Released back in May of 2006, the original Uno, a video game adaption of the highly popular card game, was one of the most well received games on last-gen consoles. In fact it was so popular that it became the very first game on the Xbox Live Arcade to ever exceed a million downloads. Ubisoft has now come out with a new iteration of the game for current-gen consoles, and it is one that fails to live up to the standards set by its predecessor.
The rules in Uno are fairly simple. Players are dealt 7 cards out of a deck, with numbers ranging from 0 to 9. The cards mostly fall into four colors, red, blue, green and yellow, which restricts players from only playing cards of the same color as the ones currently in play. The main objective of the game is to be the first player to shed all of their cards, but it isn’t that simple.
In the game, there are special cards that allow players to hinder their opponents such as; the Skip Card, which forces the next player to skip their turn; the Reverse Card, which reverses the flow of the turns; the Draw Two Card, which gives the next player 2 additional cards; the Wild Card, which changes the ongoing color; and the Draw Four Card which not only changes the color but also gives the next player an additional 4 cards. Cards such as the Draw Two are able to stack and when a player is down to just 1 card, they have to yell out Uno or they are subject to a penalty and have to draw additional cards.
The game does a fairly decent job of replicating the basic gameplay of Uno but there is one aspect that developer Ubisoft seems to have overlooked. Uno at it’s core is a very ‘social’ game, and many features present in the last-gen version of game seem to be absent from this one.
For starters, voice and video chat is disabled for everyone not on your friends list. What this means is that unless your friends also happen to have the game, all your time will be spent playing with faceless, voiceless strangers who you have no means of interacting with short of sending them a friend request. And while this may make the game more family-friendly by censoring out unwanted obscenity, it makes online play no different from an offline match against the AI. And on top of all of this, you still need a Uplay account just to access the online features.
Connectivity is also a big issue, and sometimes the game gives you the boot after minutes of searching for a game, if it isn’t already busy kicking you out from ongoing matches. I’ve also had instances where a player did not play on his turn and the countdown timer to skip their turn never initiated, leaving me and the other players stuck with no other option than to quit the game.
What good things I can say about the game are very minor. The game is colorful and vibrant and the music can prove to be very catchy, if a tad bit repetitive. The two online modes are the classic 4-player mode and the 2v2 match. House rules also make a comeback and allows the host to switch up the gameplay by allowing actions such as playing out of turn. Other than the traditional deck, the game also includes a Rabbids theme that not only gives the cards and the ambiance a different look, but also adds new special cards such as ones which restrict other player’s from drawing from the deck.
In the end, if you are able to gather your friends and play a full match of Uno without facing any technical complications, you will find that the game can prove to be moderately enjoyable. But the fact remains that doing so would cost you much more time and effort than most people are comfortable with spending on a card game, making this a very hard game to recommend.
Uno is developed and published by Ubisoft. The game is available for The Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and the PC. This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.
The game takes inspiration from it's predecessor yet fails to do anything unique with it, so it you're itching for a match of Uno, your money is better spent towards buying a physical deck of the game.