UNO in Review – Set to the Soundtrack of U2′s ‘One’

uno1There are few card games that do not use the standard deck of poker cards that achieve fame and recognition. Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, Hwatu (A Korean Game)… the list hold a scant amount of names. Uno, though, deserves a space in this pantheon of amazing and great card games.

The App game UNO, published by Gameloft, also deserves distinction. It both faithfully translates the game to the iDevice platform and delivers excellent and intuitive controls.

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Here is an abridged version found on the wikipedia site. For the complete rules, go to here

The deck consists of cards of 4 colors: red, green, blue, and yellow. There are 3 “action” cards in each color, labeled “skip”, “draw two”, and “reverse”. There are also special black action cards, “wild” and “wild draw four”. Before playing, a dealer must be selected. After the dealer has been selected, seven cards are dealt to each player, and the top card of the stock is exposed to start the discard pile. Play begins with the person to the left of the dealer, i.e. clockwise.

At each turn, a player may play a card from their hand that matches the color or rank of the top exposed card, or play a wild or wild draw four. If a player has no legal card to play, that player draws the top card of the stock, and may either play it or place it in their hand. After playing a single card or drawing, the next player clockwise takes a turn, or counter-clockwise when a reverse is in effect. When a player plays down to only one card, that player is required to say “uno” to warn other players. The hand ends when a player plays all his/her cards.

uno7This digital version of Uno does many things right. You are able to play your own music. Also, its graphics are both sharp and shiny. There is a crispness to them and the landscape layout help to keep the screen from feeling cluttered. I really did appreciate the way Uno packed in as much information without taking up too much screen space.

Besides your hand, there is a small icon with your name above it. This correlates to the profile you created. Also, the space beneath each players’ hand lights up acknowledging that it is their turn. When you have no cards to play, the pick up pile, conveniently located on the bottom left of the screen, becomes highlighted enough to catch your attention but it isn’t enough to be annoying. The menu button is a small HOME icon on the upper right. All of this attention to minute detail is much appreciated.

uno4Not only are you able to play by yourself, Uno provides three other ways to play. You can play on a local Wi-Fi network. You can play through the internet with Online Multiplayer. You can also play with a mixture of human and computer players (up to 4) on one iDevice. While playing on the internet against random strangers is close to being the most enjoyable aspect of Uno, the sparseness of the rooms make this a lackluster experience.

In spite of the internet multiplayer option, the most enjoyable part of the game, and one thing that all other card games need is the ability to change some of the rules of the game. While this does not apply to either the tournament or quickplay mode, custom mode is all about your own personal flavor. (You can also use custom rules in both the Wi-Fi and Online Multiplayer modes) You are able to change enough of the rules to vary the gameplay experience. Jump-In, 7-0, Force Play… there are 9 total rules you can change. This really makes the game worth the buy.

Also, in the tournament mode, as you progress, you unlock more backgrounds and icons. While this may not be much, it is a unique mechanic that isn’t found in many card games.

uno5The only negative aspect of this game that I found is the speed. There are definite lag times. This is especially true when using the +2 card. It’ll take a moment for the program to process this, flash the +2 sign, and give the player 2 cards. While this is not a significant delay, it is enough to hinder (but not harm) a fat-paced and fluid gameplay experience.

Besides this, UNO is a great card game that has enough in this version to keep you entertained. It is currently on sale, so it’s a good time to check it out. If you’re not convinced, check out the youtube video below.

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App Summary
Title:Smack Me (v1.1.6)Developer:Gameloft
Price:$4.99 (Sale)App Size:59.4 MB
  • Excellent Graphics
  • Change the Rules
  • Collectables
  • Sparse Internet Multiplayer
  • Slight Delay in Gameplay

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