Released onto Xbox Live Arcade in 2006, Carbonated Games UNO quickly became one of the most popular Arcade titles around at that time on the Xbox 360. An addictive blend of card game meets the who’s who of random players online, UNO offered so much, allowing friends and complete strangers the opportunity to face off against one another with both voice and video chat readily available; as if forcing someone to take four cards to add to their overwhelming collection of cards wasn’t enough, you could actively watch the misery wash upon that unfortunate poor souls face as it happened in real-time.
UNO: PlayStation 4, Xbox One [Reviewed], PC
Developer: Ubisoft Chengdu
Release Date: 16 August 2016
Price: £7.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
Recently announced by publisher Ubisoft, Ubisoft Chengdu has now reintroduced the competitive card game onto the current generation of consoles and PC, promising voice and video chat for those wishing to relive the risky days of not knowing what body part the next person would flash, sadly though, once in game it became apparent that the voice and video chat was only available for people on your friend list, taking away one of the major draws of the last game but don’t worry guys, all is not lost, you can bathe in nostalgia by changing your avatar and gamerpic to a female one and sitting back while your inbox fills with lovely messages from fellow UNO players.
What it takes away in unfamiliar nakedness it gives back with pure addictive fun, UNO being an already entertaining card game, players familiar with the rules will find themselves getting back into the gameplay with relative ease, including the mild dread that comes with gleefully plying the player next to you with loads of cards only for them to reverse the order, leaving you to ponder your fate. Let’s be honest, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching someone challenge your +4 only to lose and gain an extra six cards, while they were sitting with one left. For players, unfamiliar with the rules, the game offers a helpful tutorial which will fill you in with the basics pretty quickly. The objective of the game is to be the first person to get rid of all your cards, hoping that your opponents don’t block you or give you more, with you only able to play a card by having an identical colour or number to the one played before you or by playing a wildcard allowing you to change the colour to a more suited one.
Other games in the series have offered a variety of decks and backgrounds to give the game a new feel when you’ve played it long enough for it to feel stale, sadly, only two decks are available with the game informing me more would be coming later as DLC (UGH) I feel like they could have added a few more within the main game and definitely expected more from a game released on current consoles.
While the lack of deck variety is disappointing, the game comes with an abundance of changeable house rules spicing up the traditional gameplay such as the ability to jump in despite it not being your turn if you have an identical card to the one being played, this specific one is only unlocked by joining “Ubisoft Club” and using the points you earn to purchase it, other rules take away the ability to bluff with the +4 wildcards and drawing until you have a matching card if you are unable to play which can be extremely detrimental to your chances of winning. Another welcome change is 2v2 mode, allowing you to team up either locally or online, solving the problem of being able to see your friends cards while playing competitively. The ability to set a score limit (up to 500) allows for longer games without any breaks or waiting in lobbies.
Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids have invaded UNO, bringing with them new cards and a much-needed injection of hilarity. Of the new cards featured one sees players frantically flicking through their collection of cards while a Rabbid hurridly forces them to act on a 3 second time clock, while another see’s a Rabbid throw an array of cards high in the air, randomly allotting players a select number upon their arrival back to the table. Overall, the introduction of a Rabbids card theme adds further excitement to UNO along with implementing some new card features that help to spice the game up.
UNO has never been without its issues and the latest installment is no different. While playing I encountered a few problems such as the game freezing during a turn when that person can’t play due to being given cards forcing me to quit the game and start again, the game sometimes freezes if you try to do something outside of it on the Xbox, such as look at achievements and messages, the freezing on players turns is extremely annoying especially if you’ve set the points to win high and you have to abandon the game completely resulting in a lot of wasted time.
UNO has always been a popular card game and it’s great to see it grace the Xbox One along with other platforms. Despite the apparent lack of camera and chat options and certain issues, competing against random players online is still as exciting as it ever was. Ultimately, UNO is what it has always been, an addictively fun card game for friends, family or even complete and utter strangers to enjoy, something that definitely shines through in its gameplay. Even if it lacks certain elements that we came to know and love ten years ago, the opportunity to hand another player a large amount of cards never loses its comedy factor, while being on the receiving end of a barrage of cards has never felt more punishing. Despite its undeniable issues and lack of card sets, UNO is a great game and certainly worth the asking price.