Cards 21 is a card game that has slot-machine elements. It features a deck of cards placed below four vertical columns that display flashing arrows. Above each column is a counter box that adds up the value of any cards dragged to a column. The player must achieve 21 points or higher to clear a column of cards. Their goal is to earn as many points next to the golden star as possible.
The player reaches 21 points by stacking cards that equal that amount. The three main court cards (J, Q and K) equal 10 points each. The Ace equals both one and 11 points. All other cards equal their face number value. As a result, for example, the player can stack an A with two or more cards that equal 20 points (1+20) or an A with a J (11+10).
Certain combinations of cards bring the player rewards. They earn points and a wild card that they can use in place of any card if they stack three 7 cards. They can also use the wild card standalone to reach 21 points with just one card. Other ways to achieve these results include combining a 3 card with three 6 cards and an Ace of Spades with a Jack of Spades.
Cards 21 penalizes the player if they stack too many cards or the total points bypass 21. That said, special combination exceptions exist. Lastly, every time the player fails, they lose one of the three yellow life hearts at the top of the screen.