Hands-on Preview / Texas Cheat ‘Em

Card games go together with me like lamb and tuna fish. Besides Uno, which I hold a black belt in, I can’t get into them and when someone invites me to a Poker night, I usually tell them I’m performing at the local drag club. It’s because of this I was interested in checking out Texas Cheat ‘Em from Wideload Shorts and D3 Publisher to see if it could warm my cold, broken heart.

In a nutshell, the game is Texas Hold ‘Em with cheating. Lots and lots of cheating. You’re not so much trying to play the cards as you are trying to cheat the living shit out of your tablemates to victory. To achieve this level of greatness, you have 15 different cheats at your disposal ranging from a simple bluff or card swap, to X-Ray glasses that allow you to see other peoples’ cards and straight-up chip theft.

Rocking these cheats comes at a price, however, as each one costs a certain number of points to use, anywhere from 5 to 20. Players only start with 15 points and obtain more as the match goes on, so being a total dick from the get-go and not exercising some form of strategy will just leave you without cheater pants. If you do decide to attempt a cheat, a mini-game such as rock, paper, scissors or a slot machine will pop up that you need to win if you hope to not play fair.

While not playing fair is the name of the game, the basic rules of Texas Hold ‘Em still apply and since everyone isn’t Kenny Rogers, there’s a helpful tool at your disposal, which I’ve dubbed the Retardo-Cardometerâ„¢. This tool shows you card hands ranked from lowest to highest and where you currently fall in the spectrum. I imagine it’s also useful should you play whilst drunk.

While the cheating and Retardo-Cardometerâ„¢ are all well and good, I honestly didn’t find the game much fun. Maybe it’s my predisposition to not enjoy card games of this kind, but even with that pushed to the background in favor of cheats and mini-games, I wasn’t feeling very stirred. The aim of the game is to pull in and entice those that aren’t really fans of Texas Hold ‘Em, but I think in the end, they may be the ones it actualy appeals to.

Texas Cheat ‘Em is due out this Spring for XBLA, PSN and PC, but no price has been announced.