Review: Astraware Casino for Symbian Series 60

Gear Diary Astraware Casino

I love casinos, but I am terrible at gambling. Flashing lights, lots of bars, video games; essentially casinos are just a grown-up version of the boardwalk arcades from my childhood. Of course, my problem is that I don’t understand how to gamble; I just tap screens, pull levers, and pretend I understand how poker works until I run out of money. Luckily, Astraware Casino for Symbian offers many of those games with virtual money; we’ll be taking a look at this versatile game set today.

AW Casino would make an excellent primer if you were on your way to Las Vegas; each of the games starts with a basic explanation of the rules, strategies, etc. Then you choose your bet and get rolling/folding/slotting/etc. While some of the games are not easy from a strategy standpoint, they are all easy to navigate and play. One niggle is that some require moving from the bottom of the screen to the top or side, and then you’re stuck pushing the d-pad a handful of times as you jump across, but that only happens once or twice while you are setting up a few of the games. Animations are very smooth on my E71x, and while the game takes up a big memory footprint, it launches from a cold start quickly.

You can play the games as one-offs; just scroll through, pick your game and play. The game tracks how you do, however, and you can win little “souvenirs” as you win fake money in the various games. If you fail terribly and find yourself destitute, there’s a “bank” where you can borrow some cash and keep feeding your addiction. Presumably this bank won’t charge you a heart-stopping interest rate or send people to kneecap you if you are late with payments.

The casino games included (and any comments I had) are:

-Limit Hold ‘Em: Fun, though I am terrible at this.

-No Limit Hold ‘Em: Really, just not good.

-Video Blackjack: If only I were as good in real life as I am on the game…

-Slots: Oddly fun even without the promise of a real payout.

-Roulette: Pretty!

-Video Poker: Poker and I do not get along. I am dreadful at it.

-Video Keno: I am not entirely sure what Keno is, but it’s fun!

-Baccarat: Took me a while to get the hang of this, and true to form, as soon as I started winning I wiped out on it.

-Three Card Poker: Really, I am just awful at poker. Even virtual fake poker. But this is fun, especially since I won’t ACTUALLY go broke playing it.

-Video Derby: This was the one game I never won. Every time I picked a horse they came in close to last or dead last. My bet was a curse upon an animated horse and jockey. However, the animations were very, very smooth.

-Craps: Very pretty, but is the worst as far as navigation. It’s just the nature of trying to select all the various options on the screen, but it requires a lot of d-pad pushes to get from the bottom to the top.

-Blackjack: I love Blackjack, so I spent the most time playing this game. It’s quite fun.

Overall, AW Casino is a great addition to any phone; it offers you a huge selection of games to pass the time, is great for learning the basics of casino games, and is generally very entertaining. If you have a Symbian S60 phone, it’s definitely worth trying. Read on for screenshots from the various games!

One note: the intention had been to do a review of Astraware Sudoku as well, but it would not work on my E71x, no matter what I tried (incl a hard reset). It’s likely it is my phone (I’ve had other odd issues) but just a warning for anyone else with an E71x to trial before you buy!

And without further ado, screenshots!

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Astraware Casino for Symbian Series S60 is available directly from the manufacturer; it is also available for BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm OS®, Pocket PC, Windows Mobile Smartphone devices.

MSRP: $9.99

What I liked: Lots of game choices; Smooth animations; Good mix of one-off game options and ongoing goals (collecting souvenirs, building money in the bank)

What I didn’t like: Lots of D-pad pushes for some games; Big memory footprint. (5mb)

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