I care more about Microsoft’s efforts to bring Xbox 360 games to the Xbox One than I thought I would when the company first announced it, and one of the games the company added today is a big reason for this.
Xbox One backward compatibility is getting support for Street Fighter IV, Luxor 2, and Madballs in … Babo: Invasion today, but the standout addition for me is the 2008 Xbox Live Arcade release Poker Smash. This is a puzzler that has blocks falling from the sky, but unlike the match-3 games it’s most closely related to, it uses poker rules. You score points and eliminate blocks by matching up full houses, flushes, and straights instead of just three jewels of or candies of the same kind. It’s a clever twist on familiar gameplay, and one that makes for excellent leaderboard chasing with friends.
While I hope that Poker Smash’s revival on Xbox One will lead to more people playing it so I have some new scores to compete against, it’s nice to have an easy way to play the game on a modern console. Developer Void Star Creations eventually brought the game to iOS devices in July 2010, and it planned to eventually launch it on PC — but that never happened. You can’t get the game on Steam or the Windows Store. And the iOS version never had the player base to make you feel like you were competing against a lot of your other friends.
That has left the Xbox 360 as the best way to continue playing Poker Smash until today. Now, I can boot it up on my Xbox One whenever I want, and backward compatibility is once again an incredible feature for Microsoft’s console.