Phantom EFX has a new edition of their popular Reel Deal Card Games series out. This one, dubbed the ’09 edition, contains over 80 card games for you to experience. While most of the Reel Deal series has something to do with casino gaming and is marketed as such, Card Games ’09 is geared to the average card player. By card player, I do not mean poker necessarily, although that is included within this game too. I mean the player of games such as solitaire or bridge. Even without it being casino-focused, the games featured in this product all have a gambling component. Nothing ventured as the old saying goes! If you are familiar with Phantom EFX’s previous games you should have no problem adjusting to this one. Their UI’s are consistently friendly and show a good degree of forethought.
Some of the games that have been featured in this release are Hearts, Bridge, and Rummy 500. Phantom EFX has gone with a more whimsical cast of characters in this game, and their mood-effecting animations are very humorous. Characters interact well together, even knowing each other’s names.
The online community in which Reel Deal Card Games ’09 interfaces with is by far one of the game’s greatest strengths, as the computer AI can be spotty and it is much more fun to get your friends together for a card game in any case.
By far, the biggest complaint I have about the game is what seems to plague every Phantom EFX game: the resolution. Their titles always seem to run in a smaller resolution, causing everything to look strange on my 1920×1200 display. Also, the title uses the standard Phantom EFX two-dimensional visual style. I hope that Phantom EFX will attempt to make a three-dimensional game at some point (we hear that their Millionaire’s Club may be what we are looking for).
At its $19.99 price point, I would recommend Reel Deal Card Games ’09 to anyone looking for a solid recreation of the games featured within. All of the games can be played in quick sessions or long marathons and should suit most any player.