Version Reviewed: v1.52
Requires iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad running iOS 2.2.1 or higher
It’s been over five years (at time of writing) since DoND started. Its following at the beginining was small, but Bother’s Bar led the charge for the show having watched various foreign versions previously, and noting the pedigree of the production team behind it. Its detractors were quick to shout loudly – it’ll never make it past the original 60 episodes. It’s just luck. Bloody Noel Edmonds. But five years later it remains one of Channel 4’s highest rating shows (although admittedly some way down on what it was getting at its peak), and as ever I WAS RIGHT. You thought the show was about blindly opening boxes? Well actually it’s about the human condition.
So what happens when you take the human condition away and play a straight simulation of the game? A game that involves gambling, butwith no actual jeopardy involved? Well I don’t think it would be much fun, and I’M RIGHT AS I ALWAYS AM YET AGAIN as the app, whilst offering a reasonable interpretation of the game isn’t much fun.
There are four modes: Quick Play (it’s a game of Deal or No Deal), Deal or No Deal (it’s a game of Deal or No Deal, except you have to watch a game from the wings and offer advice first, tha Banker apparently taking notes.), What Next? (a random eight box configuration is given and you have to win as much as possible) and Be the Banker (the computer plays, you make the offers, try and get them to make a poor deal).
For the first three modes, you can select an avatar, many of which seem to be based on past contestants on the actual show, and you can rename them. Your choice is limited to the 22 avaliable, although if you edit one then choose someone else, the original one reverts back to its default.
The first thing to greet you is the terrifying figure of virtual Noel Edmonds, who appears to wear the same expression throughout the game regardless of what is happening. You’re given a box at random and then you play. The dream factory is notionally split into three and you slide left or right to change the place you look at (the slide control is surprisingly difficult to master. And they say it’s just luck.) The avaliable boxes in the area are enlarged towards the bottom of the screen, tap it and the player will open it for you, occasionally with a few written words for good luck. Between boxes the camera focuses on the gameboard.
The £250,000 explosion is present and correct, although for some reason Noel does a 60s dance. I think it’s meant to be a brow wipe of exasperation, and is the most animated he’ll get all game.
After the requisite number of boxes the phone rings, Noel will relate one of about six different things from the Banker (far too much repetition, and lots of it usually irrelevant to the game at hand) before revealing the offer with requisite Banker graphic. In fairness, the offers are fairly decent reflections of what you’d be offered on the show for the boards in an average non-running-element situation, in my experience.
At this point you can ask for advice from the wings – a neat touch, except the other players seem to be universally dealers even at the early stages, and occasionally say things which are completely nonsensical. Nice idea, poorly implemented.
Repeat until you deal (in which case during the prove out, the Banker comments still happen as if you were in live play – poor), or you get to the final two in which case you’re offered the swap. Then cheer or groan on the result.
Soundwise, the majority of the game (at least on my iPad) plays out to the rather melancholy “contemplating big decision” music which is fine in its place but completely wrong and makes the game feel more like French arthouse cinema and you will want to end it all before the end. That is except sometimes when the proper box music decides to play (randomly). And I was surprised when having been no actual talking throughout, Noel suddenly said “ooh, £100,000” out of my speaker. I began to think my iDevice was haunted.
Be the Banker isn’t much fun, a till thing pops up at the appropriate place, but you have to do the pence as well. You might appreciate making comedy offers when the only audience is you, but those extra button taps when you just want to make a normal offer each time is quite annoying. There’s no real reward for doing well here either, and if the computer player deals the offer control leaves your hands anyway. Pointless.
What Next? might be fun for a quick play, although I’m intrigued that it says it “won’t keep records of the results”. It doesn’t seem to make records of the results in any mode you play that I’ve noticed.
So that’s Deal or No Deal the app, really. Sure it plays the game, but as an experience it doesn’t really have an awful lot to recommend it.