MobileInfocenter
Review: Championship Card Games
By: Pepper
October 11, 2002

Overview
The Championship Card Games, by Dream Quest software, includes Euchre, Hearts, and Spades. From a total newbie to a card game master, the games offer a challenge for anyone.

Game Play
Game play is pretty simple. If you already know how to play card games, you can play just as you would with a real deck of cards. If you don't already know how to play, there is a simple tutorial included with each program to teach you the basics. Once you know the game, it's time to get playing.

From the options menu you can customize your opponents, the skill level, and tweak the rules of the game. The skill levels range from a simple beginners game to a challenging masters level. Regardless of the level you choose, you can always use a hint or two to give yourself a little aid in winning the game.

Graphics
Champ Card GamesBeing a card game, there really isn’t too much you can say about the graphical content of it. The use of color is nice, and the graphics look detailed although not exceptionally smooth. The faces of the characters you play look cute and cartoon-ish, although are a little indiscernible on such a small screen. In short, the game won't assault your eyes, but it doesn’t exactly promise any eye candy either.

Statistics
The games offer you statistics at almost every chance they get. During each hand you can find the round's stats in the upper right hand side of the screen. Between every deal a statistics box will also come up, detailing the events of the round. And, of course, there is also a place to look at your win/loss statistics. Whether you’re a good player or a poor one, you will have no problem what so ever finding out how well you play. Unfortunately, the program stores all of the data for this in memo pad. It is a tad annoying and clutters up the memo pad list.

Speed
Ultimately, the games are good, but the one place I have a problem is the speed. It seems you spend more time waiting on the games then you do playing them. Starting up the application is a long process while you wait for it to load each individual aspect of the game, and you have to wait again when you want to exit. Playing the game is also a slow ordeal; you spend more time waiting for the Palm to make its move than you would for real people. There are, however, options available to delay the pauses during and between tricks. Unfortunately the effect is minimal and practically unnoticeable. In fact , the options are another major bone of discontent I have. Although I love customizing my choices, I don’t like being forced to wait several minutes to do so. After hitting OK, it takes up to a full minute to return to the game.

Miscellaneous
Champ Card GamesAside from the basics, there are almost always a few other points to make. First off, the size of the programs isn't something to be too thrilled about. Combined, the games take nearly a meg of RAM. Although certainly not a huge program, it would have been great if the company could have kept the size to a minimum.

Secondly, the programs do include options for wireless gameplay . A very nice idea, but not exactly useful if you can't find anyone to play against . . . and if no one wants to wait on a slow Palm OS machine.

Also, this is one of the first applications I have seen which has included an on-board installation program. Although kind of neat in its uniqueness, I find it bothersome to have an installation utility on my palm for a few PRC files.

Conclusion
Although the games are fun and challenging to play, the speed is just too aggravating. If the games' speeds were boosted a bit it would be excellent, but until then the games are practically unplayable.


PalmInfocenter.com Bottom Line
Company: Dream Quest Software
Price: $39.95
Design: 3(3)
Cost/Benefit: 3(3)
Coolness: 2(2)
Overall: 2.5(2.5)
Maximum rating is five (5) infopalms.

PROS:

  • Challenging game play with customizable skill sets
  • Cute characters to add personality
  • Comprehensive instructions
  • Plentiful stats
CONS:
  • Game runs WAY to slow
  • Size is large

Article Comments

 (28 comments)

The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Comments Closed Comments Closed
This article is no longer accepting new comments.

Down

At least this way...

Mithras @ 10/11/2002 8:51:49 AM #
...we'll be confident that when Pepper *does* like a game, it'll be a pretty good one.

Keep up the good work! I'm happy to see reviews that aren't just warmed-over press releases.

RE: At least this way...
kevdo @ 10/11/2002 10:21:02 AM #
I checked the Hearts game out and too found it WAY too slow. I emailed the company about it and they made a lot of blah blah blah excuses about the processing needed to think of good moves and all that.

The fact this looks like a Windows port wouldn't have anything to do with the slow speed, eh? (yeah, thought so...).

