This review we venture into an area I don’t get to test that often: Cards & Casino. Today’s game is “Ban Luck 3D – Chinese Blackjack” from developer UBJ3D. Now I’ve never played Chinese blackjack before, so I looked up some of the rules. As with regular blackjack, you aim to get 21 points. King, Queen and Jack are all 10 points, whereas the ace can be 1, 10 or 11 points (depending on whether you have 2, 3 or 4 cards in your hand). Combinations to look out for and that will make you win a round are: ban-ban (ace + ace), ban-luck (Ace + King/Queen/Jack), 15 points, pairs and 7-7-7. Okay, that was Ban Luck in short, now let’s see how many points it’ll be awarded.
The 3D graphics of Ban Luck are really nice and the additional graphics, especially the table that the game is played on, are gorgeous. Of course, what can be 3D about a card game? Well, the stack of cards for example and playing the actual cards. The graphics look really good and very true to life, the only downside that I can come up with is that, when the cards are put on the table, the edges of the cards are not straight. Before playing you can bet, there are six different colored chips, worth between 1 and 1000. These graphics as well look really good. There could be a bit more variation to the graphics, a new background for example, but as is, the graphics of this card game are really well designed.
Sounds: Eastern sounds
Close your eyes and imagine what Chinese music sounds like, chances are that what you envision is what Ban Luck plays. The music is really nice and fits well with the theme of the game, it’s fun and upbeat without being too present. What I do notice is that the menu sounds are a lot louder than the in-level music, it could be as not to be too intrusive on the gaming experience (but you can alter the volume in the settings). During the game a woman’s voice tells you the score of your cards and if you’ve won or lost, this is a nice touch, although the voice sounds a bit robot-like.
Everything combined, the sounds of this blackjack game come with a minor flaw and that means that I can grant 4 points to sounds.
Controls: Keep the cards coming
The controls of Ban Luck are extremely easy: tapping the screen is all you need to do. You tap to start a game, tap to get cards, tap on the deck to get an extra card or tap on your cards to indicate that your turn is over. Easy does it, there’s not much you can do, but that what you have to do works without a glitch and makes the overall gaming experience a pleasant one. Therefore, full points.
The further you get in the game, the higher the worth of your chips and the more chips you can bet. There are 52 achievements to unlock, such as: “win 3 hands in a row”, “Win 100 times with Dragon”, and “Do not bust 25 hands in a row”. Some of the achievements take endless playing to collect and therefore this game will surely keep you busy.
The game runs on True RNG, true random number generation, that runs on background noise (I’m not sure how it works, but I take their word that it is truly impartial), so it may take forever to finish a level, because each player gets a certain amount of coins (10 for example) and every time you win, that player loses a coin, but when you lose it gains one, meaning that it can take hours to beat a player! For variation it would actually be nice, if the generation wasn’t that impartial, it would be nice if it would be ‘tournament-style’, where you can pick a level of difficulty, or ease into the game by playing against easier players first, before you can become a big shot Ban Luck player. Now it’s the same trick all the time.
The music is great, the 3D graphics too, the scope is huge and the controls are wonderful, a recipe for a perfect atmosphere, or not? Since the gameplay remains the same throughout the game the atmosphere doesn’t undergo a lot of variation either, I’m also unsure why I keep playing against different players, is it only so that I can win more money quicker? It would be nice if there would be a championship title (or something along that line) after beating all opponents, to have a goal to work towards.
Fun Factor: Quitting is hard
Ban Luck may repeat the same trick, but it’s a good trick, I have a hard time putting the game aside, especially if I feel that I’m close to beating an opponent. I enjoy getting to know the rules of Chinese Blackjack and think that this game is excellent study material. In short, this is a fun Android game that has some nice tricks up its sleeve, for full points it would be nice if there would be more variation between opponents.
Fun Factor: 3/5
Ban Luck is a great card game, it looks nice, sounds great and is easy to use, if you like Cards & Casino games, then this is right up your street!
Reviewed by Lara van Waas.