With the abundance of solitaire games in the casual games market, one might wonder why game developers are more reluctant to reimagine other types of card games. Zynga, the developer behind FarmVille and the upcoming Harry Potter-licensed game, takes on this challenge and introduces Bluff Plus. This is a fully interactive and highly creative card game for mobile based on the traditional game of “Bluff” or “B.S.”
The basis of Bluff Plus is fairly simple. You are matched with another online player and take turns playing cards, the first one to empty their hand wins. However, what makes this game such a unique experience is the “bluff” gameplay. On your turn, you get the option to either play your cards as they are to match your opponent’s card number or to “bluff” and fake your card numbers in order to empty your hands faster. The trick is to “bluff” and not get called out by your opponent. If you get called out as a liar, then all the cards that were previously played in that set of turns will become yours.
This might sound convoluted, but once you get your hands on the game, it really is not. There is definitely randomness to the game, in that you can never truly know when to call your opponent bluff or how to exactly lie your way through the game. But by playing several times, you can get a sense of how to cover up your bluffs and win. Surprisingly, this card format translates extremely well into Bluff Plus. The game is entertaining, exciting, and certainly addicting. As the game does get a little repetitive after multiple rounds, this is mostly perfect for short sessions rather than extended ones.
Zynda does try to add some variety to the game, to more or less success, with an island-building element. Each round of the card game rewards you with coins, which can be used to decorate and customize your island. This is far from a groundbreaking feature as variations of this are very common in mobile free-to-play games. What’s more interesting is the raid feature. With each successful bluff you carry out in the game, you are rewarded with special tools such as shovels, rainbows, and skulls. These tools are used to raid or attack a random player’s island and earn more coins. You can also use skulls to take revenge on your island’s previous attackers. While this is a cool concept, it does get dull after some time.
Bluff Plus’ colorful cartoon graphics are appropriate for the playful nature of the game and the lively music further enhances that. Many will be thrilled to know that Bluff Plus is an absolutely free game, there are no in-game currencies to purchase or special features to unlock – although advertisements are scattered throughout the game. The game is limited in features right now, so it would be nice to see some imaginative additions in future updates, even if that means the introduction of in-app purchases.