The company could not understand that I don't care if the moves are "championship level" -- if I have to wait between moves the game is essentially unplayable. At least for this player.

-Kevin Crossman

RE: At least this way...
pgovotsos @ 10/11/2002 2:29:48 PM #
If you don't want championship level moves, go play one of Standalone's games. Hearts Spades and Euchre are available there.

You will get FASTER play. You will get DUMBER play. You will pay more than TWICE as much. $20 for DreamQuest vs $45 for Standalone. You make your own choices.

Panagiotis

RE: At least this way...
ardee @ 10/11/2002 6:24:03 PM #
They should do what chess programs have been doing for decades: permit the user to select the strength of the computer player. For the computer to play a fairly weak game, it could move fast (i.e., calculate less). For it to play stronger, it would need either a faster CPU or more time to computer.

Then (almost) everybody would be happy.


RE: At least this way...
ardee @ 10/11/2002 6:25:53 PM #
Typo: make that "more time to compute" not "more time to computer."


RE: At least this way...
kevdo @ 10/11/2002 6:35:44 PM #
>They should do what chess programs have been doing for
>decades: permit the user to select the strength of
>the computer player.

Yes... and the game is still too slow. :-(

-Kevin Crossman

I love this game

kelol0 @ 10/11/2002 9:09:46 AM #
I had this game for about 6mnths
i can't get enough of it. I love SPADES!
it is slow and i wish it was hires+ hopefully
in the future they can upgrade this game so its better.

http://www.sonystyle.com/vaio/images/clie/clie_760.jpg">

Any idea what language its programmed in?

Schu @ 10/11/2002 12:17:33 PM #
from the speed issues, installer and size, it does not sound like a c/c++ compiled program. Maybe one of the other environments?

What all does the installer install?

Just curious, I'm too lazy to download and install it :)

Schu

RE: Any idea what language its programmed in?
Token User @ 10/11/2002 1:58:05 PM #
I just checkout their website. It is written in Appforge - which is great for cross platform developement.

Unfortunately AppForge is like a duck, it swims, and it flies, it just doesn't do either very well. It is compiled code, but the language is basic, and calls to the Palm API set are wrappered. Don't get me wrong, Appforge has its place, and is brilliant as a prototyping tool (VERY quick development in a MS VB type way), and Appforge apps might actually run at a reasonable speed on the new PalmOS 5 units. But, these games really demonstrate that something are better done natively.

Token.

~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~

Way overpriced...

Strider_mt2k @ 10/11/2002 12:23:04 PM #
40.00 for some card games on your Palm is crazy IMHO.

I guess a hard-core gamer might pay it, but the review doesn't make the game sound worth it!


strider_mt2k@yahoo.com

RE: Way overpriced...
kelol0 @ 10/11/2002 12:30:19 PM #
i paid 20 for mine which was hard enough
yeah they need to lower the price 2

Pepper a Game Reviewer?

UZI4U182 @ 10/11/2002 1:30:13 PM #
SO now Pepper is a Game Reviewer for PIC? well congratulations Pepper. (you're doing great so far!)

--Devan-- | Email me: UZI4U182@att.net

Webmaster of www.tavern.2ya.com
Palm OS apps, news, reviews and such
Check out the brand new forum!
Proud owner of a Palm m100, Sony CLIÉ PEG-S320, and Sony CLIÉ PEG-SJ30!

RE: Pepper a Game Reviewer?
Davy Fields @ 10/11/2002 8:36:03 PM #
Uhh.... she's been doing this for years now.

-Davy Fields
http://nr70.davyfields.com
RE: Pepper a Game Reviewer?
Pepper @ 10/12/2002 1:33:17 PM #
Thank you Devan, I hope you enjoy the reviews :)

-Pepper

I love my Palm . . . do you?

Unfair review

pgovotsos @ 10/11/2002 1:49:46 PM #
I wonder what machine Pepper used for this review. I run this on my Clie760 and have NO speed problems. It plays at least as fast as human players in all but the highest level human groups I play with. I play it at the highest level and even then the speed is acceptable.

