Day 115: Classicard

Posted: 2011/03/04 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #115, and today’s game is “Classicard”.

I’m a big fan of the card game hearts. I’ve almost bought Hardwood Hearts on XBLA several times over the years. I’m glad I never got around to it, as today I picked up “Classicard” which has not only hearts, but also euchre. “oh hell”, spades, knockout whist, and romanian whist. And whereas the XBLA hearts game is 400 Microsoft Points, Classicard on the Indie Games channel costs only 240 MSP despite having six times as many games, not to mention a tonne of customisaion options.

First, from the developer:

“Enjoy a game of euchre, hearts, oh hell, spades, knockout whist or romanian whist solo or with your friends. It’s a classic card game for up to four players over live or system link. Invite your friends and let them join while you play. Customize your game experience to fit your house rules. 99 unlockable awards. Proper 16:9 and 4:3 support.”

One of my complaints about card games in the past is that once you get a handle on the behaviour of the AI players the game usually becomes to easy. Classicard deals with this in two ways: first is its online pla (and system link play for those with 2 Xbox 360s hooked up to a home network), second is its customisation options. With more than 10 variants on its 6 games, plus over 60 selectable house rules, you can mix it up enough to keep its AI behavious less predictable, and online play obviously adds unlimited unpredictability. The developer maintains a website with online forums which could be a resource for people looking for gamertags of active Classicard players, if you’re in need of people on your friends list to join you in a game.

Speaking of the developer, Arcane Labs has rolled out several updates to the game already. Classicard was one of the first games released on the service, launching in December 2008 back when XBLIG was still referred to as Xbox Live Community Games. Since then high profile updates have added more modes, and overhauled the game aesthetically, among other improvements. The current version of the game is v1.4, and the developer has indicated that they have had a v1.5 planned for a while with a significant list of new features and have been waiting for a new version of Microsoft’s XNA development framework (which was required for some of the things they have in mind). With the recent roll out of XNA 4.0, perhaps we’ll see the promised v1.5 of Classicard.

To get an idea of how far the game’s presentation has come, here is a video they released to promote their v1.1 update (so this wasn’t even the first version of the game):

The game cost 400 Microsoft Points at that time too, so it’s nice to see that the game has gotten better as well as less expensive. While the prospect of further updates is appealing, if you’re at all into any of the card games Classicard supports then this game is already worth of purchase. 240 MSP is a great price for an attractive game with an impressive host of features.

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