Editor’s Note: More than a year after the game’s original release on Xbox One, this review has been updated following the release of the game on the Nintendo Switch as well as the updates to all customers which reflects on the overall score, and final verdict.
Since its release in 2016, the game of UNO has been released in almost every major gaming platforms (console or mobile), and now the Nintendo Switch is released, I guess it didn’t make sense for Ubisoft to skip another release.
If the base of the game is no different than the previous release on Xbox One (which you can read our review below, the Nintendo Switch adds some small tweaks notably 3 different variations of the game style after the Just Dance, Rayman or The Raving Rabbids franchise. These variants of the game go beyond a simple skin of the decks, but also add several new cards which bring a little diversity to the core UNO gameplay. While I got to try the Rabbids deck in the Xbox One, the Rayman deck adds four new cards like “Punching Thing which can deflect a draw two or wild four to another player, or you can try the Just Dance 2017 deck which also has four themed cards such as the “Cross-fade” card for example, which switches hands with the player directly across from your position. These three set of themed decks really add variety to the game, on top of your branded tabletop and deck designs.
In terms of game modes, it’s great to see that Ubisoft didn’t simply port the game, and made use of the Nintendo Switch’s portability and multiplayer functions. Other than playing online with global leaderboards, you can compete in 1v1 or 2v2 matches by linking two different machines over Wireless ad hoc network, or even on the same console by using a second controller.
Overall, the gaming experience is still the same as the other platforms, which at the end of the day is still really fun, especially if you want to play with your friends and family members. However, I will regret the same thing from the Xbox One version: a lack of variety in the soundtrack and surprisingly long loading times really harm the experience.
UNO – The Original Review published on August 23rd, 2016
UNO! There’s not many people that didn’t get the chance and thrills of shouting this three letter word in one of the world’s most iconic card game. Recognizing the potential of this license, Ubisoft, already offered adaptations of the game on the last generation of consoles (Xbox 360 and other platforms), and thus as part of the summer of Hasbro titles, the UNO experience is finally launched on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The main concept is simple: play the card game on screen, leaving it up to the player to adapt the rules to their liking, and play either with AI, friends online or try a variant based on the Ubisoft’s Rabbids. But is this virtual UNO game better than the actual live card game?
Like the previous review of Battleship and Risk: Urban Assault, I figured I should explain the simple – yet smart – rules of UNO. The whole point of the game is to get rid of hand, one card at a time, by either using one card with the same color or the same number as the one that was put on the table by the player before you, unless you have “special” cards such as some reversing the playing order (clockwise to counter-clockwise and vice versa), change the color of the tossing deck, force your opponents to grab 2 or even 4 cards from the UNO pile, and more. Once reaching to a point where you have only one card left, you’ll have to shout UNO, otherwise your opponents can challenge it and you’ll end up being forced to take +2 cards.
The game pretty much does the same, pitting you against 3 AI players (or two if you are playing coop), as well as the chance to compete against 3 other real players online. You then have the chance to play either with the classic mode or the Rabbids mode, which adds 4 bonus cards such as blocking other players from making you draw, or even speeding the turns. Additional rules can be activated, such as card accumulation to ask to make stack +2 cards to hurt really badly whoever doesn’t have that type of card, or rotating the hands after playing a 7.
So yeah, couple of extra fun cards, but nothing more. In other words, if you have the card game at home, unless you wanted to play online, it’s hard to recommend the purchase even when it’s a mere $10. Worse, in many aspects, the sessions are much less exciting than in reality because mainly the pace is dull, or even annoying. The two or three seconds that our opponents starts playing seems endless, but at least it’s not as painful as it was in Battleship or Risk: Urban Assault.
Another point that I’ve made in the previous two Hasbro and Ubisoft game, and In a game where luck is a factor and where almost no strategy related to the behavior of our opponents may be in place, all we want is our turn to come so we can play. Certainly, UNO has never been a very fair nor very tactical game, but facing a screen where there is no way to express your frustration or even laugh with your buddies (except perhaps online with voice chat) makes the punishing +2 and other cursed cards even more painful.
Another negative point, and which I’ve noticed as well in Battleship is that technically, no effort was made to bring some dynamism to the game, considering it’s kind of an upgrade of the mid-2000 Xbox 360 version of the game. Sure, the animations and display are very refined, and the Rabbids deck bring a little more life to the game sessions with their appearance on the screen, but it’s not really enough. Sound wise, the effects are boring and hollow, and that lounge soundtrack kind of pushed me to realized I’m really happy background music is finally available on Xbox One.
UNO was reviewed using an Xbox One and Nintendo Switch downloadable code provided by Ubisoft Middle East.This game is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC via digital store releases. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Easy to pick up and play
• It's UNO
• Online with friends or strangers
• Local multiplayer on the Nintendo Switch
• The three themed decks are fun
• Games can get really boring
• Too minimalistic
• That elevator music!