The start up IS slow, but if you look at the messages on the screen, it's not the GAME loading (that already happened mostly), it's the AppForge garbage loading. AppForge is what allows them to use nearly identical code for multiple platforms.

A large part of the memory footprint is the AppForge components again.

I think the price statements are a little unreasonable - software is the result of someones labor and should be compensated. I just went to Handango and except for a few games, all recent card games where at least $15 for ONE game and several were over $25 for ONE game. DQ's Championship bundle for all THREE is $19.99 (facts should be gotten straight - this is the direct price also).

The speed issues aside, which can be LARGELY subjective, the reviewer really ignored the most important point. The gameplay. He covered the mechanics of the game, but how well it plays is something else.

I purchased this game for one reason. This is the only card game on the Palm platform that plays like a human and not a robot playing by rote. This thing actually can make mistakes in the same manner as a human appropriate to the level set. At the highest level, don't expect any mistakes - it is BRUTAL. If you bid NIL in Spades, for example, be prepared to defend that bid vigourously.

A more honest rating would be more like:

Design: 5 (It's a well implemented card game that is unconfusing and plays like a human - the only REAL design criteria for a card game)

Cost/Benefit: 5 (Three excellent games for less than the price of one game elsewhere)

Coolness: 3 or 5 (I'll agree here - (3)cards are not the coolest thing in the world. (5)What is cool - if your a card player- is the skill of the game)

Overall: 4.3 (for general public) or 5 (for card players)

If you are only an action game player I can understand this review, but this is not Solitaire, these are thinking games and it's obvious a lot of skull sweat went into producing them.

As usual, this is only my opinion and your mileage may vary.

Panagiotis

RE: Unfair review
Mr. 2929 @ 10/11/2002 4:45:51 PM #
Agreed. I find DQ's card games to be the most challenging of any out there. I have a Palm m130, and have used Afterburner on Hearts and Spades, which has solved any speed problems. I have not experienced any speed problems with Euchre whatsoever. However, their newest game, 500, is very slow, even with the hacks activated. That one needs work.

Has anyone played Purple Software's card games? Just curious, as there are no demos available.

RE: Unfair review
pgovotsos @ 10/11/2002 5:00:26 PM #
I'd like to hear about Purple also, but I won't spend $30 blind.

PG

RE: Unfair review
Mr. 2929 @ 10/11/2002 5:27:39 PM #
I do have Omar Sharif Bridge, which seems to be pretty good--however, I am a novice bridge player, so my views probably aren't worth much. I did buy Purple's backgammon a while back, and it was OK, but was very predictable. I can't imagine Hearts, Spades and Euchre being much better, but you never know. There is such a paucity of good card games for the Palm that I am tempted to try, but it's hard to justify.

RE: Unfair review
kempokaraterulz @ 10/11/2002 10:52:45 PM #
last i recall pepper owns an m505 and an s10. correct me if im wrong. You shouldnt have to over clock your palm to make a figiin' card game work though

_______________________________________
Ed Hardy: The best damn palm news editor. Ever.
Ansi soit-il.
RE: Unfair review
Pepper @ 10/12/2002 1:30:23 PM #
Hi there all,

I do own an m505 and an s10. I'm sorry you disagree with my view of the game. Unfortunately, the game ran far too slow for me, and I do not believe in overclocking.

-Pepper

I love my Palm . . . do you?

RE: Unfair review
pgovotsos @ 10/12/2002 3:05:14 PM #
I disagree with the review. That's OK - disagreement is good.

The problem is, I don't think you were the right person to review this product. You are obviously NOT a serious card player. This is a product for that audience. You should be reviewing product that you fully understand.

Of course, like the very first poster commented, you'll probably die before giving a product a good review. Have you ever written software? Or do you just like tearing apart other peoples work.

A knowledgable and objective reviewer is essential to a useful review.

Panagiotis

Yes I love my Palm (Clie) too. I don't suffer fools, do you?

