Game Review: Poker Night at the Inventory (PC)

When we turn off our video games for the night, what do you think the characters do while we’re away? Some of them probably get together and play poker! At least that’s what they do in Poker Night at the Inventory, a new downloadable PC title from TellTale Games. Play against Max the rabbit from the Sam & Max point and click adventures, Strong Bad from Homestar Runner, the Heavy from Team Fortress 2, and Tycho from the Penny Arcade Web comic!

You may think that a poker game is a wild departure for TellTale, who mostly makes point and click adventures. But it really isn’t. One of TellTale’s first titles was a poker game which they used to learn how to incorporate dialogue in future endeavors! Poker Night is just an extension of that.

The game is Texas Hold ‘Em and you play against the four other characters until all but one is eliminated. It’s a simple game, really, and there is a text tutorial if you are not familiar with the rules. I do wish they would’ve had more visual aids and walkthroughs in the tutorial, but hey, it’s just a five dollar game so I can’t complain too much! No multiplayer or other extra modes, but you can save your game in progress.

As you play, the characters will make conversation with each other and interject and comment about how the game is going. These remarks are extremely funny and will make you fall out of your seat with laughter. Especially if you’re a fan of Sam & Max (like me), Strong Bad, or Team Fortress 2. Sorry, but Tycho just wasn’t as funny as the others, but then, I’m not a big Penny Arcade fan either. There is tons of dialogue, but I noticed a few repeat conversations every now and then. Plus it does get a little boring when it’s just you and another player.

Winning games is tough, but if you do eliminate everyone else, you’ll unlock themed cards and even poker tables based off the four characters’ games, like a Team Fortress deck of cards or Max and Trogdor tables. Sometimes, one of the characters will offer up some of their personal items in the betting pool, and if you win them, you’ll be able to use them in the PC Team Fortress 2 game! If you’re a fan of TellTale’s point and click adventures like I am, there are tons of extra cameos to keep an eye on, like the Buster Blaster arcade machine from Sam & Max in the background, and your announcer is Mr. Winslow from Tales of Monkey Island!

So even though it’s a simple and basic game, it’s worth it at only five bucks. Especially if you want some extra Team Fortress 2 unlockables! It makes for a nice ‘in-between’ game or as a tide-me-over for TellTale’s next big title: a Back to the Future sequel episodic game coming next month! YES! Teenage brother Jeff loves Poker Night and it’s one of the few PC games that have been able to tear him away from Black Ops, World of Warcraft, and Team Fortress 2! Go to TellTale Games’ Web site to find out how to download it.

Kid Factor:

Poker Night at the Inventory isn’t rated by the ESRB, but there is simulated gaming because you are betting in poker. Plus, some of the characters use strong language, but it’s mostly just Tycho. Luckily, in the options screen, you can choose to bleep out the bad words. But because of this and the difficulty level, I would say this game is best enjoyed by teens and older gamers only.

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