Monday, August 22, 2016

Uno Review (XONE)

Uno was one of the early Xbox Live Arcade games on Xbox 360 that really showed off the strength of Xbox Live.  It was cheap, it was fun, and you could hop on and play with random people and make new friends thanks to public voice and video chat.  It was awesome back then, so expectations were high when Ubisoft announced a new version of Uno was coming to Xbox One and PS4.  The good news for this new Uno on Xbox One is that it is pretty hard to screw up Uno, so it is fun and plays well.  The bad news, unfortunately, is that voice and video chat is friends-only in this version, so playing multiplayer with randoms is pretty bland and boring and uninteresting this time around.  It is by no means bad, but Uno on Xbox One is a definite letdown.  See our review for more.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Developer: Ubisoft
  • ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone
  • Genre: Card / Party
  • Pros: Solid game of Uno; house rule options
  • Cons: No public voice chat or video; dumb A.I.
  • MSRP: $10

Uno is a card game where players … you know what?  Go read a wiki about Uno if you don’t know what it is.  We’ll wait.

Ubisoft’s Uno release for Xbox One includes a surprising selection of features and options.  You can play single-player against A.I. and online multiplayer in standard as well as 2v2 team matches.  There are a wide selection of house rule options for things like stacking draw cards, having to draw from the pile until you get a card to play, being able to play out of turn if you have an identical card to the last one that was played (this option has to be unlocked with Uplay Points, though), and more.  I really like having the options to make the game a little more fun and exciting.  There is also an optional Rabbids-themed deck that has some special cards to shake things up, and more unique decks are promised.  

Playing against the A.I. is pretty much what you’d expect.  They aren’t particularly skilled or strategic and fail to call “Uno” ¾ of the time.  Playing against humans on Xbox Live makes for more interesting games, but since there is no voice or video chat with random players, online matches are surprisingly boring.  Playing online with no chat is basically the same as playing against the A.I., to be honest, except the A.I. plays faster than most people on Xbox Live seem to.  Seriously, what’s up with the long delays between playing cards, Xbox Live players?  Get on the ball! 

Matches can be set to only last one hand or several hands where you try to reach a score milestone by adding up everyone’s leftover cards at the end of each round.  Depending on what options you set, matches can take anywhere from 5-minutes on up to an hour.  The achievements are fairly easy to earn, but calling other players’ bluff 20-times on Wild Card Draw 4’s takes quite a while. 

Ultimately, Uno on Xbox One’s biggest problem is that it is just frankly kind of boring.  The A.I. is dumb and not that fun to play with and playing online with no voice chat isn’t all that different from playing against the A.I. (and the players can be just as dumb).  The magic that was present in the XBLA version is missing here.  You aren’t making new friends and having fun and laughing here.  Instead you’re playing with what might as well be silent robots.  Of course, if you have friends to play with, so you can actually turn on voice chat or video, Uno can be a ton of fun, but the thrill still isn’t quite the same as playing with randos back on Xbox 360.  Buy Uno to play with friends.  Skip it if you’re a loner.
Disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.