|System: X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Carbonated Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 13, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The final game is Spinnerbox, essentially a glorified version of slots. You bet, symbols spin, and if you match a pair of symbols, you get a payout. However, the inclusion of symbols instead of numbers is strange. If numbers were used, you could quickly tell when you had a matching pair and the payout. For example, a pair of twos would have a payout of four; simple, right? But, since the game uses strange symbols, you constantly have to bring up a menu to figure out payouts. The first time you see two houses you would never guess it equals a payout of twenty. Numbers must have been disregarded in favor of symbols for graphical variety, but it ends up being counterintuitive.
All three games can be played in single play or tournament mode. Single play allows you to build points and increase your gambling level, unlocking games with bigger payoffs. Tournament mode throws you into games against computer-controlled opponents, but most of them are too difficult and time consuming. For example, a Spinnerbox tournament requires 100 spins before it's over, and since most of it is based on simply betting and spinning (hitting the A button), it's really just a luck affair and not much fun to play. Trying to defeat the computer in the other games is also hard. There always seems to be one A.I. opponent who never loses a hand, meaning you have to play flawlessly. The tough-as-nails A.I. could be offset by Xbox LIVE play with friends, but Pub Games is missing this vital component. It seems like a strange thing to omit; surely a card game doesn't have issues with lag? Playing any of the games over-and-over again unlocks new "games," but they aren't really new. Instead, they add new rules to the current three, such as increasing the minimum bet or the number of spinners in Spinnerbox.
Presentation isn't Pub Games' strong suit. The music selection is a looping track that seems like it was taken from the first Fable game, and the only sound effects you'll hear are the roll of the die, cards shuffling, and the occasional cheer of a crowd after a good game. The graphics don't fare much better. There are no 3D models of the gamblers, instead you just see a name next to a stack of chips.
Pub Games is really a half-game aimed at those that want to get a jump start on building their Fable II loot. Those looking for a good standalone title are out of luck - far from scoring a jackpot, Pub Games is a complete bust.
CCC Freelance Writer