BatakOnline is an immensely rewarding online card game by the Turkish developer Adikus. It is a direct port of the classic game Batak (also known as Oh Hell!, Blackout, Nomination Whist, and l’Ascenseur) which means it offers just as much fun and strategy as you’d expect. And at a truly stellar zero-dollar-bill price, you could certainly do worse than give BatakOnline a spin.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the basic rules of Batak, it’s best said that the game is about playing cards of higher denominations than your opponents in order to win tricks. Winning tricks earns you points, and the player with the most points at the end of a round earns the right to have their point total added to their global score—which is a sort of running tally of each player’s wins and losses. To complicate matters, each player must bet on how many tricks they will take. Winning more than two tricks over your bid will slash your point total. Too few, and you’re equally as unlucky.
All this might sound complicated, but if you have ever played Rook, Spades, or Hearts, you’ll feel right at home. And if you haven’t, the developers offer an expansive tutorial for your review (with a few interesting Turkish-to-English translations, I might add).
Once a player has the rules down, they could very easily spend whole wads of time winning and losing tricks. The game is very addictive, and offers an incredible breadth of strategy that isn’t necessarily apparent at first. There is a certain art to “flushing out” higher cards to win a following trick, or betting nil and playing to lose, that takes many tries to master. More often than not, I found myself tapping the play again button simply to work on my strategy. Combined with the two offered game modes (Simple and Auction) and a never-ending stream of online games, I’d say BatakOnline offers one solid gaming experience.
Overall Fun and Value:
It’s hard to find a better value than a free one, and that certainly applies to BatakOnline. Not only does the app offer an endless amount of card game fun, but it also ties into the Game Center, offering up achievements for those who live for their Game Center accounts. I was a little put out that no native iPad version exists, as the game’s smooth graphics would look right at home on the larger display. Likewise, BatakOnline does not support Retina Displays without spending $ .99 for the newer paid version: It’s worth noting that AdMob is ever present in the free offering, as well. That being said, free is hard to argue with, and if you’re looking for a quick round or two on the go, Batak Online is a perfect addition to your iDevice’s gaming folder.
BatakOnline iPhone app [ iTunes Link ] requires iOS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
The iPhone app review rating: