Name: VIP Casino Blackjack
In most cases, realism in games is a good thing. Little touches that make a game more lifelike usually add to a game’s charm and help to draw players deeper into the experience. There are, however, occasions where realism can actually hurt a game’s overall fun factor. While VIP Casino Blackjack is a perfectly serviceable blackjack simulator, it suffers from this condition.
VIP Casino Blackjack is one of the launch titles for Nintendo’s game download service, Wiiware. Allowing up to 4 players to compete at once, it delivers a blackjack experience that’s faithful to its source material. Pretty much everything you’d expect from a blackjack game can be found here, from double downs to splits, and it’s all well-rendered on a nice casino-style table, complete with a professional dealer. This dealer does everything exactly the way she would in the casino. If the dealer is showing an ace or a face card, you’ll see her lift the other card slightly to check for blackjack. Little details like this definitely show a level of care and attention to detail that is admirable, especially for a game that only costs 700 Wii points ($7.00 in actual money.)
The problem is that the realism doesn’t stop there. After each round, you’re forced to watch a 20 second animation of the dealer paying out to the winners and collecting cards and chips from all the players. While it may be nice to see the first few times, 20 seconds between rounds is a long time to wait, and after 10 or 12 rounds, it can be infuriating. An option to skip this animation would have helped keep the game moving along at a nice pace. There’s also a total lack of background music or even crowd chatter in the game. It may sound like a minor complaint, but it’s jarring to see a heated blackjack game in a casino and not hear any background sounds at all. Like you’re playing in a well.
These complaints aside, VIP Casino Blackjack is a decent blackjack game with high quality visuals. I can’t help think that were this a 500 point title instead of 700, or if it had included a couple other card games, I’d be more inclined to recommend a purchase, but for fans of blackjack, it's not a bad option.