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Uno (Xbox 360) artwork

Uno (Xbox 360) review


"For the most part, Uno is a laid-back, chilled experience that can either be played as a bite-sized relaxant in between bigger games or as a surprisingly easy way to burn away several hours."



Did you know that Uno was the first Xbox Live Arcade title to reach over one million downloads? Of course you didnít you uninformed whelk, but thatís what Iím here for: to fill the little holes of ignorance that exist in your tiny little minds. I say this out of love and not out of secret frustration cultivated by being bullied into reviewing a digital card game.

Still, one million people are rarely wrong and, for all my complaining, Uno is an enjoyable and, above all, addictive title. Played out by four players, the goal is to exhaust all your cards before your opposition does, then greedily gobble up the remainder of the loserís hands that suddenly serve as points. Thereís four different coloured Ďsuitsí, each of them containing numbers from 0-9, and this provides the basis in which you try to empty your stock.

These normal, humdrum, numbered cards can be disposed of by laying them on either a card of a matching hue or number. That much is pretty straightforward, but you also have to contend with bonus cards who earn their bold heading through the pure spite they can cause. These cards can change the playing colour on whim, force the next player to skip their turn, pick up two new cards from the deck or spin the game around in the opposite direction. Thereís even a card that can do a combination of all of these, changing the suit colour and making the hapless sod next to you pick up four cards while youíre at it. This does come at a price though: use it when you could have placed a different card, and you face the risk of being challenged and made to pick up six yourself. Trick someone into making a failed challenge, and the six cards are theirs instead.

There really is a sense of sadistic glee involved in destroying the guy next to you, be it by making them skip numerous turns or just by walloping them with a series of pick-up cards, and this often serves as a viable tactic. Win a hand, and the loserís remaining cards are totalled up to provide you with a score. The usual target to hit is 250 -- achievable in a single win, but not common -- so filling your foesí grimy little virtual hand full of cards and hoping he has a few high-scoring bonus ones is the key to swift victory. Of course, itís always easier said then done. Every new card they receive is a card that could potential bring you to ruin.

The computer AI is smart, but take things online and youíll find servers full of people very interested in whooping you. Thanks to recent developments, it will even use your XBL avatar, should you take the time to design one, as your in-game face, letting it mock the people it beats on, or shake its fist like an angry monkey when things go sour. Really, for all the begrudging praise Iíve thus far given to Uno, what makes it worth playing is the same thing that keeps it relevant years after its initial launch: the community. Itís easy to stroll directly into a full lobby of players and, on the off chance that you canít fill a room, the computer controlled cast will fill empty seats respectably. Obviously, you can expect the odd twit to try and ruin the flow -- this is the internet weíre talking about, after all -- but they tend to be drown out by sheer number. Though Iím still secretly bitter about the guy who reported me for unsporting behaviour because I won the game, Iím more amused by the room who, to a man, turned on the rare lippy player who cursed heavily and demanded people hurry up. We all, of course, then slowed our playing speed down to a crawl until our shared target got angry enough to leave in an explosive hissy fit.

For the most part, Uno is a laid-back, chilled experience that can either be played as a bite-sized relaxant in between bigger games or as a surprisingly easy way to burn away several hours. Stats, wins and loses are stored, thereís a rolling rank system provided that lets you know if youíre playing the best in the world (played her. Beat her.) or number 2846757. Uno probably shouldnít be half as fun or involving as it actually is, but itís still one of XBLAís most downloaded games for a reason.

Rating: 8/10

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (June 02, 2010)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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Feedback

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wolfqueen001 posted June 02, 2010:

Well, you've done it again. Not only did you review this in a few hours, you also somehow managed to make something that should be totally boring to read about interesting. Bahaha. I am highly amused.

You even managed to teach me a few new rules! =/ I always played this game with real (and real-life) people, which is why I find an online version hilarious (if not necessarily surprising), and since we've always played a specific way, there are a few things that we never applied. The scoring system for one thing. I didn't know you could tally points like that. We usually just played until somebody won then started over. I also didn't know about the challenge rule, either. That'd certainly make things more interesting in an actual game.

Anyway, yeah. Gotta say, I'm impressed. It's like your darts reviews which should, by all circumstances, be dry and boring somehow aren't. LOL XD I think you just cured my headache. Though I don't want to get too hopeful yet. There's always something out there to spite me! =x
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zippdementia posted June 02, 2010:

YEAH! Go UNO! I really want to play Uno, now.
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aschultz posted June 03, 2010:

I have 2 pedantic corrections to a very enjoyable review, too!

a) you mention 1 million downloads
b) later you mention playing against #2846757 in the world

Also "drown out" should be "drowned out."

Big picture though--it's great to see evidence of a simple concept executed well. Be it a praise review or the game it's praising.
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EmP posted June 04, 2010:

Thanks, WQ. Your catches are fixed. And stop playing Uno wrong!

Since you're 1/3 of the swine who made me review the game, I hate you it's only right you should have to suffer through the review. I guess it's okay that you enjoyed it, though I'm a little bitter about that.

I'm glad it's readable, anyway.

Schultz -- You FOOLISH FOOL! The game was the first to hit the million mark but has since been downloaded several times over that!
(Thanks for the other catch!)
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wolfqueen001 posted June 04, 2010:

Haha. Oh, hush. I know you're secretly appreciative of us making you review this game because now you have the letter U taken care of for the alpha marathon thing. ^_^

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