UNO’s iPhone version is fun but not very social

Sep 16, 2009
Games

Growing up, game nights were always a big deal in my house. And the card-game UNO was a perennial mainstay, our go-to game when we couldn’t come up with any alternative. (We still play UNO when I’m home for the holidays.) So of course I wanted to see how Gameloft’s UNO iPhone app measured up […]

Growing up, game nights were always a big deal in my house. And the card-game UNO was a perennial mainstay, our go-to game when we couldn’t come up with any alternative. (We still play UNO when I’m home for the holidays.)

So of course I wanted to see how Gameloft’s UNO iPhone app measured up to the classic card game.

The developers at Gameloft definitely gave the UNO app their best shot. The graphics are impressive and play moved quickly without stalling. You can fan out your cards to see what’s in your hand and select a card to play by double tapping or swiping it directly into the play pile. The responsiveness to touch is quite sensitive—and fast—which meant that my strategy was ruined when a wrong card was played on more than one occasion.

The UNO app’s downfall isn’t in its content or design, it’s in the fact that UNO is a social game—a key factor missing when you’re playing on the iPhone. Although you can register for Gameloft Live and play online versus friends or people you don’t know, much of UNO’s fun is in watching your fellow players’ faces when you throw down a plus-four Wild Card, something this app misses out on.

There’s a playing option for using local Wi-Fi, but if both players are in the same room, wouldn’t you rather get out the real deck? Multiple players can also share one device with pass and play, but considering the speed of UNO (matching the color or number doesn’t take much thought) swapping the phone back and forth can be grating.

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If you’re a single player looking to waste time on a commute and really like UNO, this app could be worth your $5. I learned a few rule variations from the single-player tournament (Jump-In, and UNO 7-0) but, ultimately, for this UNO lover, without the ability to shout UNO into your neighbor’s face, Gameloft’s UNO app doesn’t quite measure up.

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