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Oct 29, 2008

Review: Price is Right

Price is Right
Ubisoft, Ludia, Fremantle Media
Available for the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS and PC

Call me a sucker for nostalgia but when it comes to the Price is Right, nobody in the world can turn down the chance to “come on down and be the next contestant on the Price is Right”, even if it is in just in a videogame. Ubisoft has brought to the pixelated screen after a long hiatus (the last Price is Right game made for a console system was for the Commodore 64), the Price is Right videogame, so those of us at home can finally put our pricing skills to the test instead of just yelling at the TV screen while we’re watching. And don’t tell me you don’t do it because we’ve all watch the Price is Right at some point during a day off or sick day and commented the whole way through that we could do better that the dumb college kid that just lost at cliff-hanger.

Both the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS have single player and multiplayer mode that allow you to play through the game show by yourself or with 3 other players. There is no online in either game and in the Wii version, you have to share a controller between all four players which is good, I guess for single remote families.

Each game has the 3 strike mode which allows you to play through contestants’ row, the pricing games, the showcase showdown and the showcase on a constant loop collecting as much prize money as possible until you gain three strikes. Strikes are obtained when you lose at contestants’ row or the showcase showdown and if you lose at the showcase down, you won’t go on to the showcase, which is weird, because if you lose at contestants’ row, you still get to play a pricing game.

In the Nintendo Wii version though, you do have a choice to play classic mode which plays like a real version of the game show, where you must win on contestants’ row to move onto a pricing game and so on.

The stylus and Wii remote controls are pretty much limited to point and click use and pulling down on the wheel. Hole in one does use the Wii remote as a putter but the accuracy is completely off and if you win, you do so by luck. I think the developers probably could have figured out a few more uses for their unique control options like using them to mix up the bag in three strike pricing game.

The Wii game has 17 pricing games while the DS version has 12, all from the actual Price is Right show and most of the classic favs are here like plinko, cliff-hanger, punch a bunch, hole in one (or two), etc. Each game has a challenge to full fill which increases your score and in the Wii version unlocks the game to play at any time and a video from the show which features Bob Barker. Most challenges just have you winning the pricing game at the highest value possible.

While the graphics look badly like something out of the days of the Nintendo 64 or Playstation, the atmosphere of the Price is Right has been captured by the developers in the colours, backgrounds and screen setups. Each item up for bid is shown as a video from the actual show though it would have been nicer for the videos to be shown in full screen instead of just tiny picture in picture.

Your avatar choices are very limited and don’t look anything like people would on the show. Miis would been so much cooler to use in the game instead of the token black women, the random old lady, and anonymous guy in military uniform. I’m surprised they didn’t include goofy college kid with stupid t-shirt.

Fans of the show will be happy though to hear the announcer from the Price is Right covering the announcing and a little bit of the host’s job through the game. Sure, the game would have been so much cooler with Bob Barker or even Drew Carey as the host, but having at least the announcer from the show makes this experience so worth the time to play it.

The game opens the same as the show does and it actual makes you want to clap and scream along side the multi-cloned audience. The theme song for the show and all the classic sound effects are in the game too, so expect to get the “waa-waa” when you lose at a pricing game.

There were a few issues with the announcer getting his lines cut off and his item descriptions not matching the item up for bid. Also each bit seemed a little hurried during the pricing games which along side the other sound glitches were really started to kill the mood of the game.

It’s hard for me to rate this game because the critic in me sees this as bit of mess but the Bob Barker lover in me finds this game to be too friggn’ cool. For anyone looking for a game to play against friends or family, I wouldn’t necessary pick this as my first choice especially with so many other good mini games and trivia games saturated the Nintendo Wii market right now but if you’re really a fan of the show, I would have to say this is not a bad representation of the game show. A couple of Mii avatars and maybe an appearance from Bob Barker and this game would have been the best game show videogame out there.

Rating: 6 out of 10
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