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Alive 14
Poker Square
by Paradize
Poker Square is the latest release from Paradize, and although 
it's *yet another* puzzle game, it is quite an interesting one. 
Developed for 1MB Atari's, Poker Square is essentially a remake 
of an old Atari GEM-based (mono) game, which Paradize have 
bought up to date with colourful graphics and a much needed 
audio boost.

The aim of the game is to distribute randomly selected playing
cards onto the square playing grid so that each horizontal,
vertical and diagonal 'hand' holds the highest poker score
possible.  It sounds simple in theory, but in practice Poker
Square is actually quite a headache.

A good knowledge of the Poker scoring system is definitely 
advantageous, but not necessary as the in-game animated rules 
helpfully explain the different poker hands and their scores. 
However, after playing the game I can't help but feel that 
achieving a high score is mainly down to luck rather than player 

Before playing Poker Square I had no knowledge whatsoever of the
poker scoring system.  On my first few games I just randomly
placed cards on the board (with no idea as to what I was doing)
and much to my surprise, on my third go I received enough points
to get me in the top five on the high score table!

After reading through the rules I was able to start making some 
strategic placements on the board, and I now understand why this 
game may be appealing to (regular) poker players.  I still 
believe that achieving a high score is mainly down to luck, but 
learning how to play the game properly does really pay off, and 
after a bit of practice I was able to beat my previous fluke 

As with Paradize's other releases, the graphics are top quality
and the chip music by Marcer is particularly well suited to the
console-feel of the game.  Although my first impressions were
relatively negative, I have to say that when I took the time to
learn how to play the game properly I did enjoy playing it.
Definitely one for poker heads.

Graphics       82
Sound          87
Game Concept   77
Gameplay       77
Lasting Appeal 82

Overall        81

                                J. Monkman for Alive, 2006-12-20
Alive 14