CasinoVR Beta Review

A GEARVR NEWS GAME REVIEW

by VRift720


CASINO-VR_Title

      CasinoVR is a multi-player Poker-card-game and chat program that lets you play cards with up to six people per table, with six full tables set all in the same room.  Before you know it, you could be a part of a Tournament with up to 36 people.  This game works on Oculus Rift and GearVR simultaneously with full voice chat too. 

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      The Oculus Rift version has a lot more graphics, with the background full of cool-looking slot machines.  The GearVR version is a little stripped down and threadbare, but both basically function the same way.  The app allows for up to 36 people, in groups of 6, to play Poker against one another in the same room. 

      This is the Texas Hold’em variety, which means you only get 2 unique cards while the House can put down up to 5 more, from which you must make the best five cards you can.  Betting occurs along the way to strategic manipulation.  For now, each Beta player starts with 10,000 free dollars.  You can set how much your buy in is, to set how long the game will go for, and how much you’re willing to lose before starting a new game.  I lost about $1200 by the time my games ended for the night, but at one point I was up by $1800, so it was a really fun set of cards for me.  It does feel that the cards are quite fair, I would get just as many good hands as poor ones, and I made my own mistakes.  Mostly I just enjoyed chatting with the guy I played against about all the VR games we like and such.

     On the SideLoadVR site, this game is described as such:

“See your avatar come to life as the game mirrors your real life head movements in VR, hear people smack talk as they try to bluff each other to win the game.”

FEATURES:

  • A fully functional poker game.
  • Multiplayer social experience.
  • A beautiful large casino featuring six Texas Hold’em poker tables.
  • Spatial voice chat.
  • Cross compatible with Oculus Rift, invite your friends to play with you even if they only have the Rift.
  • Head and body movement mirroring with IK.
  • Compatible with the Gear VR touchpad only.

     Praise the Heavens, an actual honest-to-goodness multiplayer game finally opened up on GearVR!  Even if it is in Beta, it’s playable and it’s really fun. Yesterday I found several people online ready to play, and had myself about an hour of gaming and chatting.  There is good 3D-Depth and pretty decent graphics, although the Oculus Rift version is far more detailed and robust.  But mobile is what it is, for now.  I still don’t see why there is no full-bodied avatars, though.  A few full-bodied avatars can’t cost that much CPU, can they?

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      As far as multiplayer apps in general, like vTime, there are plenty on GearVR, and they are indeed great for chatting.  But for a long time, GearVR users have been asking for something more like this, a social card game with high stakes against random strangers online in VR.  And Casino VR  (made by a San-Fransisco company with no name currently, having only one contact known as Hamza) is exactly what we’ve been asking for. 

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      Here is a game of risk for adults, a way to not only play games in VR, but to chat too.  Something like this puts those chat programs out there at risk for the time being.  It’s nice to be able to chat, but we mostly feel there is not enough to do in the chat programs after the 10th time you’ve gone there.  We’ve been needing something to draw us back in, like a game of chance, a game of risk, something to spice up the chat with.  So here we are … and to be able to chat while playing cards, this is something wonderful.

       For now, the game is open Beta, and you can find it on SideLoadVR.  When using SideLoadVR, you must make sure you are logged in to your original Oculus account before opening SideLoadVR, because it makes a custom game for you based on your Oculus ID and phone ID using your phone’s Oculus oSig binary.  If you are, for example, logged into your wife’s account on your phone, SideLoadVR won’t understand what’s going on and won’t work anymore.  This is essential to realize: SideLoadVR works off your original Oculus account for that phone.

ISSUES SO FAR:

      I have several complaints so far (it is in Beta, so this is quite understandable):

  1.  The first has to do with the Home button and how the game uses it.  When you press the Home button, you automatically leave the game you’re in.  Not good!  I was trying to open the normal Settings window to “Re-Orient” myself with the table more, but I ended up ejecting myself from the game!  Ouch!  That’s way too harsh and ungainly for a GearVR app, because we all use the Home button to open the Settings Screen to adjust our brightness, see the time, re-orient ourselves, etc…  but to get ejected from your game over that is just plain wrong.  You forfeit the money you left on the table!  I hope this the first thing the Devs fix.  So if you join a game, be warned for now until this issue is resolved, don’t hit the Home button for any reason!

  2. When you get to the last hand, the game won’t let you see your cards anymore.  I was told the rules are we should always be able to look at our cards, so this isn’t a game rule, this is a bug.  On the last round, the game stops letting you look at your cards.  If you are nervous and forget your hand, too bad pal.  You have to either fold or go forward.  This flaw has cost me a pretty penny already.  Of course, one could argue I’ve had plenty of time to stare at my cards.  But I have a strange memory, I can remember all of the cards I’ve played for the past 6 minutes, and I don’t know which ones are which.  In my mind, I see the last 12 pairs of cards I played, so I can’t remember which ones are the ones I’m currently holding.  I need to be able to remind myself which two I currently possess.  I guess I could take to writing them in a notepad outside of the game to be sure… but why not just fix the game itself so it makes sense?

  3. The audio get scrambled from time to time and you can’t understand what anyone is saying.  Still needs some work.


  4. The way in which we turn on/off the microphone is deeply flawed.  It is too basic, so almost every time we touch the touchpad to lock in a bet or accept a “check” it turns off our microphone.  And since we’re busy thinking, we don’t see that it’s gone off, and all of our words from that point on are lost.  Why not just have a phone sitting on the table that acts as the voice on/off feature?  We look at it and click to enable/disable the voice function.  That way, we only turn it off when we intend to, since we wouldn’t be looking at the phone for any other reason that for that function.  As it is now, every touch of the touch-pad can cause the mic to shut off.

  5. There is no Look-Gaze-to-Accept feature.  The game should not require a touch-click to continue forward unless you’re in a hurry and want to take control.  The best solution would to Look at the Icon you want to select and if you are looking a timer will rise up and it selects automatically.  Then we could play without holding our hand at our temple the whole time.  The option to touch with finger should remain there, but just add a Look-Gaze style of acceptance like in vTime, how it’s Menu system works.

  6. There’s currently no way to name our Avatar with our own custom name.  It defaults to your phone’s ID as your name, which I really don’t like.  I don’t want anyone knowing my phone’s ID.

  7. There’s no way to save your new-found friends in some type of a “Friends” List.

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FINAL THOUGHTS:

      CasinoVR is a stylish, moody game of VR Poker with all the right elements in place for a winning combination.  With a bit more work, this app will definitely get there. For now, it’s already quite fun, despite its flaws.  I played the game for 30 minutes before my S6 overheated, so I like that I can turn off the microphone while blowing a fan on my phone to get it cooled back down.  I do hope they will add full-bodies avatars back in for the S7 version at least.  The graphics and gameplay elements are quite good despite being down-scaled from the Oculus Rift version.  There’s even some complimentary “elevator” music to listen to in the background … in the style of a real Casino.

      So … if you’re interested in a round of cards where you don’t have to worry about your “Poker Face”, and you don’t mind getting whooped … then come and find me.  Let’s see what you got, pal.

Sincerely … VRift720    : )


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