Poker Night at the Inventory

January 12, 2011

Poker Night at the Inventory is nothing other than what it pretends to be: Texas Hold ‘Em poker against four A.I. characters. If you’ve got a rudimentary understanding of poker you won’t find the game too challenging, even on hard mode. However, if you don’t understand some theories or basic principles, you may feel the A.I. cheats.

While I was playing my opponents got some hands that felt unfair, but in the long run I got just as many hands that felt likewise, such as when I won an all-in hand from a three-of-a-kind that beat a two pair formed with the river’s highest cards.

On the subject of poker there isn’t anything else to say, as it is a simple card game with no multiplayer options. But that of course isn’t the reason you’d buy Poker Night at the Inventory. You’d buy it for the content: watching the Heavy from Team Fortress 2, Max from the Sam and Max series, Strong Bad from Homestar Runner and Tycho from Penny Arcade trade barbs and banter with you and with each other.

On the plus side, your opponents are well-presented. Every sight and sound make for accurate and faithful representations and not once did I ever think the characters weren’t true to form. But they still generally aren’t that funny, and you will get your first repeated comment within your first hour. At that point, it becomes a grind to hear everything that gets said. By two hours you’ve heard plenty of repetition. Many of the jokes get ruined by incomplementary delivery or the flat way they end. 

It isn’t entirely without worth. Particularly funny are when Tycho asks Max whether he hooked up with a special someone, or when Strong Bad asks the Heavy if he knows of any hot spies. Strong Bad’s one-liner insults are often dead-on in delivery (“Those are your cards? I feel bad for your mother”), and the Heavy is sincere as always. Tycho is simply creepy, crude, condescending, and nerdy, and even fans of Penny Arcade might find him a bore (I am a fan, and I did). Max is his usual self but doesn’t mix well, mostly talking to himself. I personally find his world and his partner Sam a better companion for him.  

It’s five bucks when it’s not on sale and it’ll easily pass a few hours, but it’s the kind of game you’d play when you don’t want to try hard in order to see content or get to the next thing. Personally, I play games to either further a plot or to beat a challenge, and if that’s why you play this game might not be it for you. As for the content, it’s simply a slideshow of clips, not that it pretended to be otherwise. The humor is a bit juvenile and crude, and if you are into insults and trash-talking you might give this one a whirl. 

Pros: faithful adaptation of characters, good mix of personalities, well-presented scenery

Cons: Juvenile humor and some flat deliveries and punchlines, repetition starts early


Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.