Super Blackjack Battle 2 Turbo Edition ($2.99) by Headup Games GmbH & Co KG is what you get when you combine the classic card game Blackjack with Street Fighter. If you like both fighters and card games, then this game is a perfect match-up.
When I was growing up, I remember spending much of my time playing solitaire on the computer, and I know that it was the first card game that I’ve played. Since then, I’ve expanded into other forms of solitaire games, such as Spider Solitaire, but they were never enough for me. I learned to play other classic card games in person as well, like Blackjack, though I’m not the type of person who goes to Las Vegas to gamble this way. And another thing that was extremely popular as I was growing up was Street Fighter, and while I gave the game a shot whenever I could, I was never great at it and always ended up getting my butt handed to me in the game by more skilled players. Still, I find it fun to play whenever I have the chance to, though it’s far from my favorite fighting game. When I first heard of Super Blackjack Battle 2 Turbo Edition (SBB2TE for short), I was instantly drawn in — it’s a combination of Blackjack (one of my favorite classic card games) and Street Fighter — how can anyone say no? Needless to say, this is one interesting mashup and it does not disappoint.
Visually, SBB2TE is a fantastic homage to the classic 16-bit Street Fighter 2 because it features the same retro pixel art style, and the tagline is “The Card Warriors,” which references SF2’s “The World Warrior” name. Despite the pixelated graphics, SBB2TE has highly detailed environments that range from private blackjack tables to ritzy casinos, and each of the 12 characters that you can play as have their own unique appearance and personalities that make them stand out from each other. Even the cards and betting text are pixelated, though easy to read, and after each round, the characters always have a slogan (one of several) they like to share that is similar to what you’d find in Street Fighter games. Colors in SBB2TE are bold and vibrant, which is fitting considering the gambling nature of the game (casinos are always flashy). Animations are smooth and fluid, and there’s an upbeat and quirky soundtrack to go along with each location, which is nice. The sound effects also add a nice finishing touch to the game.
There are four ways to play SBB2TE: Single Player Combat or Simply Blackjack, Unranked Versus, and World Championship. The real meat of the game lies in the Combat mode, because it features the 12 characters all competing against each other to become the greatest Blackjack player of all time. It is also where the story of the game is, as players are invited by the owner of the largest casino in Vegas for a game of cards. However, the real reason for the tournament is so that the owner can defeat the competing clan’s family. There’s 10 different storylines to uncover as well, with all of them having their own distinctive endings and character dialogues. SBB2TE features characters that come from all over the globe, so there is some decent diversity in the game: Kamiko from Japan, an undercover FBI agent named Mark, Danny from China, Gregor a South African warlord, and more. In Combat, you travel the world to face off against your opponents, and go through 10 rounds of Blackjack — whoever wins the most rounds, or doesn’t run out of money first, wins.
If you aren’t in the mood for Combat, the Simply Blackjack mode lets you choose your favorite character and location, and just play an infinite amount of rounds against the dealer. If you are out of money, you’ll get an opportunity to spin a wheel and possibly get some more cash to bet. This can continue for as long as you want, so think of it as the game’s zen mode.
For those who prefer to gamble against other real life players, there is the Online Unranked Versus and World Championship modes. Unranked is more of a PvP for fun, whereas the World Championship is ranked and you must viciously make your way to the top of the leaderboards. These online matches can have up to four players at once, and you’re able to freely drop in or out of a game at your leisure. However, getting into a match is dependent on how many openings there are at the moment, and so far I haven’t had much luck joining a room. On the plus side, SBB2TE has cross platform support with Android for the multiplayer matches, so you can play together with your Android buddies as well.
So how does the game work? Regardless of the mode you choose to play, it’s rather simple in terms of what you need to do. For those who are unfamiliar with Blackjack, the goal is to get a total number of 21 with the cards you’re dealt, or at least as close to 21 as possible without going over. If no one in the round gets a “Blackjack,” then the person who’s closest wins. The first thing you do on each round is place your bets — you start out with $1000, and the default bet is $50. To increase it, just tap on the number of chips you want to throw into the betting pool, or start over by tapping on the “X” button. To finalize your bet, tap on the checkmark. Then you are dealt cards by the dealer. From here, you can choose to stand with what you have or get another hit and see if you can get closer to 21, but if you go over then you lost that round. Once all players are done with their hand, the player who has Blackjack or is the closest will win the betting pool.
Occasionally, you will get the chance to do a double, split, or insurance. Double lets you double your bet but you only get one additional card. If you are initially dealt a pair of identically ranked initial cards (a pair), you can split it into new separate hands and get a second card for each. Insurance is a side bet that the dealer has blackjack and is treated independently of the main wager.
Even if you’ve never played Blackjack before, I think SBB2TE is pretty newbie friendly. The controls are simple as they only utilize basic taps on buttons, but the gameplay is interesting and fun, especially when you’re going against another NPC or person. The graphics are stunning, the music and sound is amazing, and there is a lot of replay value to be found here. It’s also great for quick play sessions, or if you prefer to spend an hour or two just playing Blackjack — it’s all up to you. Plus, there are two additional characters that can be unlocked after you meet certain criteria, so there’s also a reason to keep playing aside from getting your Blackjack fix. I just wish that the online matchmaking process was a bit faster.
I highly recommend giving SBB2TE a try if you’re into classic card games, Street Fighter, or just like hybrid games. Super Blackjack Battle 2 Turbo Edition is available on the App Store as a universal download on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV for $2.99. There are no in-app purchases.