From the moment I saw this game was coming to Nintendo Switch, I knew I wanted to write about it. I’ve always had an appreciation for Blackjack, and I am a fan of the Street Fighter series. Putting them both together was the kind of concept that’s so delightfully absurd I can’t help but want to try it! It’s just too bad my enthusiasm had to wane when I finally did play through Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo: The Card Warriors.
The game focuses on a group of people that compete to become the greatest Blackjack player of all time. They have all been invited to a worldwide tournament hosted by the owner of the largest casino in Las Vegas. This guy is also the Godfather of the local most influential crime family, for which he uses the card tournament as a charade to hide his master plan. Basically, he’s this game’s version of M. Bison.
It’s no secret what Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo is parodying. This game is structurally and thematically just like Street Fighter II, or Super Street Fighter II Turbo: HD Remix if you prefer. Except, of course, we have a bunch of random Blackjack players instead of a group of fearsome warriors. They even mimic Street Fighter II’s intro but with these characters instead, and it got a good laugh out of me. Same thing goes to the other scenes they imitate, like the after-match quotes one character would say to the other. The details that goes into the stage backgrounds and character designs are as legitimately nice to look at as they are in SSF2T: HDR, too.
The music also closely follows the guidelines of Street Fighter II‘s compositions. The menu theme is punchy and gets you ready for the action to come, and each player’s stage theme has a unique, catchy style. I like the sound design as a whole, really. Everything feels arcade-like and powerful. The announcer also adds to the energy of the “fights” that go on in each of the casinos.
Super Blackjack Battle II Turbo is Blackjack with a slight twist. While you only directly compete against the dealer, your goal is to have more money than your opponent by the end of the match. Each match lasts ten rounds, and each round is equally important for both of your successes. Although Blackjack is a gambling game, the way it’s presented here allows for your judgement to play a big role in your decision making. And there’s a lot to think about. For example: Do you put in a lot of money for a greater outcome to tower over the AI, or do you play it safe so you don’t risk a lot on the table and hope he or she loses instead?
Then as I was looking up some information about the game, I came across a couple of claims regarding AI exploits. I played through the game again, this time only betting 50 (the lowest you can put in) every turn. Because the AI constantly made outrageous bets, they typically offed themselves while I breezed through.
Let me put this into perspective: When I played through the game by actually trying to play, I lost five times. When I played through the game by cheesing my way through, I lost two times. I did better by only betting 50 each time! And those two times were just because the dealer somehow didn’t screw the opponents over when the higher bets were made; only after I rematched against them did they fall exactly as everyone else did. I even handed the game over to my younger brother on the final boss and he cleared it without a problem by, again, only betting 50. After one more playthrough, I beat the entire arcade mode without losing a single time…by still only betting 50.
Super Blackjack Battle II hurts me. I honestly thought this would be great. I really wanted it to be a gem in the Nintendo Switch library. I even did have fun when I thought the game was giving me actual CPU opponents to work off of. Instead, I feel played for a fool by realizing the AI isn’t actually challenging me. It’s just causing itself to go bankrupt, only rarely prevented by the dealer from doing so.
There isn’t much else besides the arcade mode, either. You have traditional Blackjack and local multiplayer rounds. That’s it. While I do imagine it being fun with other people, that doesn’t change the fact that you’d have paid $8 for what’s just Blackjack with a parody theme. It’s a shame such a great presentation went into such a dud of a game. I have never felt so crushed giving a game a bad score.
Review copy provided by Headup Games