Deal or No Deal DS
Published by: Mindscape
Release Date: Out Now
Game shows have been popular for years. The reason for their popularity is not the game itself however, it’s the human element. You either tune in to watch the witty presenter or to watch the contestants generally make an ass of themselves. Of course some game shows are appealing because they give the contestants the chance to win handsome sums of cash and the tension that these game shows generate is also a quality that makes them worth watching. How do you manage to capture this human element in a handheld videogame? The short and simple answer is that you can’t and this is the major reason why Deal or No Deal isn’t going to appeal to many gamers.
In the unlikely event that you purchase the game having not watched the show, the first thing you’re going to want to do is go through the tutorial. There are tutorials for Contestant Mode and Banker Mode. In Contestant Mode you’ll pick one of twenty-two boxes. Each box has a monetary value. This could be as low as 1p or as high as £250,000. The way the game works is that during the first round you’ll open five boxes and thereafter, three boxes. After each round the banker will phone you and make you a cash offer for your box. If the boxes you’ve already opened are low in value the Banker will offer you a good amount whilst if you’re unlucky enough to have picked the high value boxes the Banker’s offer will be small. You have to option to either take the Banker’s money or to refuse and continue for one more round. If you say ‘No Deal’ to the final Banker’s offer (which is made when there are only two boxes left, yours being one of them) you will have the option to switch boxes. Should you take the Banker’s offer at any time you will still play out the game to see how things would have turned out. The Contestant Mode also throws in a mini-game that you won’t see in the TV show. Occasionally the Banker will want you to play a three box trick. A mug is placed in a box and the boxes are shuffled. If you correctly pick the box that contains the mug three times in succession, you’ll gain more favourable offers from the Banker.
Banker Mode, as the name suggests, allows you to play as the Banker. You’ll observe AI contests playing the game and after each round you’ll get to make them an offer. Once again you get to play a three box trick and if you manage to find the mug three times you’ll have a greater chance of the contestant agreeing to your offer.
The game tracks your winnings in both Banker and Contestant modes and once you’ve built them up enough you will unlock Forfeit Mode. In Forfeit Mode you don’t play for money. Instead you play with a friend, spouse or other relative (by passing the DS between yourselves) for forfeits that you can make up yourself. Whilst this may seem like a good way of getting someone to do those jobs you hate, it’s a mode that’s of little value and it’s unlikely that anyone will play it more than once.
The game takes a minimalistic approach in regards to its presentation. The game’s graphics are actually quite poor but they get the job done. Deaf gamers will have no problems as all of the information is shown textually and numerically. Those hoping for decent looking contestants and a good resemblance of the show’s host, Noel Edmonds, will be disappointed as the virtual Noel has been rather poorly drawn.
The main problem with Deal or No Deal is that, aside from the Forfeit Mode, you’ll see all the game has to offer in under the ten minutes it takes for you to play through a game in both Contestant and Banker Mode. It’s not a terrible game but there’s nowhere near enough here to make it good value for money. Without the human element and tension that goes with the TV show it’s actually a pretty mundane experience. Those who enjoy the TV show may find some value in playing the game over and over again but even those who are devoted fans of the TV show may baulk at the asking price of £19.99.