RE: Unfair review
Pepper @ 10/13/2002 3:22:52 PM #
Hi there,

I'm sorry you were also displeased with how I felt about this game. Unfortunately, though, I feel it unfair for you to make certain statements about me. If you were to read some of my prior reviews you would see that I have written a fair number of positive reviews, so for you to say that I would die before writting a poistive review is inappropriate. Also, I have done a fair amount of programming on the side, and I understand that it can be VERY difficult and VERY time consuming . . . not to mention frustrating. I understand that the developer put a lot of time and effort into the product, and I am in no way trying to tear their product appart. I love games of all sorts, card games included. As I stated, i found this game to be quite challenging, but the speed was just unsuitible. I greatly appreciate the challenge of the game, but didnt find it worth the drawback.

Once again, I'm sorry you disagree with my views, and hopefully we can agree in the future

-Pepper

I love my Palm . . . do you?

RE: Unfair review
Sartre @ 10/14/2002 10:36:28 AM #
Hey Pan, do you work for the company that made this game?

All of your comments sound a little too defensive to be objective - as if you have a personal interest in the product.

Pepper gave a review, as she has done many times before (some positive, some negative). Not every review is agreeable to every reader. That's life. But it seems extremely silly to criticize her by making assumptions regarding her equipment, her likes and dislikes of types of games, and whether "she'll die before she gives a positive review." (*which you didn't originally state, but you did repeat)

Do us a favor - try to remember that reviews such as this are one person's opinion and are done voluntarily.

RE: Unfair review
pgovotsos @ 10/14/2002 1:55:08 PM #
Sarte,
The only connection I have with Dream Quest is that I I gave them money for their products. Not an employee or anything else.

Take Mithras to task for the no positive reviews, I just agreed with him/her. The couple of recent reviews I have seen by Pepper HAVE been less than glowing.

I made no assumptions about Pepper's hardware, I asked what was used and that it ran fine on my 760 without any acceleration.

I agree that all have an opinion, I said in my first and last posts that this is MY opinion and that disagreement is OK.

I made no assumptions about Pepper's likes or dislikes about games. I said "IF you are only an action game player", that's not an assumption of any kind. I do make a conclusion that "You are obviously NOT a serious card player" based on Pepper's review and what was considered important in that review.

Pepper and Sartre,
I didn't make any positive or negative personal comments about Pepper. I commented on / responded to the review. Yes, I questioned Pepper's qualifications to perform the review ( ie. is Pepper a card player ). As far as I know ( which I don't at all), Pepper could be a wonderful person or a pain in the tookus. I have no idea.

Please read my comments carefully without bias or preconception before assuming I am saying something I am not.

PG

RE: Unfair review
Pepper @ 10/14/2002 3:02:17 PM #
Hi again PG,

Its all quite alright, no offense is taken. I completely understand your questioning of my qualifications -- I also wonder about the qualifications of the strangers I encounter on the internet

-Pepper

I love my Palm . . . do you?

RE: Unfair review
birdiestyle @ 10/14/2002 4:46:06 PM #
The Bundle is in fact $39.95 at Handango. They are $19.95 a piece there...

I have seen claims that Purple's card game's AIs are very weak....

RE: Unfair review
Mr. 2929 @ 10/14/2002 5:12:37 PM #
Thanks for the Purple info. I bit the bullet and bought Purple Software's Hearts just recently and tested it out. The AI is fairly weak; I found it making a number of mistakes at the higher levels. It was also much too easy to shoot the moon. Finally, the interface of the game seemed a bit awkward to me. I'd stick with Dreamquest.

I ate lunch with the developer

bcombee @ 10/12/2002 1:14:37 AM #
At PalmSource 2002, I ended up having lunch one day with a good friend who worked for AppForge and the author of these applications. His games were a finalist in the 2002 Independent Game Festival awards (http://www.igf.com/2002entrants.htm), and he was really nice. I think the fact that these work over a TCP/IP network letting you game with players with other Palm OS devices, Windows desktops, or even Pocket PC devices is really innovative.

--
Ben Combee, CodeWarrior for Palm OS technical lead
Programming help at www.palmoswerks.com
Top

Account

Register Register | Login Log in
user:
pass: