Adding a new element to classic RPGs
Most of the games that are becoming popular on the mobile market are released by independent developers. Last year saw the unprecedented launch of Flappy Bird, and since it was taken off the market early in the year, it has spawned hundreds of clones. One such clone, Ouch Couch, is now also making the rounds on mobile devices as one of the newest crazes.
But more than anything, the nature of the mobile market has allowed for the marriage of unlikely genres, especially in the case of role-playing games (RPGs). While most RPGs in the console era were all about turn-based strategy systems with assignable skills and some elements of an open world, mobile RPGs have turned the tables. Similar to how Knights of Pen and Paper allows players to play a video RPG and table-top RPG in one game, Instant Games’ Poker Knight has allowed for the combination of a poker-based battle system in an RPG environment.
This decision to include elements of poker in an RPG is understandable, as poker is quickly becoming a worldwide phenomenon, earning millions in certain regions of the world. Cryptologic, owner of the longest-running casino entertainment site in the world, InterCasino, and former operator of one of the biggest poker networks in the world, reports that it used to serve to over 2 million customers during its time. Today, there are over 40 million people who play poker regularly across the globe, with 15 million playing online for real money.
Poker Knight tells the story of Derek, a young aspiring poker player who is magically transported into another dimension while playing at a tournament. In the alternate world, Derek must defeat enemies by using the skills he’d gained as a poker player in Las Vegas. It adheres to the trope of “Trapped in Another World” — a rather overused and unimaginative story trajectory.
The game’s artwork is incredibly detailed, if not quite generic. It follows the style of art that’s often seen in RPGs on the mobile market, with static images superimposed on the screen and scrolling texts that serve to guide the player on their journey across the game’s universe.
Of course, Poker Knight does just as it set out to do: it introduces the world’s first Role-Playing Poker Game, creating a battle system that allows players not just to learn how to play poker to beat their enemies in the game, but also how to play poker and possibly transition to real online tournaments in the future.
The mobile gaming market has paved the way for many different forms of games to be developed. What other games would you like to see in the future?