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UNO - WiiWare Review

Game Info

WiiWare | Gameloft | 1 Player / 2-4 Players (local multiplayer) / 2-6 Players (online versus) | Out Now | 
(EU) 500 Nintendo Points / (NA) 1,000 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer); Wii Speak
Related Game: UNO DSiWare (Review) 
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5th May 2011; By KnucklesSonic8

When the WiiWare version of UNO released in North America, it was a very bittersweet day. On the one hand, it was great to finally see it release after EU had it months before we did. But for some reason, Nintendo of America decided to price it at 1,000 Points -- double the cost of what they had to pay in EU! This caused a bit of an uproar amongst people who were waiting for it to come out, myself included. However, if the price isn't that big of a deal for you, this is definitely a WiiWare title that you should add to your collection. 

    If you've never played the popular card game before, here's how it works. Each player starts off with a "hand full" of cards and must try to be the first to get rid of them all. To play a card, it must match with the one in the center pile, either by colour, number or type. There are additional card types to keep in mind, such as Reverse's which will change the turn order, and Wild Card's which allow you to select a colour of your choice. It's not very complicated and even if you've never played before, it's easier to understand once you start getting into it. 

    Gameloft has done a great job at using the winning formula of the original game to their advantage. Calling out UNO involves clicking on a large red button that appears on-screen when you have only two cards remaining. But rather than allowing players to call it out before they play, it would've been more challenging had players been forced to do so as they were placing down their cards. Nevertheless, whenever a player plays a card without calling UNO, you have a little more than a split-second to Challenge your opponent by pressing the B Button. If you're fast enough, they'll have to draw cards and be forced to give into your stall tactic.

A bunch of features have been included to enhance the experience and create tension amongst participants. Just like in the DSiWare version, this release contains different rulesets that allow for a different take on the classic gameplay. Jump-In and 7-0 rulings result in some pretty wild matches where you'll be totally thrown off guard by all the surprises and strategies that people have cooking up behind the scenes. Especially when you play with a group of 6 people, things get really crazy.

    You have a variety of options to choose from on the Main Menu. You can participate in a Quick Play session, or engage in 15 matches against the computers in Tournament Mode. Plowing through this mode will gradually unlock new card deck designs as well as backgrounds. Unfortunately, because of the amount of trouble you need to go through to clear the mode, it's unlikely you'll want to go through it a second time. You also have the option of playing a local game amongst friends but the execution here is rather lame. It shouldn't be much of a surprise to learn that players in the same room will see what cards you have on-screen, meaning there's no privacy or concealment involved at all. Sure you could argue that this makes things even more challenging in having to strategize in a different way, but I still say it's a glaring problem.

    The real draw of this entire package is arguably the online multiplayer, and I'm pleased to say that it not only works really well but it's a lot of fun too! You can set up a match against friends, create your own customized match, or search for an existing game. When pitting your skills online, you'll engage in multiple games until someone in the group reaches a pre-determined score. Newcomers can drop in and join the lobby at any time, taking the place of a CPU. In addition to well-executed online gameplay, UNO also includes support for the Wii Speak peripheral. If you head into the Options menu before going online, you can enable Mic Chat and even activate external Headphones if you have some hooked up. And for those that don't have the device or choose not to use it, there's a bubble underneath your Mii that you can bring up to display a bunch of messages you can send for text communication. It's always great to see support for this device, and especially for a WiiWare game, it's even more welcome. 

I was pretty impressed with the presentation of this release. The interface is great and the slightly-active backgrounds are nice to look at. The music is almost identical to what was seen in the DSiWare release, except it sounds better and a tad more livelier. There are some nice flashy effects that occur during gameplay in addition to some gestures and expressions with the Mii characters, which was also nice to see.

    Even with the odd pricing strategy, UNO WiiWare is still a great online title to add to your library. Friends from abroad will definitely want to give this a go if only for the online play and voice chat support. Even when playing on your own against random opponents, there's hardly ever a dull moment. Overall, Gameloft has done a really good job with this so if you're a fan of the card game, don't let the high price tag stop you from experiencing what this game has to offer.

25/30 - Very Good

Gameplay 8/10 - Good adaptation of the card game, implements classic and custom rulesets very well, "UNO" calls could have been integrated better
Presentation 8/10 - Great interface, lively backgrounds and music, flashy effects, Mii characters have been nicely animated
Enjoyment 4/5 - Lots of fun to play with a group online, 'Jump-In' and '7-0' rules add more suspense, going through the standard Tournament is tedious
Extra Content 5/5 - Local multiplayer isn't strong, great online component, unlockable bonuses, additional options for customization, Wii Speak support

Equivalent to a score of 83% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by KnucklesSonic8
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