Posted by Female Gamers on Jan 11, 2010
Uno – Review

Uno – Review

Post Rating

As a recent proud owner of Microsoft’s Xbox 360, I’ve moved all my other videogame consoles to one side, and game time is now thoroughly absorbed by two titles—one in particularly and quite unexpectedly. The main reason for my purchase of the next-gen console was, besides recommendation from friends, Rockstar presents Table Tennis game (click here for the review), but what happened after discovering the Xbox Live Arcade, and here I’m referring directly to a game called UNO?

As an Xbox 360 newb, I started to check its possibilities and, within no time, I was downloading the UNO demo from Xbox Live. Close friends had already told me that it was an excellent card game that offered great multiplayer enjoyment, and was absolutely worth checking out. So, seeing as a free demo was available, I figured I’d give it a chance?

Originally UNO is based on a classic party card game—but I’d never heard of it before. As no difficult rules are involved it’s a suitable game for both young and old(er) gamers who would like to play a simple and very enjoyable game of cards.

Every player starts with a deck of seven cards and the main goal is to get rid of all of them before anyone else has the opportunity. When you’re playing the second last card it’s very important to call “UNO!” by pressing the ‘X’ button, otherwise another player will challenge it and you’ll get two extra cards. The challenging player has to be fast because when the next player plays his/her card it’s too late for a challenge. To avoid any possible challenges it is important to yell “UNO!” while holding the last card in your hand / playing the second last card. When you play the final card, you’re the winner of that round and all players’ cards will be summed up and addressed to you on the player’s overview. When someone reaches 250 points the game is over and the final winner is official.

Winning, winning, winning! Sorry, I’m just a fanatic card player. Of course there are lots of other rules applicable to UNO, and the above paragraph doesn’t really explain how the game needs to be played. Each player has a deck of seven cards and one card is lying in the middle. Basically there are four different coloured cards (blue, green, yellow, and red) numbered from zero to nine. The player, at their turn, can only lay a card on the table when it has the same colour or number as the card lying in the middle (or later, on top of the pile). For example, if a green number five card is on the table, you can play either another green card or another coloured number five. Other types of cards are also included in the game to change the pile’s colour, to change the players’ turns direction, to let the next player skip a turn or that he/she needs to take two, four, or even six additional cards, as well as also determine the pile’s colour. These types of cards make the game more interesting and exciting.

To increase the excitement even more there’s the opportunity to make certain challenges. As already explained, someone who forgets to call “UNO!” can be challenged by any other player by using the ‘Y’ button. The player who forgot to claim the UNO gets two additional cards. One of the trickiest cards in the game is the one comparable to a joker, perhaps even better. This card can be played any time and the next player needs to decide whether you are bluffing or not—because you may have played a right coloured or numbered card. If a player challenges but you weren’t bluffing, then the reward is that the challenging player must draw six additional cards. But if you were bluffing, you’ll receive those six cards! Of course, there’s also the possibility to accept the card, avoid a challenge, and therefore receive four additional cards instead of getting six.

If you don’t like the automatically applied rules, then you’re free to customize a game; apply your own House Rules; create a two-against-two player battle, or install a rule that if a player cannot play a card on the table that it’s ‘Game Over’ while the other players can keep on competing. Also, tricks with the extra cards are possible. For example, if you play a ‘draw two additional cards’ and the next player plays the same type of card, the next player will have to draw four cards. In a ‘normal’ game you’ll win after reaching the 250-point limit, but this can also be changed. House Rules cannot be changed while playing a multiplayer ranked game, but they can be used in each single player or a non-ranked multiplayer game. If you download the UNO anniversary edition, another rule comes into play: whenever the special ‘35’ card is on the pile, the next card must be either a number three or five card. If the player at turn cannot comply, he/she has to draw a card and perhaps skip a turn.

UNO is a very colourful game and it’s presented in a perfect way. The player at turn has a white blinking border around their avatar, and possible playing cards are highlighted to make it easier and faster to pick a card and to keep the game moving at a decent speed. The white arrows around the pile (in the middle of the screen) indicate in which order players are to take their turns. Yellow, blue, red, and green cards are ‘flying’ above the table with a smooth light blue background. Whenever it’s time to call “UNO!” it’s visualised on screen. Also, the buttons with available action functions are also visible on screen—‘X’ to call “UNO!”, ‘Y’ to challenge, ‘A’ to put a card on the table, and ‘B’ to draw a card. If you’ve chosen to play the anniversary edition then you’ll find yourself in a party-styled game with a golden background and party poppers flying around whenever a ‘35’ card is played. Very cheerful theme.

The music in the normal game is very relaxing and comforting. A Spanish guitarist is playing easy tunes and sometimes it’s hard not to be hypnotized by the music—especially while playing UNO late at night, or when you’re a bit tired and talk-friendly players aren’t around. If you’ve selected the anniversary game, the party is going to start with some Samba music. If you cannot stand the original music, you can turn down the in-game music and sound. However, it’s preferable—via the Xbox 360’s internal hard drive—for you to use and listen to your own music. Although I recommend keeping the sound volume on to hear the UNO tone to keep you alert (while chatting with other gamers in multiplayer game mode or while being hypnotized by the music).

UNO is a very cool, simple, and extremely addictive videogame. Download the demo now via Xbox Live Marketplace, and make sure you’ve got a spare 400 Microsoft Points on hand as you’re going to need them to download the full game, the extra anniversary edition, and for playing against real opponents on Xbox Live. The ratio between female and male gamers is quite equal, although it seems that the male gamers I met do talk more than the girls. And, who knows, maybe in the near future the Xbox Live Vision Camera can also be used to see the (bluffing?) faces of opponents. The camera option is already included in the menu, now we only have to wait until the camera is released. In the meantime, I do hope to meet you all in the near future for an encouraging and fun game of “UNO!”

Review by Wencke
Thumb Bandits European Correspondent & manager of GGU.

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