Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Astraware Casino Review

Astraware’s latest game, Casino, brings all the fun an excitement of a trip to the casino without the risk of losing your shirt.

Last week saw the release of yet another high-quality game for the Palm OS and Windows Mobile platforms: Astraware Casino. Astraware Casio is a collection of eight popular casino games: Texas Hold ‘Em Limit Poker, Baccarat, Video Poker, Craps, Video Keno, Slots, Roulette, and Blackjack.

I enjoy playing card games in a casual setting when friends stop by to visit, but I’ve never been one to spend much time at the casino. After downloading and installing the demo, I was happy to learn that Astraware Casino is geared for the casual gamer. When you start the game, you are given $1,200 ($1,000 in your wallet, $200 in the bank) and all the games start off in “Tourist” mode. This mode is intended for the casual casino game player and there are limits on the minimum and maximum bets. For example, the Blackjack table has a minimum bet of $1 and a maximum bet limit of $250. In the third gaming level, “Regular”, the table limits are changed with the minimum bet set to $100 and the maximum bet set to $5,000. New modes of play are unlocked based on how frequently you play and win at the games in the Astraware Casino.

Playing Astraware Casino is a breeze. As with other recent games from Astraware (Solitaire and Boardgames) you move around the game board with the 5-way navigator, or if you prefer, the stylus. The first time to select to play a game that you have not previously played, the game’s rules are displayed in a How to Play window. The directions are well written and easy to understand. You can always view the game directions by tapping the Menu button and selecting Instructions from the menu. (I am still having trouble with the Craps game. I may have to get my book of Hoyle games out and read up on game play strategies.) Moving between the different games and the bank is easily done. Just select Bank or Choose Game from the menu and you will be back to the high stakes action in no time. Adding to the fun are unlockable souvenirs that you win while playing the game. So far my favorite souvenir is the Hawaiian Shirt, with the Ace of Spades a close second.

Astraware Casino is available for both Palm OS handhelds and Treo smartphones, and Treo smartphones running Windows Mobile 5 and 6. This includes the newest Palm smartphones, the Treo 500v (Europe) and the Centro (United States). I tested the game on the Palm TX, Treo 650, and 700p and the game experience was good. Astraware has made a time limited trial available for download. That is a great way to try the game out before you buy and the make sure your hardware is supported. Astraware Casino for Palm OS and Windows Mobile is available now from the Astraware online store and sells for $19.95.

Regardless of weather you are a casual card player or an adrenaline junkie who likes to live life on the edge, with Astraware Casino loaded on your Palm you will be able to take a little piece of the Las Vegas thrill with you wherever you go.

For more information or to download the demo, visit the Astraware website.

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