition to the Kindle game scene is Panda Poet.  Panda Poet is just about as creepy as it sounds.  However, the reviews are excellent and it comes from Spry Fox.  They hit the jackpot with their hit game Triple Town that came out a couple of months ago.

Panda Poet is a word game sort of like Scrabble.  You place letters on a board to form a word.  A panda is formed when you form a word in an open space on the board.  If you form a word near another panda, it makes the panda grow.  As the panda grows, new letters appear around the panda.  Your goal is to get the biggest panda or the longest word possible.

Here’s the catch: every time you form a word, the other letters on the board go one step closer to expiring.  Letters usually last about four to five rounds.  If a letter expires, it is replaced with a skull and limits the panda’s growth in that direction.  So, not only do you have to create the longest word possible, you have to think about where to place words to get the most letters before they expire.

I was amused at the way the pandas look as they grow.  One reviewer pointed out that the pandas are basically rectangles.  But, would this game be as interesting if it was just called the Rectangle Poet?  You also have to keep in mind that Spry Fox has only a monochrome e-ink screen to work with.  Maybe penguins will be next?

The scoring is a bit complicated, and one reviewer said that the “Help” screen could use some work.  However, you can easily pick up the gist of the game through playing.  Panda Poet is a fun, addicting game well worth the 3 bucks.

Check out the Panda Poet Kindle review on the Kindle Review Blog.

Minesweeper for Kindle

You are probably familiar with Minesweeper for the Microsoft Windows platform.  The game got its roots from various games of similar nature that were developed in the 1980’s.  You will find the basic Minesweeper structure in a variety of other puzzle games such as Sonic Battle, Mole Control and Vinesweeper.

The object of Minesweeper is to clear a grid without landing on hidden mines that are placed in various spots on the grid.  When you uncover a square on the grid, numbers reveal how many mines are in the vicinity of that particular square.  Use your deductive reasoning skills to identify all of the mines.  To identify the mines, you have to make the square without actually landing on it.  If you land on a mine, the game is over and you lose.  The game is also a race against time.  This should push you to improve your speed as well as strategy as you play more and levels of the game.

The Kindle version of Minesweeper has some great features that will assist you as you play.  You can turn on hints that will help you learn the game.  It also comes with three levels of difficulty and a wide selection of puzzles to solve.  The greater the difficulty level, the larger the grid becomes. The game also records your high scores so you can keep track of them.

Minesweeper is not the most exciting game in the world, but it can be addicting.  The Kindle adds portability and allows you to play in so many more places.  This game is great for the Kindle platform because of its simple design.  Best of all, the application is free and a vast improvement over the Kindle’s built in version.  If it’s free, there’s nothing to lose.

For more information about Minesweeper, check out this Minesweeper Kindle review in the Kindle Review Blog.

Triple Town

If you like puzzle games, there is a new  and exciting game called Triple Town available for the Kindle that has awesome reviews.  It even works well on the 2nd generation of the Kindle, which cannot be said for all of the Kindle games.  That makes me happy because I have the Kindle 2.

Triple Town is simple and easy to learn.  You line up similar objects on a board and they turn into a more elaborate object.  For example, three grass squares turns into a flower, which turns into a bush until eventually you create buildings and castles.  Of course, there are creatures eager to get in your way and disrupt your building process.  You will also find hidden crystals that are considered “wild cards” for the game and can be of great value.  There are also game play hints that you can use as well.

Don’t be fooled by the initial simplicity of the game.  As you progress, you’ll find that there is a lot of strategy involved, and those can lead to unexpected outcomes.

It is nice to have a game that is mentally challenging, as opposed to brain numbing games like Minesweeper or Oregon Trail.  Speaking of Oregon Trail, I’m surprised that there is not a Kindle version yet.  Despite the mindless nature of that game, I have fond memories of playing it on my calculator when I was supposed to be paying attention in math class.

But I digress.  Spry Fox did an excellent job with Triple Town, and I hope to see more games from them in the future for the Kindle.  The Kindle platform makes it tough to make games, but this could spark a whole new realm of gaming.  It is refreshing to see the new crop of games fare so well alongside the familiar ones such as Solitaire and Scrabble.

