Tuesday, March 26, 2013

PAX East 2013: Lords of New York

Poker. At times, it's a fun game when you're winning it all and other times, it's the worst that can be as you lose it all. What if in between the poker matches there was a story of betrayal, backstabbing, redemption and a chance for a new life, all unfolding before you could you win the hands that save your life? If you are looking for a new take on an old world game, Lords of New York will be one game to look forward to next year.

Lords of New York is being developed by Lunchtime Studios, their first foray into a big time iOS, MAC and PC game that brings out a great story with some good, balanced poker gameplay, that all levels of poker players can pick up and enjoy.

The game is set in the 1920s with Prohibition in its infancy. You play as a man working for the mob who gets put into a less than ideal situation. Working for the mob you are the guy who was a big shot who gets knocked down a few pegs and on top of that, you have to be a bag man to get a guy out of prison who isn't exactly likable. This doesn't sit well with you, so a decision is made to take the bribe money for yourself and go double it at the tables to show the boss you are a better guy to bet on then the man it's earmarked for springing out. Needless to say, things don’t work out the way you imagine and now you're on the hook for the bribe and the only way to get yourself out of the mess is to play some poker.

I had the chance to play a bit of this game at PAX East and was impressed with the overall scope and gameplay they have so far. The idea and concept of the game being set in the Prohibition era is great, as poker and the mob make a thrilling story. Whether you're an experienced poker player or a novice, players of all skill levels can pick up the game and play. When playing a game of poker you watch the other players facial features to help you win, know when to fold, bluff or even cheat sometimes. The amount of detail they are putting into the characters is pretty cool and how they flesh out all the players each with their own special skills aid them in beating you too.

You can see your face as well and if you keep bluffing or trying to cheat your face will give you away too. Playing poker is the focus of the game and what you do at the table can affect how and where you can get around in the city. An example would be if you need to get into a certain speakeasy and the bouncer there hates you, losing some money to him might change his disposition towards you. That's the beauty of the game, as poker turns the city around and it's up to you to win it all and save you own skin in the process. From the limited gameplay I didn’t get to see enough of what I wanted, but what I saw has me intrigued into what the final game is going to be.

The poker playing was fun, the story had me hooked from the start and the graphics were looking pretty good. Lunchtime Studios did it in the vein of the old school point and click kind of Monkey Island style game. Still in early stage of development with a recent Kickstarter page set up, this is a game I hope gets the funding they need to get it out to the masses. Check out the screenshots, enjoy the video and go check out their Kickstarter page if interested in helping these fine folks at Lunchtime Studios out.


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