For more information about Triple Town, check out this Triple Town Kindle review in the Kindle Review Blog.

Triple Town is now compatible with the latest generation keyboardless Kindle.

Solitaire for Kindle

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has ventured into card games with the recent release of Solitaire.  Solitaire is a great game to play if you’re bored at work (that is, if your boss doesn’t block it from your computers) or have time to kill.

The Kindle and Kindle DX version of Solitaire lets you get by the boss’s computer restrictions, and it also adds portability to the well loved game.  Actually, I should say games.  The Kindle edition comes with twelve different games to choose from: Klondike, yramid, Yukon, Golf, Freecell, Wasp, Peaks, Canfield, Spiderette, Eliminator, Easthaven, and Baker’s Dozen.

Brief Overview of a Few of the Games…

Klondike is the most familiar and well known version of Solitaire.  The goal is to build piles, or foundations of each suit.  The foundations begin with an ace and end with a king. In the mean time, you create piles of descending numbers starting with the king and ending with a two.  The goal is to get to the point where you can move the cards from the descending piles to the foundation piles.

Freecell is another form of Solitaire, and the good part about it is that you can play it over and over and still get a challenge.  The goal is to build foundation piles by suit, just like with the Klondike version.  Throughout the game, you can move the piles around and start new piles.  So it provides a little more card flexibility than Klondike.

Baker’s Dozen is set up by creating thirteen columns of four cards.  The game got its name because thirteen is considered the baker’s dozen. The object of the game is the same as Klondike and Freecell.  In order to start the foundations, you must free the aces from the piles and add them to the foundation piles.  The columns or tableaux can be added to in descending order regardless of suit until the ace is found.

The Kindle’s keyboard makes moving the cards around really easy with shortcuts and the 5-way toggle button.  The Kindle is not a color e-reader so you will need to know which suits are red and which are black to create the descending piles of alternating colors.  The crisp e-ink display makes it easy to see the cards and their contents.  Despite the lack of color, Solitaire has been a real hit with reviewers.

Describing the games in writing might come off as a bit dry and hard to understand without seeing the games themselves.  I think, in order to understand the Solitaire games and how to do well in them, you have to actually play them.  Trust me, they are a lot of fun!

For more information about Solitaire, check out this Kindle Solitaire review on Kindle Review Blog.

Scrabble for Kindle

Scrabble has been a real hit for Kindle users since its release on September 23.  It includes a lot of cool features to help you improve your playing strategy..

The Kindle edition of Scrabble includes both solo and multi player versions.  In the solo game, you’ll play against a computer with a choice of three difficulty level settings.  The Best Word feature provides you with the best word options that would make the most out of the double and triple word scores for a turn.  Too bad you don’t have that hint with the regular board game. I’m sure many people will make good use of this feature.

Statistics tracking is included to help you strive to improve your game each time you play.  You can also take a look at past moves that both you and your opponent have made throughout the game.  It looks like the players are going to have to get a lot more secretive about the way they play strategically.

The reviews for the Kindle edition of Scrabble are great, and one reviewer pointed out that the Kindle’s five way controller makes playing the game really easy.

Another reviewer noted that the graphics are well done, and the game has just enough complexities to justify the higher price of $4.99.  This is about the same price as the best games on the iPad and iPod touch.  So you get what you pay for in most cases.  When I think of paying $5 for this game versus $30 or more for a Nintendo DS game, it puts things into perspective.

The full board on the regular Kindle is quite small, but the new and improved graphics on the latest generation allows it to remain crisp and easy to see.  The Kindle DX certainly provides more board room on its bigger screen if you have one.

As for the game itself, Scrabble is a challenge.  It is fun to come up with creative or crazy words.  I get a real kick out of beating the “unbeatable” experienced players.  Now, with the game available on my Kindle, I can take it anywhere and play it while I wait for the bus, the doctor’s office or at home on a rainy afternoon.

For more information about Scrabble, check out this Kindle Scrabble review on Kindle Review Blog.